Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Worst Perversion


Yes, there were Obama-administration scandals. Many, in fact.

By Kevin D. Williamson — January 17, 2017
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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration was full of scandal, though we have a lazy and partisan news media that is determined to see no scandal in it.

The lame-duck columns have been nearly unanimous on the point: Barack Obama is remarkable among recent presidents for having been utterly untouched by scandal, personal or political.

The personal can be conceded: There is no serious allegation that President Obama suffered from the liberated appetites of a Bill Clinton, and the White House interns have by all accounts gone unmolested. But this is hardly remarkable: There were no such allegations about George W. Bush, either, or about George H. W. Bush, or about Ronald Reagan, or Jimmy Carter. 
Richard Nixon’s name is a byword for scandal, but not scandal of that sort. Nixon’s shocking personal perversion was his taste for cottage cheese with ketchup.

So, three cheers for Barack Obama’s manful efforts to live up to the standard of Gerald Ford. Well done.

The political issue is a different question entirely.

Not only was the Obama administration marked by scandal of the most serious sort — perverting the machinery of the state for political ends — it was on that front, which is the most important one, the most scandal-scarred administration in modern presidential history.

For your consideration:

Under the Obama administration’s watch, the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies from the BATF to the NLRB were illegally used to target and harass the president’s political enemies. The IRS targeting scandal was the most high-profile of these, but others are just as worrisome. Federal investigations and congressional oversight were obstructed, and investigators were lied to outright — a serious crime. The administration protected the wrongdoers and saw to it that they retired with generous federal pensions rather than serving federal sentences for their crimes.

The Obama administration oversaw the illegal sale of arms to Mexican traffickers for purposes that to this date have not been adequately explained, and those guns have been used to murder American law-enforcement officers.

President Obama’s secretary of state was involved in a high-profile case in which she improperly set up a private e-mail system to evade ordinary governmental oversight; she and her associates routinely misled investigators, obstructed investigations, and hid or destroyed evidence. These are all serious crimes.

The Obama administration made ransom payments to the Iranian government and lied about having done so.

Under the Obama administration, the Secret Service has been a one-agency scandal factory, from drunk agents driving their cars into White House barriers to getting mixed up with hookers in Cartagena.

Under the guise of developing “green” energy projects, the Obama administration shunted money to politically connected cronys at Solyndra and elsewhere.

Obama’s men at the Veterans Administration oversaw a system in which our servicemen lost their lives to bureaucratic incompetence and medical neglect, and then falsified records to cover it up.

Under the flimsiest of national-security pretexts, the Obama administration used the Department of Justice to spy on Fox News reporter James Rosen. It also spied on the Associated Press.

The Obama administration’s attorney general, Eric Holder, left office while being held in contempt of Congress for inhibiting the investigation of other Obama administration scandals.
But, no: No embarrassing stain on a blue dress.

Without minimizing the authentic personal degeneracy of Bill Clinton, sexual scandals are minor concerns. They become large public scandals because the numbskulls understand sex and can relate to sexual infidelity. If you’ve ever tried explaining to someone how futures trading works and watched his expression turn to that of a taxidermied mule deer, then you know why it is Bill Clinton, and not Hillary Clinton, who is the face of scandal.

It is one thing to have a degenerate president. It is something else — something far worse — to have a degenerate government. Barack Obama may have spent the past eight years as sober as a Sunday morning (his main vice, we are told, is sneaking cigarettes) and straight as a No. 2 pencil, but he leaves behind a government that is perverted.

A liberal society with decent government requires that the pursuit of political power be insulated from the exercise of political power. That is why we have a Hatch Act and why the various dreams of the would-be campaign-finance police — who would have congressmen and presidents write the rules under which congressmen and presidents may be criticized and challenged — are in reality nightmares. (Here, let us say a word of thanks for the First Amendment and Citizens United.) Having an IRS that sorts nonprofits by their political stances in order to facilitate the harassment of political rivals is in real terms far worse than anything Bill Clinton got up to with Monica Lewinsky, and far worse than the shenanigans that Gordon Liddy and the rest of the Nixon henchmen got up to in the Watergate. The BATF harassment of True the Vote and other Obama-administration enemies is the stuff of which banana republics are made. Using the machinery of the state to seek political power and to aggrandize the political power one holds is the most destructive form of political corruption there is. A sane society would prosecute it the way we prosecute murder or armed robbery. It is a scandal and more than that: It is an assault on the foundations of a free society.

The fact that the same people at CNN who were colluding with the Clinton campaign cannot see a scandal in the Obama administration does not mean that no scandal was there.

For the Democrats and their media partisans, scandals — like homelessness and war casualties — are something that happens to other people.

— Kevin D. Williamson is National Review’s roving correspondent.

TRUMP, THE PISTOL AND THE OLIVE BRANCH












BYCAROLINE B. GLICK
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/
16 January 2017

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Yasser Arafat at the UN in 1974.

With a gun on his hip, on November 13, 1974, PLO chief Yasser Arafat stood before the UN General Assembly and made the West an offer that it didn’t refuse.

At the end of a long speech in which he rewrote history to erase all connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and criminalized the very notion of Jewish freedom, Arafat declared, “Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”


Arafat’s offer has served since that time as the foundation of European relations with the Palestinians and the wider Islamic world. It has also been the basis of US-PLO relations for the better part of the past four decades.

His trade was simple and clear.

If you stand with the PLO in its war to annihilate Israel and deny Jewish freedom, then PLO terrorists and our Arab state supporters will leave you alone.

If you refuse to join our war against the Jewish state, we will kill you.

Today, Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, is reiterating Arafat’s offer.

Speaking Saturday at the Vatican after the Holy See decided to recognize “Palestine,” Abbas said that if US President-elect Donald Trump goes ahead with his plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, it will “fuel extremism in our region, as well as worldwide.”

Abbas’s spokesman was more explicit. Saturday night, Osama Qawasmeh, spokesman for Abbas’s Fatah PLO faction and member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, said that if the US moves its embassy to Israel’s capital city, “The gates of hell will be opened in the region and the world.”

Abbas and Qawasmeh also said that the PLO expects that members of the international community will make Trump see the light and abandon his plan.

French President Francois Hollande’s “peace conference” on Sunday was the international community’s way of fulfilling Abbas’s demand.

As multiple commentators have noted, the conference’s purpose wasn’t to promote the prospects for peace. It was to constrain Trump’s policy options for handling the Palestinian war against Israel.

By bringing together representatives of some 70 countries to insist that Israeli homeowners are the moral equivalent of Palestinian terrorists, Hollande and his comrades hoped to box Trump into their PLO-compliant policy.

Spelling out the demand Trump is required to accept, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc-Ayrault parroted the Palestinian threats.

Asked by the French media Sunday if moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem would provoke the Palestinians, Ayrault said, “Of course.”

He then demeaned Trump’s plan to move the embassy as nothing but the regular bluster of American politicians.

In his words, “I think he [Trump] would not be able to do it. It would have extremely serious consequences and it’s not the first time that it’s on the agenda of a US president, but none has let himself make that decision.”

Ayrault is correct about Trump’s predecessors.

To one degree or another, since the early 1970s, successive US administrations have joined the Europeans in selling Israel down the river to prevent Arafat’s minions from pointing their guns at the American people.

Like the Europeans, the Americans have upheld their side of this bargain even when the PLO failed to uphold its end. For instance, in 1973 Arafat ordered his terrorists to storm the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum and take US ambassador Cleo Noel, his deputy, George Curtis Moore, and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid hostage. Arafat then ordered his henchmen to murder the diplomats after then president Richard Nixon rejected his demand to release Robert F. Kennedy’s Palestinian murderer, Sirhan Sirhan, from prison.

Instead of responding to the execution of US diplomats by siding with Israel against the PLO, the US covered up and denied the PLO’s responsibility for the attack for the next 33 years.

The US is still covering up for the PLO’s murder of US embassy personnel in Gaza in 2003. At the same time, it is providing the PLO with nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in direct and indirect annual aid, including the training and provision of its security forces.

The Europeans for their part have egged the US along throughout the years. France has generally led European efforts to convince the Americans to side with Palestinian as well as Hezbollah terrorists in their war against Israel in the name of “peace.”

Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the Paris conference as a “futile” relic of a period that is about to end.

Netanyahu said that the conference’s goal of boxing Israel into an untenable framework for dealing the Palestinians was nothing more than the “final palpitations of a yesterday’s world.”

“Tomorrow,” he intoned, “will look a lot different. And tomorrow is very close.”

Trump will take office on Friday. Since he was elected, he has given every reason to believe that Abbas and his deputies and their European and American enablers will have to either put up or shut up.

Speaking of the president-elect, Henry Kissinger said that Trump is the first man in recent memory who doesn’t owe anybody anything for his victory.

The only people he is answerable to are the voters who elected him.

Trump’s electoral victory owes to his success in tapping into the deep reservoir of popular disaffection with the elitist culture and policies that have governed post-Cold War West. He has used the mandate he received from American voters to revisit the basic assumptions that have driven US policies for the past generation.

His skepticism at NATO and the EU are examples of his refusal to simply accept the received wisdom of his predecessors. Just this weekend he told Germany’s Bild magazine that he continues to question the purpose of NATO, which is a drag on US taxpayers and doesn’t fight terrorism.

He similarly restated his ambivalence toward the EU and that its open border policy has been a “catastrophic failure,” and he expects more countries to follow Britain’s lead and exit the EU.

Trump’s position on the PLO and the Palestinian war on Israel is of a piece with his wider rejection of the common wisdom of Western elites. Just as he didn’t hesitate to say that the EU mainly serves as an instrument for Germany to dominate the European market, so he has made no mystery of his rejection of the moral equivalence between Israel and Palestinian terrorists which forms the basis of the twostate formula.

Not only won’t Trump join the Obama administration and the French in criminalizing Israeli homeowners, Trump is celebrating them. He has invited the leaders of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria – that is, the so-called “settlements” – to attend his inauguration.

And he appears dead serious about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Under these circumstances, Israel has the opportunity and the obligation to end the PLO’s ability to threaten the US, not to mention itself. It is Israel’s duty to ensure that the next time the PLO tries to exact a price in blood for America’s refusal to abide by the terms of Arafat’s blackmail, his terrorist group is finally destroyed.

Similarly, Israel is now obliged to take the lead and abandon the PLO-friendly two-state policy, which blames Israel for Palestinian terrorism, and adopt a strategy that works in its place.

Netanyahu has refused to consider any alternative until after Barack Obama is out of office.

Consultations must be scheduled for Saturday night.

Monday, January 16, 2017

William Peter Blatty, Author of 'The Exorcist,' Helped Exorcise Our Irreverence


January 15, 2017

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William Peter Blatty (Getty Images)

William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist who died Thursday at age 89, was in my father-in-law’s class at Georgetown University. I have one e-mail message from him, through a mutual friend. It said, in toto, “My e-mail address is above. Say hello to your father-in-law for me.”

We were in touch through my friend because Blatty, a devoutly traditionalist Catholic, was involved in a canon lawsuit against Georgetown (my alma mater as well) to try to force it to adhere more closely to Catholic practices. I’m a Protestant, but the suit intrigued me and impressed me with its thoughtfulness and erudition.

Blatty obviously took his faith very seriously. And while many remember his most famous work as merely a horror-shock film, it of course hewed closely to Catholic orthodoxy. As much as we moderns might want to shove aside the idea of the devil as an actual, personal entity, there can be no doubt that a strict reading of the Bible says he exists.

The great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote that believers can make two errors of equal weight: “You can give the Devil too much or too little attention.” Blatty aimed to correct the latter mistake, which seemed a half-century ago to be the one most prevalent.

Still, people miss his message if they think Blatty’s point was merely to frighten us by reminding us that (according to Christian orthodoxy) the Devil truly exists. Instead, his larger message – both in The Exorcist and in its sequel, Legion – was to show that faith and Christ are astonishingly strong.

By portraying the Devil as being so horrifyingly powerful, and yet by showing that even one so powerful could be overcome when “the power of Christ compels you,” Blatty aimed to re-inculcate in us – in the midst of a live-and-let-live world where everything was supposedly copacetic and everyone should chill out – a sense of awe and appreciation for the majesty and goodness of God.

“If there are demons, there must be God,” Blatty once explained. As his character Merrin said in The Exorcist, “I think it finally is a matter of love: of accepting the possibility that God could ever love us.”

And when the young Jesuit priest, Fr. Karras, dies at the end of the book, he has “eyes filled with peace; and with something else: something mysteriously like joy at the end of heart's longing.”

In the book, not only is it clear that the poor, victimized girl has been dispossessed and restored to health, but also that her exorcist has found peace and joy. This is triumph – both our triumph and especially God’s.

In recent years, Blatty made a stir by publishing a book claiming numerous examples of “evidence” that his son, who died at age 19, is enjoying life after death. Now it is time for Blatty himself to enjoy it, too. His email address is now above, reachable not in cyberspace but through a state of grace. We can only hope that as he experiences that peace and joy, he says hello for us to our heavenly Father.

Quin Hillyer is a veteran conservative columnist. He has an undergraduate degree in Theology from Georgetown University and has served for years in various forms of ecumenical lay leadership.

FORT LAUDERDALE AIRPORT SHOOTER CONVERTED TO ISLAM BEFORE HE JOINED ARMY


Why Wasn't He Stopped?
January 16, 2017
Image result for esteban santiago muslim
It has now been definitively established that Esteban Santiago, who opened fire in the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale Airport on January 6, murdering five people, was a convert to Islam who took the name Aashiq Hammad, downloaded jihadist material and recorded himself singing the Islamic confession of faith. The universal mainstream media indifference to these facts is yet another indication of how the prevailing denial and willful ignorance about the jihad threat is hamstringing our opposition to it.
The new revelations came after it was discovered that Santiago/Hammad had told the FBI, in a bizarre incident, that he was being forced to fight for the Islamic State (ISIS). He was also photographed making the one-finger sign that signifies one’s adherence to Islamic monotheism, and which has come to be associated with allegiance to ISIS.
Santiago’s aunt, Maria Ruiz Rivera, claimed that it was all about his mental problems: after he served in the U.S. army in Iraq, she said, “He lost his mind.” But this only raises a larger question: why was he able to join the army in the first place, since Santiago’s enlistment came after his Muslim alter ego, Aashiq Hammad, had downloaded jihad propaganda?
The obvious answer is that to bar him from the army on those grounds would have been “Islamophobic.” Recall that the Fort Hood jihad mass murderer, army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, had been in repeated contact with jihad mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki. But when the FBI agent who was monitoring Hasan’s communications reported these contacts to his superiors, they told him again and again that they had no interest. After the agent persisted, he was told that the bureau “doesn’t go out and interview every Muslim guy who visits extremist websites.”
Why not?
Hasan, in any case, remained on active duty until, screaming “Allahu akbar,” he massacred 13 people at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.
Esteban Santiago was likewise not stopped. Nor was he by any means singular in this. After an Islamic jihadist set off bombs in New York City and New Jersey in September 2016, the New York Post reported: “It happened again: The FBI had the future Chelsea bomber on its radar — for a while, anyway — but let him slip through. Just as officials had done with men who became the perps in at least eight other terror attacks.”
Terror researcher Patrick Poole, who for years has tracked what he has dubbed the “known wolf” phenomenon – that is, jihad attacks perpetrated by people who were known to authorities who had turned a blind eye to the threat they posed – details one incident that is as disquieting as it is emblematic:
When the problem of terror recruitment amongst the U.S. Somali community by al-Shabaab became an issue in 2008 and 2009, there were reports in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, which has the second largest Somali population in the country, that al-Shabaab operative Dahir Gurey was fundraising and recruiting for the terrorist group in the area. He later showed up in Minneapolis.
When we told the FBI about it, the response was that our information couldn’t be accurate, because if it were true they would have heard about it from their local Muslim outreach partners.
This indicates a level of credulity on the part of law enforcement authorities that is truly breathtaking. Many who are aware of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat blandly assume that officials parrot the party line about Islam being a religion of peace and “extremism” being a problem among people of all faiths in public, but in private are aware of the jihad threat and working to counter it. Poole’s account, however – and there are many other similar accounts – shows that they really believe the nonsense they purvey in public.
The establishment media, meanwhile, is no better. Three days after the Aashiq Hammad story broke, ABC News reported, in the 26th paragraph of a story about the Fort Lauderdale shooting, that “since the attack, investigators recovered his computer from a pawn shop, and the FBI is examining it to determine whether the alleged shooter created a jihadist identity for himself using the name Aashiq Hammad, according to officials familiar with the case.” That’s it, as far as the mainstream media is concerned.
Imagine, in order to put this into perspective, imagine if Santiago had put up a webpage some years ago indicating that he had joined the KKK, and had downloaded white supremacist literature. Do you think the establishment media would be so indifferent to this as a possible indication of a motive for the Fort Lauderdale Airport shootings? Neither do I.
Esteban Santiago/Aashiq Hammad could have been stopped before he killed anyone. But that would have required an entirely different culture within law enforcement and the media. If such a sea change is not forthcoming, there will be many more Aashiq Hammads.
 Tags: Islamislamic terrorJihad

Friday, January 13, 2017

OBAMA’S TRANSPARENT PRESIDENCY


By Caroline B. Glick
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/
12 January 2017


President Barack Obama Makes Key Speech In Cairo
U.S. President Barack Obama makes his key Middle East speech at Cairo University June 4, 2009 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Getty Images)

President Barack Obama promised that his would be the most transparent administration in US history.

And the truth is, it was. At least in relation to his policies toward the Muslim world, Obama told us precisely what he intended to do and then he did it.


A mere week remains of Obama’s tenure in office.

But Obama remains intent on carrying on as if he will never leave power. He has pledged to continue to implement his goals for the next week and then to serve as the most outspoken ex-president in US history.

In all of Obama’s recent appearances, his message is one of vindication. I came. I succeeded. I will continue to succeed. I represent the good people, the people of tomorrow. My opponents represent the Manichean, backward past. We will fight them forever and we will prevail.

Tuesday Obama gave his final interview to the Israeli media to Ilana Dayan from Channel 2’s Uvda news magazine. Dayan usually tries to come off as an intellectual. On Tuesday’s show, she cast aside professionalism however, and succumbed to her inner teenybopper. Among her other questions, she asked Obama the secret to his preternatural ability to touch people’s souls.

The only significant exchange in their conversation came when Dayan asked Obama about the speech he gave on June 4, 2009, in Cairo. Does he still stand by all the things he said in that speech? Would he give that speech again today, given all that has since happened in the region, she asked.

Absolutely, Obama responded.

The speech, he insisted was “aspirational” rather than programmatic. And the aspirations that he expressed in that address were correct.

If Dayan had been able to put aside her hero worship for a moment, she would have stopped Obama right then and there. His claim was preposterous.

But, given her decision to expose herself as a slobbering groupie, Dayan let it slide.

To salvage the good name of the journalism, and more important, to understand Obama’s actual record and its consequences, it is critical however to return to that speech.

Obama’s speech at Cairo University was the most important speech of his presidency. In it he laid out both his “aspirational” vision of relations between the West and the Islamic world and his plans for implementing his vision. The fundamentally transformed world he will leave President-elect Donald Trump to contend with next Friday was transformed on the basis of that speech.

Obama’s address that day at Cairo University lasted for nearly an hour. In the first half he set out his framework for understanding the nature of the US’s relations with the Muslim world and the relationship between the Western world and Islam more generally. He also expressed his vision for how that relationship should change.

The US-led West he explained had sinned against the Muslim world through colonialism and racism.

It needed to make amends for its past and make Muslims feel comfortable and respected, particularly female Muslims, covered from head to toe.

As for the Muslims, well, September 11 was wrong but didn’t reflect the truth of Islam, which is extraordinary. Obama thrice praised “the Holy Koran.” He quoted it admiringly. He waxed poetic in his appreciation for all the great contributions Islamic civilization has made to the world – he even made up a few. And he insisted falsely that Islam has always been a significant part of the American experience.

In his dichotomy between two human paths – the West’s and Islam’s – although he faulted the records of both, Obama judged the US and the West more harshly than Islam.

In the second half of his address, Obama detailed his plans for changing the West’s relations with Islam in a manner that reflected the true natures of both.

In hindsight, it is clear that during the seven and a half years of his presidency that followed that speech, all of Obama’s actions involved implementing the policy blueprint he laid out in Cairo.

He never deviated from the course he spelled out.

Obama promised to withdraw US forces from Iraq regardless of the consequences. And he did.

He promised he would keep US forces in Afghanistan but gave them no clear mission other than being nice to everyone and giving Afghans a lot of money. And those have been his orders ever since.

Then he turned his attention to Israel and the Palestinians. Obama opened this section by presenting his ideological framework for understanding the conflict. Israel he insisted was not established out of respect of the Jews’ national rights to their historic homeland. It was established as a consolation prize to the Jews after the Holocaust.

That is, Israel is a product of European colonialism, just as Iran and Hamas claim.

In contrast, the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the land. They have been the primary victims of the colonial West’s post-Holocaust guilty conscience. Their suffering is real and legitimate.

Hamas’s opposition to Israel is legitimate, he indicated. Through omission, Obama made clear that he has no ideological problem with Hamas – only with its chosen means of achieving its goal.

Rather than fire missiles at Israel, he said, Hamas should learn from its fellow victims of white European colonialist racists in South Africa, in India, and among the African-American community.

Like them Hamas should use nonviolent means to achieve its just aims.

Obama’s decision to attack Israel at the UN Security Council last month, his attempts to force Israel to accept Hamas’s cease-fire demands during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, his consistent demand that Israel renounce Jewish civil and property rights in united Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, his current refusal to rule out the possibility of enabling another anti-Israel resolution to pass at the Security Council next week, and his contempt for the Israeli Right all are explained, envisioned and justified explicitly or implicitly in his Cairo speech.

One of the more notable but less discussed aspects of Obama’s assertion that the Palestinians are in the right and Israel is in the wrong in the speech, was his embrace of Hamas. Obama made no mention of the PLO or the Palestinian Authority or Fatah in his speech. He mentioned only Hamas – the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which shares the Brotherhood’s commitment to annihilating Israel and wiping out the Jewish people worldwide.

Sitting in the audience that day in Cairo were members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak rightly viewed Obama’s insistence that the brothers be invited to his address as a hostile act. Due to this assessment, Mubarak boycotted the speech and refused to greet Obama at the Cairo airport.

Two years later, Obama supported Mubarak’s overthrow and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to replace him.

Back to the speech.

Having embraced the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, branded Israel a colonial implant and discredited the US’s moral claim to world leadership, Obama turned his attention to Iran.

Obama made clear that his intention as president was to appease the ayatollahs. America he explained had earned their hatred because in 1953 the CIA overthrew the pro-Soviet regime in Iran and installed the pro-American shah in its place.

True, since then the Iranians have done all sorts of mean things to America. But America’s original sin of intervening in 1953 justified Iran’s aggression.

Obama indicated that he intended to appease Iran by enabling its illicit nuclear program to progress.

Ignoring the fact that Iran’s illegal nuclear program placed it in material breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Obama argued that as an NPT signatory, Iran had a right to a peaceful nuclear program. As for the US and the rest of the members of the nuclear club, Obama intended to convince everyone to destroy their nuclear arsenals.

And in the succeeding years, he took a hacksaw to America’s nuclear force.

After Obama’s speech in Cairo, no one had any cause for surprise at the reports this week that he approved the transfer of 116 tons of uranium to Iran. Likewise, no one should have been surprised by his nuclear deal or by his willingness to see Iran take over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. No one should be surprised by his cash payoffs to the regime or his passivity in the face of repeated Iranian acts of aggression against US naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

Everything that Obama has done since he gave that speech was alluded to or spelled out that day.

Certainly, nothing he has done was inconsistent with what he said.

The consequences of Obama’s worldview and the policies he laid out in Cairo have been an unmitigated disaster for everyone. The Islamic world is in turmoil. The rising forces are those that Obama favored that day: The jihadists.

ISIS, which Obama allowed to develop and grow, has become the ideological guide not only of jihadists in the Middle East but of Muslims in the West as well. Consequently it has destabilized not only Iraq and Syria but Europe as well. As the victims of the Islamist massacres in San Bernardino, Boston, Ft. Hood, Orlando and beyond can attest, American citizens are also paying the price for Obama’s program.

Thanks to Obama, the Iranian regime survived the Green Revolution. Due to his policies, Iran is both the master of its nuclear fate and the rising regional hegemon.

Together with its Russian partners, whose return to regional power after a 30-year absence Obama enabled, Iran has overseen the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Sunnis in Syria and paved the way for the refugee crisis that threatens the future of the European Union.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Islamist leader, was a principle beneficiary of Obama’s admiration of Islamism. Erdogan rode Obama’s wave to destroy the last vestiges of the secular Turkish Republic.

Now he is poised to leave NATO in favor of an alliance with Russia.

Obama and his followers see none of this. Faithful only to their ideology, Obama and his followers in the US and around the world refuse to see the connection between the policies borne of that ideology and their destructive consequences. They refuse to recognize that the hatred for Western civilization and in particular of the Jewish state Obama gave voice to in Cairo, and his parallel expression of admiration for radical Islamic enemies of the West, have had and will continue to have horrific consequences for the US and for the world as a whole.

Cairo is Obama’s legacy. His followers’ refusal to acknowledge this truth means that it falls to those Obama reviles to recognize the wages of the most transparent presidency in history. It is their responsibility to undo the ideological and concrete damage to humanity the program he first unveiled in that address and assiduously implemented ever since has wrought.

'SHE HAD A REALLY BIG HEART' Tragedy that inspired hit film Monster Calls that’s now helping cancer-stricken writer’s family deal with their loss


BY GRANT ROLLINGS
7 January 2017
Big screen... The film poster for Monster Calls
At the same time that author Siobhan Dowd had her first short story published, breast ­cancer put a time limit on how much more she could write.
Even during gruelling chemotherapy she penned four novels in a bid to get her words out into the world.
But with her treatment failing in the spring of 2007, Siobhan was too weak to sketch out more than a ­1,000-word outline of a novel about a lonely boy struggling to cope with his mum’s cancer diagnosis.
She died that summer aged 47.
Siobhan’s outline was later fleshed out into a prize-winning novel — and the film version of A Monster Calls is out now starring Felicity Jones, ­Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson.
It is the story of a giant yew tree monster, voiced by Neeson, visiting 12-year-old Conor O’Malley at 12.07am every night with a scary fairytale.
The stories help the youngster cope with the anger and fear he feels about his mum’s terminal illness.
The film’s success is also helping Siobhan’s family come to terms with her untimely death.
They revealed how she chose the yew because needles from that tree are used in the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, which did hold back her cancer for a year and a half.
Her sister Denise, 61, tells The Sun: “The book and the film have given us a real legacy for Siobhan.
“It’s something special that not many people have.
“She had so many ideas and I think she could have ­written forever.
“She did think time was running out for her.
“Once she started having chemotherapy she decided it would be wise to resign from her job and concentrate on her writing full-time for as much as she was able.
“It was so hard for her, writing while ill.
“She had a really big heart, loads of energy and she loved having fun.”
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Siobhan Dowd
The film’s young star also knows the pain of seeing a parent slip away.
Lewis MacDougall, who plays troubled schoolboy Conor, suffered the death of his own mother Fiona, from multiple sclerosis, shortly before filming started back in 2013.
The 14-year-old, from ­Edinburgh, says: “When I lost my mother I was around Conor’s age, maybe a bit younger.
“There were times before she passed when she was in a bad way, when there was a possibility that she might not get through.
“And I remember vividly having conversations about it.”
Lewis, who has previously appeared in the 2015 film Pan alongside Hugh Jackman, adds: “I was very upset at the time. My dad told me, ‘Your mum might not get through this.’
“So having lived through something like Conor’s experience was helpful — to know what he was going through in any particular moment.
“At times on set it did affect me — it was a bit close to home.”
Sigourney Weaver, who plays Conor’s grandmother, and Felicity Jones (as his mother), prepared for the film by talking to people who had been through the same grieving process, talking to cancer doctors and visiting a hospice.
Siobhan, who was born in London to Irish parents, had her first short story published in 2004 — the same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
When the chemotherapy sessions started she quit her job as Deputy Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Oxfordshire and started writing books for youngsters.
Her first novel, A Swift Pure Cry, about an Irish teenager called Shell, was published in 2006 and a year later the children’s thriller The ­London Eye Mystery came out.
Two months later, in August 2007, ­overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the cancer, Siobhan died.
Doctors had told her from the start that they could only prolong her ­battle with the illness, although her family always believed she would be strong enough to beat it.
Denise recalls: “Her consultant was quite honest right from the beginning.
“He said he could control her symptoms but he couldn’t cure her. But you do always hope.”
Siobhan, who has two other older sisters, Oona, 63, and 58-year-old Enda, did not keep her condition a secret and remained as lively as ­possible right until the end.
Denise adds: “When they launched The London Eye Mystery in 2007 she was brilliant at the party but she couldn’t manage the meal afterwards because she had to go rest.” After her death two more novels she had ­completed, A Bog Child and Solace of the Road, were released.
Bog Child posthumously won the 2009 Carnegie Medal.
But A Monster Calls remained just an outline — shorter than this article — and it needed best-selling author Patrick Ness to round it out and turn it into a full book.
It has now been published in almost 40 languages and also won the Carnegie Medal.
Twice-married Siobhan did not have any children of her own but was inspired to write for children by her nieces and nephews. Mother of three Denise, from Stockport, says: “When she started interacting with our children she decided she wanted to write for young adults.
“She would talk to her nieces and nephews who were coming into their teens and lots of stuff from our ­family pop up in her books.”
Days before she died, Siobhan, who was married to librarian Geoff ­Morgan, wrote a will asking for all the money from her books to be used to encourage children to read.
The Siobhan Dowd Trust has already handed out more than £300,000 to give books to the children of military heroes serving in the Armed Forces, the children of prisoners and to the Readathon charity.
The trust has also given copies of A Monster Calls to a bereavement charity for kids called Grief Encounter.
Its chairman Tony Bradman, 62, who commissioned Siobhan to write her first short story, says: “The brief of the Trust which she put in her will was to bring the joy of reading books to children of disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Out of something very bad we have managed to get something very good.”
Denise and her son John, 30, are both trustees.
She adds: “Adults sometimes find it harder to cope after a death.
“For children, it’s the impending doom, knowing that something ­terrible is going to happen. ­Something outside the scope of their ­experience.
“We had been very open with our children about what was happening to Siobhan. But they were worried about the effect it would have on them and everyone around them.
“Being with Siobhan at the end was terribly important for me. Then suddenly it stopped, and there was this void.
“Grief is a very lonely emotion. You can be surrounded by other ­people who are grieving.
“They can feel a similar pain, but can’t feel your pain.
“Sometimes it’s more intense and sometimes it recedes, and nobody’s at the same stage at the same time.
“Now, if only Siobhan could see how her money was being spent, she would be so happy.”

'A Monster Calls' review: a luscious, painterly fantasy overcast with sadness


The monster in A Monster Calls is a metaphor, made of gnarled bark, twisted branches and Liam Neeson’s sonorous baritone. This tree-demon charges down from its hill at night to confront a boy called Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall), whose already difficult life is about to crack wide open: his mother (Felicity Jones) is gravely ill, and the monster initially seems like a harbinger of disaster.
Instead, it might just be a spirit guide, a helping hand through crisis, cooked up by the boy’s own feverish imagination. It is, after all, a yew tree, held sacred for its regenerative properties.
Fantasies that spring from the creative turmoil of a child are a fertile subgenre in cinema – aspects of this film call to mind Labyrinth, the Laika animation Coraline, or even Bernard Rose’s undersung 1988 British chiller Paperhouse, which had a similar setting in rural England.
Cannily adapted by Patrick Ness from his illustrated book of the same name, this is a more choked-up offering than any of those, so overcast with sadness it sometimes seems to be gulping for fresh breaths.
Conor’s hobby, and a respite from thinking about his mum, or dealing with the bullies at school, is sketching with graphite. He stays up until the witching hour in his bedroom, where this tree-BFG, not only rumblingly voiced by Neeson but motion-captured so that it looms Neeson-ishly down at him, finds him nightly.
Instead of threatening to devour him, though, the apparition has stories to tell. “Stories?” asks Conor, unimpressed, and puckering his face as if the monster is mainly just wasting his time.
The stories – there are three, two of them animated in luscious watercolour – illustrate paradoxes which Conor, initially baffled, must grasp in his unstable state of mind. They tell of wronged witches, misdirected vendettas, in a fantasy world of dragons and rumoured poisonings, not unlike Hamlet’s play-within-the-play.
As Neeson’s tree narrates them, the film stands still, but expectantly so, and colours spill across the screen in thrilling splashes: given the chance, you’ll rewind and watch these painterly interludes again, stat.
Conor isn’t just a bystander here, but an outstandingly detailed main character. Spanish director JA Bayona has form with drawing powerful performances from children, if you think back to his horror debut The Orphanage, and discovery of Tom Holland – the new Spidey, no less – in The Impossible.
Even by his standards, though, MacDougall is very special: his face can hide away pockets of pain in one moment, and explode with furious resentment in the next beat.
There’s a Spielbergian showmanship to Bayona’s films, wedded to an unabashed emotionalism, and this one reaches for you down in the gut. Working on ever-larger effects budgets – next up, the Jurassic World sequel – Bayona’s like a stage-fond illusionist who loves to flaunt his tricks and devices, opening his films inside out for your inspection. Subtlety might not be the name of the game, exactly – he just happens to prefer more emphatic games.
The effects team have certainly gone to town, not only on the molten innards of the monster, but on the recurrent image of a church and graveyard crumbling into an abyss, where Conor fears he will lose his mother forever. Jones, while perfectly sensitive, doesn’t have a great deal more to do than pallidly disappear in her role.
There’s quietly terrific work, though, from Toby Kebbell as Conor’s runaway dad, pained by the problem of being honest about death, the dilemma of whether to shield his child, and his awareness, having married too young, of belonging on the fringes of the family’s grief.
Sigourney Weaver, unyielding and imperious as Conor’s house-proud grandmother, hasn’t quite got to grips with her RP accent, but her best scene – the film’s best – thankfully doesn’t need it. It’s her mute devastation when finding Conor, in the grips of a particularly wild hallucination, has trashed every inch of her living room. She’s lost for words, looking at all her ornaments obliterated on the carpet, as Conor tries to blub his apologies.
The scene is about everything they’re in the process of accepting, and the emotional violence of it, as they fight their way to a strange kind of understanding for the first time, takes you aback.
It’s a pivotal encounter, in a film which keeps devising ever-more-epic collisions between an angry boy and his own sorrow.