Monday Afternoon - The Front Page Cover

The Front Page Cover
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened"
Salman Rushdie, Meet Charlie Hebdo
Peggy Noonan
"Know who you are standing with"
"Show me your friends and I'll show you your future"
 Who Can Fathom the Depths of nObamaCare Tax Filing?  
Perhaps H&R Block is just calling it as it is, or perhaps it's getting an early start on advertising for business, but the nation's largest tax preparation service is warning people that nObamaCare has made the already complex tax code incomprehensible. "Now that the Affordable Care Act has made health care a tax issue, no one can understand it," H&R Block says in a video on its specially dedicated nObamaCare web page. nObamaCare rules that take effect for this tax filing season amount to "the biggest tax code change in the last 20 years." Now that individuals have been enrolled in nObamaCare for the first time, subsidies -- based on income -- play a role in tax filing. Some estimates put the number of people who will be forced to repay those subsidies at over three million. Other taxpayers will receive smaller refunds after their penalty tax is confiscated. According to The Daily Caller, "Penalties for non-compliance with nObamacare have tripled since 2013, from $95 to an average of $301." In short, it's going to be a painful tax season, because, if you like your refund, you can't have all of it. More...  -The Patriot Post 
 Health Care Website Shares Information With Web Marketers  
The "Affordable" Care Act demands not only more money, but people's privacy. It's not exactly clear why needs to share sensitive health information it has trolled from millions of users with web marketing companies. While the government told the Associated Press the web marketers analyze the data to "improve the customer experience," there is little information about what is shared and how it is used. The AP reports, "[I]t can include age, income, ZIP code, whether a person smokes, and if a person is pregnant. It can include a computer's Internet address, which can identify a person's name or address when combined with other information collected by sophisticated online marketing or advertising firms." According to Peter Suderman at Reason the health care website has had a dismal record protecting people's data -- the Government Accountability Office has proved that. Three can't keep a secret. Especially if one doesn't care about privacy and the other is compelled to disclose their private health information by government diktat.  -The Patriot Post 
 Feinstein's $1 Billion Conflict of Interest  
The real estate company owned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein's husband is about to get a windfall thanks to the government-run economy. Here's what the New York Post's Richard Johnson had to say about it: "The US Postal Service plans to sell 56 buildings -- so it can lease space more expensively -- and the real estate company of the California senator's husband, Richard Blum, is set to pocket about $1 billion in commissions. Blum's company, CBRE, was selected in March 2011 as the sole real estate agent on sales expected to fetch $19 billion. Most voters didn't notice that Blum is a member of CBRE's board and served as chairman from 2001 to 2014." Apparently, deals like this have been going to the Feinsteins for years. Once again, Feinstein has found a loophole to direct taxpayer money to her husband and the companies owned by his friends. Even while Feinstein says the bidding processes were competitive, her husband has scored military construction contracts, and CBRE was positioned in such a way to catch the windfall from the senator's tampering with the real estate market. While leftist elite decry the "One Percent," they don't mind being part of it themselves. More...  -The Patriot Post 
 About That Yemen Model... 
In September 2014, Barack nObama announced that Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIL would not be like Iraq. It would be like Yemen. "I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," nObama said. "It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years." So how about a check-up on that success? The Washington Post reports, "Shiite insurgents overran Yemen's presidential palace and shelled the president's residence Tuesday in an escalating offensive striking at the heart of the Western-allied government. ... A government collapse could send the country into full-scale civil war and raise fears of militant factions cementing control of key territory in the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula." Oh. Well, then, nObama might need to look for another model. In all seriousness, this is not good for the fight against terrorism-The Patriot Post 
The Prince of Thieves  
During his lame-duck term, Barack nObama intends to pursue what he calls "middle-class economics," i.e., proposals to reduce income inequality through taxation. Apparently a one-trick pony, nObama is back to raising taxes on the rich. In last night's State of the Union Address, nObama explained "middle-class economics" as "the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don't just want everyone to share in America's success, we want everyone to contribute to our success." Except his policies don't give everyone a fair shot, or set the same rules for everyone. And only a few at the top "contribute to our success."  -The Patriot Post 
 Muslim call-to-prayer on UCLA campus  
( - A columnist is urging people to contact UCLA officials to protest a Muslim call to prayer broadcast on the campus of a “publicly funded institution.”... “This in an act of Islamic supremacism,” writes Carol Brown for the American Thinker. “If Muslim students at UCLA can’t figure out how to tell time or keep track of when they need to pray, that’s their problem.” Her column provides contact information for UCLA officials, including Janet Napolitano, president of the Universithy of California system, and corporate donors to the university. “The call to prayer is something that is blasted over loudspeakers in Muslim majority countries and Muslim enclaves around Detroit,” Brown wrote. “We’ve already heard enough ‘Allahu Akbar’ for a lifetime.” She said “fighting creeping Shariah requires constant vigilance.” What's going on with you, UCLA?
 House confronts nObama's lie with pro-life bill  
(Charlie Butts) - A host of speakers – some from Congress – made similar comments yesterday during the event in Washington, DC, that drew tens of thousands of pro-life Americans...Congressman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), who co-chairs the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, pointed to H.R. 7, a bill that (1) bars use of federal tax dollars for abortion and (2) requires insurance plans in nObamaCare to reveal whether they cover abortion. Smith told the gathering that that piece of legislation (No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015), which passed Thursday, is a response to President nObama. "He put out an executive order that said he would comport with the Hyde Amendment," the lawmaker stated. "Those promises have turned out to be untrue, a lie – and now we have a situation where over a thousand nObamaCare plans on the exchange are paying for abortion on demand."
 Islamic State Supporters Protest in Gaza  
( - Roughly 200 Salafi-Jihadis in Gaza rallied outside of the French Cultural Institute on Monday, denouncing the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and praising the recent terrorist attacks in Paris...the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports. The protesters raised black Jihadi flags and carried posters featuring the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorists who carried out the deadly attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Paris kosher supermarket. The Salafis threatened attacks on French citizens and attempted to storm the cultural institute before being prevented by Hamas security forces. "We were going to cut off [i.e. boycott] your products and now we will cut off your heads" and "Frenchmen, leave Gaza or else we will slaughter you," chanted the Islamic State [IS] supporters.
 Family claim leader of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi has died 
(Thomas Joscelyn) - Family members of Mohamed al Zahawi, the leader of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi, say that he has died of wounds suffered during a battle last year, according to Reuters...Separately, a Libyan military leader has also claimed that Zahawi has passed away as a result of injuries "sustained in an ambush" that occurred sometime in September 2014. Rumors of Zahawi's demise have circulated for months, but there has been no hard evidence to back up the claim. Thus far, Ansar al Sharia has not released an official martyrdom statement or video confirming Zahawi's death. Zahawi has frequently starred in Ansar al Sharia's videos. The group has featured scenes of Zahawi leading the charge against General Khalifa Haftar's forces. Haftar and his fighters have sought to take control of Benghazi from the jihadists since the middle of last year.
 Islamist Panel Approaches Self-Parody in Hebdo/Radicalization Talk 
( - A panel discussion Thursday hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) promised to plumb the "the root causes of radicalization" in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher market...It turns out the problem is not Islamic theology or radical Muslim ideology. It's all the things the West does wrong. Fix those problems, panelists said, and things get better. During the 90-minute program at the National Press Club, no speaker discussed the Quranic verses invoked by terrorists in the Islamic State or al-Qaida to justify their actions. Instead, speakers emphasized a host of grievances that they say lead young Muslims to believe that peace and democracy will not lead to the changes they desire.
 Hanoi Kerry, Mossad denies it opposes new Iran sanctions 
(Lazar Berman) - Contradicting Secretary of State Hanoi John Kerry, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency denied on Thursday reports that its chief warned US senators against a bill that would hit Iran with sanctions if ongoing nuclear talks fail to secure an agreement by their June deadline...A report saying that the head of the spy agency, Tamir Pardo, opposed new sanctions was carried by Bloomberg on Wednesday and Hanoi Kerry also cited Pardo’s purported comments. But the Mossad insisted Thursday that Pardo’s remarks had not been accurately reported. “Mossad head Tamir Pardo met two days ago with a delegation of US senators, at the request of the senators and with the prime minister’s permission,” the agency said in a rare statement. “Despite what the report said, the head of the Mossad did not say he opposes additional sanctions against Iran; the head of the Mossad emphasized in the meeting the extraordinary effectiveness of the sanctions against Iran, for a number of years, in bringing Iran to the negotiating table.”
 nObama’s Border Policy Fueled Epidemic, Evidence Shows  
(Neil Munro) - The deadly EV-D68 enterovirus epidemic, which struck thousands of kids this fall, was likely propelled through America by President Barack nObama’s decision to allow tens of thousands of Central Americans across the Texas border, according to a growing body of genetic and statistical evidence...The evidence includes admissions from top health officials that the epidemic included multiple strains of the virus, and that it appeared simultaneously in multiple independent locations. The question can be settled if federal researchers study the genetic fingerprint of the EV-D68 viruses that first hit kids in Colorado, Missouri and Illinois to see if they are close relatives to the EV-D68 viruses found in Central America.
 $10,000 Tax Credit To Hire Ex Cons  
(Michael Strickland) - At an event put on by Don’t Shoot Portland, the city’s #Ferguson protest meme, Mayor Charlie Hales announced that the city has “banned the box” for hiring city employees...referring to the part on a job application where an employers asks the applicant if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. This is part of a larger “Ban The Box” movement, which hopes to make that into a law that applies to the private sector as well. This means a business owner will be legally barred from asking an applicant if they’re a felon. The business won’t know if their employees are child molesters, drunk drivers, drug traffickers…To make this even more ridiculous, Mayor Hales is also proposing a $10,000 per year tax credit to companies that hire “returning citizens”, which is apparently the new, politically correct term for an “ex offender”. That’s right, companies would get a huge tax credit for hiring felons over non felons. Don't know if this Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine?
 Racist Commie Luis Gutierrez Attacks Patriot Jeff Sessions’  
(Rick Wells) - Aside from being a bigoted anti-American activist, Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is behaving in a manner not unlike a freshman school girl meeting the senior starting quarterback at a high school dance in the way he smiles disturbingly into the camera at the start of the video...In spite of his apparent aversion to testosterone, the wormy little communist community organizer has no problem attacking a real man, one who represents the citizens of America irrespective of their color or national origin, one who is a patriotic defender of our Constitution and our way of life, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. The tactic of Gutierrez is the tried and true divide and conquer, belittling the selection of Sessions as a concession to “the racists of the south.” He warns the Republicans that there is more to the United States than just the south and that they “better have a vision and a manner in which they can approach the rest of the American population.”
 Ben Shapiro: nObama's Broken Promises, 2014       
(Truth Revolt) - Ben Shapiro takes a look at the President nObama's tough talk from 2014 - and the dismal results...
Salman Rushdie, Meet Charlie Hebdo
Peggy Noonan

     ( - It was a sunny Tuesday in London, Valentine’s Day 1989. The phone rang in the novelist’s home. It was a BBC reporter. At first he was irritated: She didn’t even bother to tell him how she’d gotten his private number. “How does it feel,” she asked, “to know that you have just been sentenced to death by the Ayatollah Khomeini ?”

“It doesn’t feel good,” Salman Rushdie, said. I am a dead man, he thought.

     In a daze he walked around closing shutters, locking the front door. Witnessing his own fear he decided to keep a commitment to do a television interview. When he left the house he didn’t know it would be three years before he entered it again.

     Walking into the studio he was handed a printout of the edict just released by the supreme leader of Iran: “I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the ‘Satanic Verses’ book, which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran, and all those involved in its publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death. I ask all the Muslims to execute them wherever they find them.”

Mr. Rushdie read it. The interviewer asked him to respond.

     “I wish I’d written a more critical book,” he said. He was ever after proud he said that, though in future years he occasionally wobbled under the pressure, as one would.

     And so began his roughly 10 years in hiding, with heavy police protection, under an assumed name “Joseph Anton,” which is what he called his 2012 memoir, from which the above is taken.

     Salman Rushdie had written a novel critical of Islam, and so he had to die. It was the first famous fatwa in the West.

     I was a writer and producer at CBS News in New York, and I remember the general American reaction, which was bafflement: They’re threatening an artist for producing art? Who are these people? In the publishing world Mr. Rushdie’s became a celebrated cause, but to others he was not an entirely sympathetic figure—arrogant, a snooty lefty luvvie who wrote a rude book about the faith of his fathers and now they’re coming down on him like a ton of bricks. Remind me why I care?

     Looking back, he was the canary in the coal mine. Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker and writer, was shot to death on the street and almost decapitated in November 2004, after his short film on women and Islam was broadcast on television. His collaborator, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, got death threats and eventually fled to America. Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist who drew Muhammad with a bomb hidden in his turban, was a target of two assassination attempts and had to go into hiding.

     And now the atrocity in Paris. Extremist Muslim fanatics cut down 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine. Their crime too was insulting Islam.

     What do we know now that we did not know when Mr. Rushdie was targeted? That extreme, militant Islamists continue to clash with the liberal West. That the West must see to it that its values are not compromised by the fears the murderers seek to spread.

     Charlie Hebdo magazine has struck me as aimed at the immature, or at least the not fully formed. Its cartoons and other humor are broad and vulgar, even primitive, not witty or sly. The magazine delights in crudely, grossly insulting all faiths, especially Islam. But as a Westerner would say, so what? It has been alleged by a few people that the staff of Charlie Hebdo brought the tragedy on themselves. That is exactly what was said of Salman Rushdie, that he shouldn’t have written such an offensive book.

     Maybe it would be instructive to look at how we in the West handle what is rude and unpleasant and offensive.

     First, our freedoms are not merely our “traditions,” our “ways,” “reflective of Enlightenment assumptions” or “very pleasant.” In America especially, they are everything to us. Here freedom of expression is called free speech, and it is protected in the first of the Constitution’s amendments because it is the most important of our rights.

     In the way that courage is the first of the virtues because without it none of the others are possible, the First Amendment protects the freedom upon which all others depend. Without free speech no difference of opinion can be resolved, no progress made in the law or in politics, no truth found and held high, no scandal unearthed and stopped.

     But free speech takes patience. It requires us to hold our temper and give each other plenty of room in which to operate.

This is how we deal with offensive speech:

     In the late 1980s, Andres Serrano produced “Piss Christ,” a photograph of a small crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine. That didn’t go over well with a lot of Christians. They wrote op-eds, protested peacefully, and criticized the National Endowment for the Arts for subsidizing the work with tax money. The arguments were vigorous. But the protests were peaceful, and no one even dreamed of harming the artist.

     In the late 1990s it was Chris Ofili, whose painting “The Holy Virgin Mary” depicted Mary surrounded by pornographic images and smeared with elephant dung. When it was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum it didn’t go over well with Catholics, including Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The museum received public money. There were protests and arguments, the mayor withheld funds, the museum sued him and won. No one ever dreamed of harming the artist.

     We resolve these things peacefully in the West. And this is not only “tradition.” We know on some level that this is how civilization keeps itself together. I remember long conversations during these controversies in which people tried to view the provocative works charitably. Maybe the artist is trying, awkwardly and imperfectly, to say something big and even good? Maybe he’s trying to say: “You say you love Christ but you don’t honor him.” Maybe he’s trying to say, “You say you honor Mary, but in your own actions and lives you cover her not with glory but dung.” Or maybe the artists were just talentless hacks producing the only thing they were good at: publicity.

The point is people considered and debated. They didn’t pick up a gun.

     A singular feature of extremist Islamists is that they are not at all interested in persuasion. They don’t care about winning you over, only about making you submit. They want to menace and threaten. They want to frighten. They enjoy posing with the severed head.

It is the West’s job not to be overcome by fear, not to give an inch.

Steady is the word.

     Tracked down by a reporter for Deutsche Welle after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Kurt Westergaard offered his wisdom. He said the murderers were “fanatics.” He told the media “not to be afraid” and not to “surrender” free speech. And he said he hoped for “a reaction from the moderate majority of Muslims against this attack.”

That majority actually exists, and should step forward.

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