Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Will Democrats blame global warming or the Crusades for the murder of 21 Christians?

Breitbart reports on a new video from Islamic State: (H/T Ari)

A newly released video by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists showing the mass beheading of 21 Christians condemns the faith’s believers as “crusaders.”

“All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together,” a man on the video says with a North American English accent. “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”

The five-minute video, which includes the caption, “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” shows Egyptian Coptic Christian men on their knees in orange jumpsuits having their heads severed by black-clad terrorists.

President Barack Obama has yet to comment on the mass beheading of Christians by Islamic State terrorists, since he was golfing on Sunday at a private golf course owned by billionaire Larry Ellison.

The release of the Islamic State’s Christian beheading video comes a week-and-a-half after Obama infuriated Christians by using the occasion of the National Prayer Breakfast to lecture Christians not to get on their “high horse” about Islamic State terrorists burning a caged Jordanian pilot because “during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

The Democrats also declined to specify that the victims of this attack were Christians. That’s the same thing he did when he described the Jewish victims of Islamic terrorism as “a bunch of folks” who were “randomly shot“. Radical Islam is not the problem that Democrats are trying to solve, you know. Obama likes to call this sort of thing “senseless violence” or “workplace violence” in order to avoid impugning radical Islam. The State Department is now saying that radical Islam’s root cause is that we don’t give them “job opportunities“.

Democrats would prefer to ignore radical Islamic terrorism and focus on the real threat.

CNS News explains:

Not radical Muslim terrorism, not an unsecured border, not an ever-growing federal debt that now exceeds $18 trillion, not the fact that 109 million live in households on federal welfare programs. These are not the greatest threats facing us today.

“No challenge–no challenge–poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

[…]President Obama then said that the U.S. military is saying that “climate change” is causing immediate risks to our national security–although he did not explain exactly what this meant or how the “Pentagon” had arrived at this conclusion.

“The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security,” said Obama. “We should act like it.”

Global warming alarmism really means increased regulation of business and consumer activity – that’s the greatest threat we face, according to Democrats. I think what we are seeing is a fundamental lack of seriousness on global security and foreign policy by the golfer-in-chief and his panel of cultural relativist advisors.

This article from the left-leaning Atlantic makes the point that ISIS/ISIL is very much Islamic:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.

[…]Every academic I asked about the Islamic State’s ideology sent me to [Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel]. Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States, and when he talks through his Mephistophelian goatee, there is a hint of an unplaceable foreign accent.

According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.”

All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”

Democrats are not just unserious about radical Islam, but in Ukraine, too.

Please do read this column from Charles Krauthammer:

Take Russia. The only news out of Obama’s one-hour press conference with Angela Merkel this week was that he still can’t make up his mind whether to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons. The Russians have sent in T-80 tanks and Grad rocket launchers. We’ve sent in humanitarian aid that includes blankets, MREs and psychological counselors.

How complementary: The counselors do grief therapy for those on the receiving end of the T-80 tank fire. “I think the Ukrainian people can feel confident that we have stood by them,” said Obama at the news conference.

Indeed. And don’t forget the blankets. America was once the arsenal of democracy, notes Elliott Abrams. We are now its linen closet.

Why no anti-tank and other defensive weapons? Because we are afraid that arming the victim of aggression will anger the aggressor.

[…]This passivity — strategic, syntactical, ideological — is more than just a reaction to the perceived overreach of the Bush years. Or a fear of failure. Or bowing to the domestic left. It is, above all, rooted in Obama’s deep belief that we — America, Christians, the West — lack the moral authority to engage, to project, i.e., to lead.

I play wargames quite often, and in my experience I find that T-80s are very capable, especially against the Ukraine. The main armament is a very good 125 mm gun with an auto-loader, and unlike the M1A2 Abrams, it does have anti-tank guided missiles. It also has reactive armor, making it resistant to ordinary man-portable anti-tank weapon systems. Yes, it doesn’t have the fire control or speed of the Abrams, but it is a very good tank. It has a very nice low-profile turrent that is hard to hit with unguided anti-tank missiles, especially when it is hull-down.

You are not going to be able to take out one of these from the front with a grenade or a light anti-tank weapon. You will need specialized anti-tank capability, either a well-equipped tank, or a shoulder-fired ATGM (e.g. – Javelin) or a TOW ATGM. In short, we need to arm Ukraine if we expect them to be able to deter a force equipped with T-80 tanks. This is not even to mention what is needed for Ukraine to be able to deal with Russian close-air support helicopters (Mi-28 / Ka-50, etc.) and/or strike aircraft (Su-34).

We really need to think carefully about foreign policy when we vote in elections – weakness and indecisiveness emboldens aggressors. The price of cutting our military budget in favor of Obamacare, green energy, welfare and other crap is that we can no longer reach into hotspots all over the world and prevent small threats from growing into bigger ones. We lose our ability to deter aggression and stop wars before they happen.

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Obama threatens to veto No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Life News reports:

Yesterday, the House passed legislation that will put in place a complete ban on taxpayer funding of abortions that ensures abortions are not directly funded in any federal governmental program or department. The president says he will veto it.

The legislation combines several policies that must be enacted every year in Congressional battles and puts them into law where they will not be in jeopardy of being overturned every time Congress changes hands from pro-life lawmakers to those who support abortions.

The House voted 242-179 for the bill with 239 Republicans and three Democrats voting to ban taxpayer funding of abortions under HR7 while 178 Democrats and one Republican voted against it.

Despite strong support for the bill and expected passage in the Senate, as well as strong public opinion , pro-abortion President Barack Obama says he will veto the legislation.

“I am deeply committed to protecting this core constitutional right, and I believe that efforts like H.R. 7, the bill the House considered today, would intrude on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today,” Obama said in a statement objecting to the bill.

But, according to a Marist poll released today, 68 percent of Americans oppose using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.

The bill has been around a few years but has only been approved in the House thanks to a pro-abortion Senate. The House voted 227-188 for the bill in 2014 and, on May 4, 2011, the House passed HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, on a 251-175 vote with Republicans voting 235-0 for the bill and Democrats voting 175-16 against it.

Now that Republicans have taken over the Senate from pro-abortion Democrats, the bill is finally expected to receive a vote in the upper chamber.

[…]A majority of Americans object to the use of taxpayer money for funding abortion, according to numerous polls — including a survey CNN conducted in early April showing Americans oppose public funding of abortion by a margin of 61% to 35%.

The bill will also mitigate concerns about abortion funding in the various loopholes in the Obamacare national health care bill that various pro-life organizations warned about during debate on the law. The legislation did not contain language banning funding of abortions in its provisions and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would fix that problem.

So, if you are a pro-lifer, and you don’t want to subsidize the murder of unborn children, then maybe you should not vote for Democrats like Obama. Abortion is the biggest moral issue of our generation. It’s very important to understand that if we allow the people who are irresponsible with sex to face the costs of their sexual lifestyle, then they will adjust their decision-making. The more the government takes over health care and reduces or eliminates the costs of immoral behavior for people, the more immoral behavior there will be.

The best thing we can do to discourage immorality is to let people bear the costs of their lifestyle choices themselves. That can include contraceptives, sexually transmitted disease treatment, abortion costs, single mother welfare, sex changes, and so on. One of the reasons why we have such a growth in immoral behavior is because generous Christians and conservatives keep falling for the plea for “compassion” made by big government leftists. Well, we have to decide now that we are not going to pay people to be immoral. That money has to come from somewhere, you know. And the more you pay people to do something, the more they do it.

There is some good news though – the Republicans are going to try again to get a vote on that ban on abortions after 20 weeks.

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Yemen rebels eject pro-Western government, Russian troops seize Donetsk airport

Everything is fine! Obama said what a great job he was doing during his State of the Union speech, right?

Middle East Map

Middle East Map

Let’s start with Yemen and the Associated Press:

Yemen’s U.S.-backed president quit Thursday under pressure from rebels holding him captive in his home, severely complicating American efforts to combat al-Qaida’s powerful local franchise and raising fears that the Arab world’s poorest country will fracture into mini-states.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi submitted his resignation to parliament rather than make further concessions to Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who control the capital and are widely believed to be backed by Iran.

The prime minister and his cabinet also stepped down, making a thinly veiled reference to the Houthis’ push at gunpoint for a greater share of power. Houthis deployed their fighters around parliament, which is due to discuss the situation on Sunday.

Yemeni law dictates that the parliament speaker – Yahia al-Rai, a close ally of former autocratic ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh – will now assume the presidency. Saleh still wields considerable power and is widely believed to be allied with the Houthis.

There were conflicting reports suggesting that authorities in Aden, the capital of southern region of Yemen, would no longer submit to the central government’s authority. Even before the Houthis’ recent ascendance, a powerful movement in southern Yemen was demanding autonomy or a return to the full independence the region enjoyed before 1990. Southerners outrightly reject rule by the Houthis, whose power base is in the north. The Houthis are Zaydis, a Shiite minority that makes up about a third of Yemen’s population.

This BBC article explains more about why this is bad news for the United States. Maybe they will try to blame this one on a Youtube video, again?

Oh, but there is more good news. Thanks to Obama’s fabulous leadership in foreign policy, the Russians have seized control of a Ukrainian airport.

Map of Ukraine

Map of Ukraine

The Wall Street Journal explains:

Shelling killed at least eight people at a bus stop in Donetsk on Thursday, hours after government forces withdrew from the ruins of the city’s airport following months of relentless bombardment.

With government forces in apparent retreat in several spots, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization offered indirect backing for the Ukrainian government’s claims of a fresh influx of Russian troops into eastern Ukraine.

A military spokesman in Kiev said 10 government troops also had been killed in the prior 24 hours—one of the highest single-day totals in weeks.

Separatist forces captured 16 wounded soldiers during the battle overnight at Donetsk airport—then brought the captives to the site of the bus-stop shelling, where they were forced to kneel before a crowd of outraged locals.

[…]Earlier this week, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said Russia had sent more than 1,000 troops across the border to fight alongside the separatists, putting the total on Ukrainian territory at 9,000.

[…]On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had reported “an increase in Russian equipment inside eastern Ukraine,” such as tanks, artillery, armored vehicles and advanced air-defense systems.

With fighting intensifying along the so-called line of contact, Gen. Breedlove said the Russia-backed forces have shown “a renewed capability now to bring pressure on the Ukrainian forces,” gaining ground “in several places.”

While the airport, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northwest of the city, is in ruins, the government’s withdrawal from the main terminal was a significant blow, at least to morale, after months of dogged resistance.

“Last night we took a decision to leave the terminal and pull back to new lines,” military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said. He said the terminal had been damaged to such an extent that it could no longer be defended, but that fighting around the airport was continuing.

Another spokesman, Col. Andriy Lysenko, said some buildings were still standing and being defended, such as the remnants of the airport tower and fire station.

Remember when Obama ridiculed Romney for thinking that Russia was a threat to world peace? Obama said to Romney “The 1980s Are Now Calling to Ask for Their Foreign Policy Back”. I think that was a mistake.

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House to vote on Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on January 22nd

Good news from Life News about that Trent Franks-Marsha Blackburn bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Excerpt:

Republicans in the House of Representatives will hold a vote on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade late this month on a marquee bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy because unborn children feel intense pain in abortions.

Top Republicans and leading pro-life groups have been promoting the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth.

[…]In a statement, Franks told LifeNews: “More than 18,000 ‘very late term’ abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America. These are innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia.   Many of them cry and scream as they die, but because it is amniotic fluid going over their vocal cords instead of air, we don’t hear them.”

[…]A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats.

GOP leaders plan to vote on the federal 20-week abortion ban on January 22, 2015 – the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Can unborn children really feel pain after 20 weeks?

Yes:

During the hearing on the last bill, former abortion practitioner Anthony Levatino told members of the committee the gruesome details of his former abortion practice and how he became pro-life following the tragic automobile accident of his child.

Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.

The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy. The science behind the concept of fetal pain is fully established and Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for it.

He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”

He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen  were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.

“The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb,” they wrote.

“Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.

With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand has provided further research to substantiate their work.

I would really like to see the House and Senate vote on this bill and send it to Obama, who will veto it. It is very important that Americans understand that electing a Democrat is not a pro-life thing to do. We need something very public that will show exactly how extreme Democrats are on the life issue.

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Should young people vote for Democrats?

Jennifer Kabbany describes what young people got from their vote for Democrats over at the College Fix.

She writes:

Young America’s Foundation released its annual “Youth Misery Index” findings today, and the news is not good for young people – the index has hit an all-time record high.

The foundation calculates the index by adding youth unemployment, student loan debt, and national debt (per capita) figures, and it found “young people are experiencing hardships like never before under the Obama administration, and this generation is especially suffering the consequences of this administration’s leftist policies.”

For 2014, youth unemployment sat at 18.1 percent, student loan debt came in at $30,000, and national debt per capita was the highest ever at $58,437. The foundation tallied that all up for a Youth Misery Index of 106.5. That’s far above the 2013 figure of 98.6, when the foundation added 16.3, which represented youth unemployment, with 29.4 – the average 4-year college loan debt – and 52.9, each person’s national debt burden.

“The government is largely responsible for all three problems, and we’ve found a statistically significant relationship between government expenditures and the Youth Misery Index,” the foundation states. “Each indicator can be tied to government actions.”

While the index has steadily grown over the decades, under Obama the figure has shot up dramatically.

In 2012 it was 95.1, and the year before that 90.6. When Obama first took office in 2009, it was 83.5. When President George Bush left office in 2008 – the index was 69.3. When the figure debuted in 1993, it came in at 53.1.

“Young people will be stuck paying for government debt they had no part in creating, and they’ll have to do it with less discretionary income than ever before because of record high levels of student loan debt,” the foundation stated.

If interest rates go up, it will get even worse. Interest on loans will make it harder for them to buy houses and cars. Their students loans will cost more. And the government will have to dedicate a lot more money to making payments on the national debt – leaving less money for other expenditures. Taxes might have to go up to pay for the payments on the debt. Whether they raised income, sales or property taxes, it’s bad news for young people trying to get on with their lives.

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