The Forgotten Soldier: U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua A. Berry

Below, you will find an emotionally gripping video of U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua A. Berry, who was injured in the deadly 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

Judicial Watch today announced it filed a lawsuit on behalf of Howard M. Berry, the father of the late U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua A. Berry, against the Secretaries of Defense and Army to award the Purple Heart to Sgt. Berry for injuries sustained in the 2009 international terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas (Howard M. Berry v. Ryan D. McCarthy, Acting Secretary of the Army and James Mattis, Secretary of Defense (No. 1:17-cv-02112)).

U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua A. Berry (left)

Judicial Watch points out:

Following the Fort Hood attack, the Secretary of Defense declined to recognize the mass shooting as an international terrorist attack against the United States. Instead, the attack was characterized as “workplace violence.” As a result, active duty servicemembers injured in the attack were ineligible for the Purple Heart, among other awards and benefits.

In response, Congress enacted legislation in 2014 mandating that servicemembers killed or wounded in an attack targeting members of the armed forces and carried out by an individual in communication with and inspired or motivated by a foreign terrorist organization be eligible for the Purple Heart….

The new lawsuit describes how Sgt. Berry was injured during the Ft. Hood terrorist attack:

On November 5, 2009, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan (“Hasan”) opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing thirteen people and injuring more than 30 servicemembers and civilians. Sgt. Berry was among the servicemembers injured in the attack. Sgt. Berry was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery, at Fort Hood. He had deployed to Afghanistan for approximately a year in June 2008 and was at Fort Hood as part of a transition program following his return from deployment. He was one of the last soldiers awaiting redeployment to Fort Knox at the time of the attack.

The briefing room in Building 42004 had a set of metal double doors leading to the outside. In witness statements given to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command (“CID”) and in a separate statement given to a Texas Ranger, Sgt. Berry estimated that Hasan fired 30-40 rounds outside Building 42004. Sgt. Berry told those around him to get down on the floor and stay away from the doors and windows. When Sgt. Berry heard gunshots hit the metal doors near him, he leaped over a desk to take cover and, in so doing, dislocated his left shoulder. He then heard Hasan trying to kick in the doors. According to a witness statement from another individual, Hasan fired three rounds at the briefing room doors.

Investigative photographs and sketches of the SRP center show the layout of buildings and the location of shell casings from the shots fired by Hasan. The photographs and sketches show a number of shell casings around the metal doors of the briefing room where Sgt. Berry was located during the shooting.

Following the attack, Sgt. Berry was admitted to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009, where his dislocated shoulder was surgically repaired.

The attending physician who admitted Sgt. Berry found that Sgt. Berry’s injury occurred during the mass shooting at the SRP center.

Sgt. Berry’s commander found the injury to have been incurred in the line of duty and documented that Sgt. Berry was a casualty of the mass shooting at the SRP center.

On November 6, 2009, Sgt. Berry was entered into the U.S. Army casualty reporting system with a diagnosis of shoulder dislocation as a result of the mass shooting at the SRP center.

A photograph of Sgt. Berry meeting with President Barack Obama at a November 10, 2009 memorial service at Fort Hood, included herewith as Exhibit A, shows Sgt. Berry’s left

arm in a sling.

By memorandum dated December 7, 2009, the Fort Hood Installation Adjutant General confirmed that Sgt. Berry’s shoulder dislocation occurred in the line of duty.

CID, the Texas Rangers, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a joint investigation of the shooting and subsequently found probable cause to believe Hasan committed the offense of attempted murder when he fired at Sgt. Berry.

On May 2, 2011, a Physical Evaluation Board found Sgt. Berry unfit for continued military service due to post-traumatic stress disorder, the shoulder injury received in the Fort Hood shooting, and degenerative arthritis of the spine. It recommended a combined disability rating of 80%.

On May 31, 2011, Sgt. Berry was released from active duty and placed on the temporary disability retired list.

On February 13, 2013, Sgt. Berry committed suicide. He was 36 years old. Sgt. Berry is survived by Plaintiff and a now 7-year old daughter.

At his August 2013 court martial, Hasan admitted to being influenced by Anwar Awlaki, chief propagandist for the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist group.

On February 6, 2015, the Secretary of the Army announced that the Fort Hood attack met the criteria for awards of the Purple Heart. In its review of the mass shooting, the Army found sufficient evidence to conclude Hasan “was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack,” and that his radicalization and subsequent acts could be considered to have been “inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization.”

The U.S. Army Decorations Board denied Mr. Berry’s application, for a posthumous award of the Purple Heart to his son. In April 2015, the Army awarded the Purple Heart to 47 service members injured in the Fort Hood attack. Sgt. Berry was not among them.

On April 17, 2016, a three-member panel of the Army Board for Correction of Military Records recommended that all Army records concerning Sgt. Berry be corrected by awarding Sgt. Berry the Purple Heart. The panel found “[t]here is no question that [Sgt. Berry]’s injury met the basic medical criteria for award of the [Purple Heart].”

In the lawsuit, Judicial Watch asks the court to declare the Secretary of the Army’s October 28, 2016, decision to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accordance with the law; to declare that the denial of Berry’s application was unsupported by evidence; and to prevent the Army from continuing to deny Sgt. Berry a Purple Heart.

“Sgt. Berry deserves the Purple Heart and the bureaucracy should stop obstructing his just cause,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Frankly, we can’t imagine that President Trump, President Obama or Secretary Mattis would disagree that Sgt. Berry should be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained during the Ft. Hood attack.”

Trump Administration Cites MS-13 Arrest to Push Change in Minor Immigrant Law

The Trump administration is pointing to a large federal roundup of members of the violent gang MS-13 as vindication of increased enforcement efforts and reason to change the policy on unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants.

The Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security announced a joint effort that led to the arrest of 214 gang members and those involved with gang-related crime.

MS-13 is an international criminal gang that spread throughout Central America into the United States—in largely urban centers such as Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, and into Toronto, Canada. The organization’s motto is “mata, viola, controla,” which means, “kill, rape, control.”

Of the 214, just 16 were U.S. citizens while 198 were foreign nationals. Of the foreign nationals, only five were in the country legally. Among those arrested, 64 entered the country as unaccompanied alien children, but most are now adults, according to the Trump administration.

During a press conference Thursday announcing the arrests, Tom Homan, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, noted the 2008 law on unaccompanied minors does not allow them to be immediately returned to their country of origin.

“The agencies sent up a series of policy requests to the Hill to address a lot of issues to further control the border and illegal immigration,” Homan said. “Some of these policies are being exploited and used by criminal organizations. That’s why that’s one of the policy issues we asked Congress to look at and help us with.”

The multi-state, multi-federal agency program was called “Operation Raging Bull.”

The current law states that unaccompanied minors from countries other than Canada or Mexico aren’t subject to expedited removal, but the minors are promptly released into the United States upon arrival at the border. The Department of Homeland Security transfers custody to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement within 72 hours. That office must promptly release the minor to relatives or other sponsors, according to the White House. In some cases, the sponsors were criminals who abused law.

Of the total immigration hearings for unaccompanied minors that came to the United States between 2014 and 2016, 12,977 cases out of 31,091 completed ended in removal, according to a Congressional Research Service report in January. Out of those removals, 11,528, or 89 percent, did not show up for their hearing to make their case against removal proceedings, and often remained in the country.

Also, more than half of the unaccompanied minors that came into the United States in 2014 and 2015 were 16 or 17 years old, according to the Government Accountability Office in a February 2016 report.

Out of the 214 arrested, 93 were charged with crimes including murder, aggravated robbery, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, narcotics possession, firearms offenses, domestic violence, assault, forgery, drunken driving, and illegal entry/re-entry. The remaining 121 were arrested on administrative immigration violations, according to the Justice Department.

“With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the United States today,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to reduce crime and take down transnational criminal organizations, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of these objectives. That’s why I have ordered our drug trafficking task forces to use every law available to arrest, prosecute, convict, and defund MS-13. And we are getting results.”

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Victor Fuentes, 20, of West Palm Beach, making his first appearance at the Palm Beach County jail. Law enforcement says he is part of the gang MS-13 and is facing two first-degree murder and two robbery with a firearm charges. (Photo: Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post /Newscom)

VIDEO: Why Amnesty Should Not Be Part of any ‘Deal’ on DACA

Talk of amnesty deals are making the rounds again in Washington. Here’s what you need to know.

Apparently, the battles over tax reform, Obamacare, and the looming spending bill aren’t enough to keep Congress busy. There are increasing rumblings that some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for ways to give legal status to illegal aliens currently in the United States.

When President Donald Trump was candidate Trump, he promised that if elected he would end the program known as DACA—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that gave legal status to illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as minors.

The program was one of President Barack Obama’s most famous and arguably unconstitutional runs around Congress. He couldn’t get lawmakers to do what he wanted so he took it upon himself to create a new law via unilateral executive action.

Not exactly what the Framers likely had in mind if you read Articles I and II of the Constitution on the roles of the legislative and executive branches of government.

Which is why the Trump administration’s Department of Justice was absolutely right earlier this year to announce a six-month wind-down of the program with an end date next March. And because Congress, not the president, has the power to make or alter our laws, the ball is now back in its court.

Unfortunately, the only actions many in Congress seem interested in taking when it comes to immigration reform are the tried and true failed policies of the past.

Give amnesty now to those here illegally with a promise of later securing the border and doing the hard work to improve our country’s immigration system.

Democrats are threatening to shut down the government if so-called “Dreamers” aren’t given a “pathway to citizenship” in the end-of-year spending bill Congress must pass in early December.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are also considering various legislative amnesties, including a Senate proposal dubbed SUCCEED, the Solution for Undocumented Children Through Careers, Employment, Education, and Defending Our Nation Act.

Here’s the deal: Whether it’s granting amnesty outright—as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a host of other Democrats want to do—or whether it’s granting amnesty to those here illegally if they agree to jump through some additional loopholes, it’s still amnesty and it is still unfair to the millions of people trying to come here legally.

And, oh, by the way, it does not solve our illegal immigration problem. History and previous flawed actions by Congress prove it makes it worse.

We tried in 1986 when we gave legal status, supposedly a one-time deal, to 2.7 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S. Fast forward to 2017, and we have 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants now living here.

And all the border security and serious enforcement measures promised in 1986 that were going to come later? They never materialized.

More recently, there was the surge in illegal border crossings during Obama’s second term as the president handed out promises of amnesty through executive orders and his administration did little to enforce our immigration laws.

Proponents of amnesty and those who don’t want to do the hard work of real immigration reform are likely to dangle smaller and unpopular measures like getting rid of diversity visas in exchange for granting amnesty to the DACA population.

There’s no doubt that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program needs to go, but we shouldn’t trade one bad policy for another.

The same goes for debates over family, or what is popularly referred to as chain migration, workplace visa programs, sanctuary cities, border security measures, and how to improve the legal immigration process itself. All of these policies should be debated on their individual merits and whether they benefit America.

Immigration, both legal and illegal, impacts our country’s culture, economy, and security.

Some in Congress may be tempted to play “let’s make a deal” on amnesty and pretend they are doing something about our broken immigration system.

It’s time lawmakers know that game is over.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Genevieve Wood

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve. Twitter: .

Look Ahead in the Middle East: 6-12 Months in a Crystal Ball

Is it Utopia or Reality?

By Wallace Bruschweiler and William Palumbo

The purpose of this article is to examine the current and rapidly developing trends in the Middle East, and attempt to project likely scenarios in the near to middle-term future.  Only time will tell if what we are projecting as possible is a utopia, or will in fact become reality.

Background

In June 2009, then U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama went to Cairo and delivered a speech at Cairo University.  It was co-hosted by Al-Azhar University, the preeminent theological seminary in the Islamic world.  Observing this speech from the front rows – specifically requested by Obama – were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the umbrella organization of Islamic terror, from which groups like Al Qaeda, the Abu Sayaff Group, and ISIS are ultimately derived.

This speech, entitled “A New Beginning,” was the thematic basis for the Obama presidency.  Ultimately, the administration would back the Muslim Brotherhood (and other, aligned terrorists groups) in the so-called Arab Spring to overthrow the existing governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya (while ignoring a genuine uprising in 2009 in Iran, see here).  Syria and Jordan were also targets of these Arab Spring uprisings.  Fast-forward to 2015, and the Obama administration had completed what they consider their crowning foreign policy achievement: a “nuclear deal” with Iran, that the administration claimed would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the requisite rocket technology to deliver the warheads.  In praxis, however, the deal legitimized Iran internationally, increased their regional prestige, and emboldened their territorial ambitions – see Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

The net-net result of Obama’s backing of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist regime in Tehran was a reckoning between several regional powers who had, and have, an interest in containing Iranian influence.  In particular, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia – notably, all historically American allies – are coordinating and acting to check the expansion of Iranian power while simultaneously attempting to contain the spread of terrorism, which routinely reaches the shores of Europe and America.  Moreover, the struggle today largely breaks down into a Sunni (led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia) vs. Shiite (led by Iran) confrontation.

Saudi Arabia

Probably the most visible and promising changes to the region are happening in Saudi Arabia, under the rule of its young and reform-minded Prince, Mohammed bin Sultan (aka “MBS”).

When President Donald Trump traveled to Riyadh on his first-ever trip abroad, he famously placed his hands on a glowing purple globe, alongside King Salman and President el-Sisi of Egypt.  At the time, the symbolism was not completely understood.  Today, however, we can put it simply: with that act of pageantry, he signaled to the world that he would reverse Obama’s failed “diplomacy” and embrace the new alliance that had already formed.  In recent weeks, evidence is overwhelming:

  • Saudi Arabia and Israel regularly and routinely share intelligence on their mutual enemy, Iran. This level of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel is truly revolutionary, to say the least, for the region.
  • Last week, Israel and Saudi Arabia co-sponsored a resolution in, yes, the United Nations condemning the human rights abuses in Iran and Syria.
  • The Chief of Staff of Israel’s IDF granted an unprecedented interview to a Saudi newspaper, identifying Iran as the region’s chief troublemaker, and declaring officially the willingness of Israel to share intelligence.
  • In a truly stunning development on Friday, Saudi Arabia publicly announced they would compensate Israel $1 billion plus to strike Hezbollah as quickly as possible in southern Lebanon. This follows the departure of Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, for his native Saudi Arabia.  In the meantime, he flew with his family to Paris, France on the invitation of President Macron.
  • Finally, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the top Saudi cleric just “issued a ruling forbidding war against the Jews and proclaiming that Hamas a terrorist group.”

Israel

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu undoubtedly recognizes the historical import of the moment, as the Arab world, led by Saudi Arabia, seems likely to reach a lasting peace with the Jewish state.  The opportunity also presents a unique chance to finally settle the Palestinian problem in Judea and Sumaria (i.e., West Bank).

In addition to the developments above, Israeli policy can be observed through the lens of the following events and trends:

  • Sandwiched between Hezbollah in the north (in Lebanon) and Hamas to the south (in Gaza), Israel is working with its Arab allies to root out the terrorists on its borders (see proposed Saudi action above).
  • Since assuming the Presidency in Egypt, el-Sisi has been coordinating intelligence and military operations with Israel in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is expected to take the lead in “cleaning” out Hamas (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood) from Gaza.
  • The political fate of Judea and Sumaria remain the most significant obstacle to long-term peace between Israel and the Arab States. Recent Saudi-led initiatives signal an eagerness to finally settle this challenge.
    • Polling suggests that a majority of Israeli Arabs do not want to live in a Palestinian state.
    • A potential solution could take this form: recognition of a Palestinian federation in Judea and Samaria and localized rule for the Arabs, with input and assistance from Jordan. On the other hand, the IDF would be responsible for security in the Jordan Valley.
    • Resolution of this issue could realistically enable normal diplomatic relations between Israel and the Gulf States, ending nearly 70 years of political turmoil and unpredictability.

Egypt

As president of the most populous Arab country, el-Sisi has led the calls for reform of Islam since his coming into power.  Not only did he call out the Imams at Al-Azhar for promoting murder of non-Muslims, but he has remained dedicated to eradicating the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence within Egypt.  In conjunction with aggressive military operations against neighboring terrorists, this puts el-Sisi in a serious security dilemma.

  • In neighboring Libya, Egypt leads ongoing airstrikes against Islamist militias including ISIS, which are leftovers from Syria and Iraq. This has the added benefit of stemming the so-called “refugee” flow into southern Europe (Italy and Greece).
  • As mentioned above, Egypt and Israel are cleaning out the northern Sinai, a route through which weapons flow into Gaza.
  • El-Sisi’s hardline stance against the entrenched Muslim Brotherhood, combined with his friendly and cooperative stance with Israel, put him at high risk of assassination. One merely must recall the price that Anwar al-Sadat paid for his visit to Jerusalem and 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has, for decades, worked with Israeli and western security services.  King Abdullah Hussein of Jordan, a western-educated Arab ruler who dresses in a suit, faces an extremely delicate internal political situation.  The Muslim Brotherhood, and lately Hamas, are powerfully represented in Jordan’s government, and as such the King’s friendly stance with Israel is muted out of concern for domestic unrest.

  • Palestinians, who are actually Arab Jordanians, have significant political sympathy within Jordan. This, despite the fact that Abdullah’s father, King Hussein, killed thousands of Palestinians aligned with the PLO during the “Black September” operation (1970-71).
  • Security in the West Bank is as much a concern to Jordan as it is to Israel. Therefore, resolution on this issue is very much in the interest of Jordan.
  • With terrorists in his government, King Abdullah faces a challenging personal security situation, similar to President el-Sisi. It is not unlikely that he may be targeted for assassination, like his own great-grandfather Abdullah I.

Yemen

Yemen, to Saudi Arabia’s south, is in the midst of a civil war/insurrection.  The Houthi rebels, located in former North Yemen, are being armed by Iran.  Tensions escalated with Riyadh when a second rocket was fired at King Khalid airport from Yemen.

  • Due to their border to the south, the Saudis view Yemen as the primary proxy war with Iran.
  • Does the future of Yemen look like its past? Will Yemen again break into North and South, with Aden as the capital of North Yemen and Saana the capital of South Yemen?  This potential outcome is consistent with a broader trend of secession movements across Europe and the Middle East.

Syria

Bashar al-Assad, with the aid of Russia, remains in control of much of Syria including Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs.  The war will enter its seventh year this January, and Assad will likely remain in control.  Israel and Egypt are not opposed to Assad’s rule, and the Russian footprint means that the territory under government control will not be surrendered.

  • Assad is an Alawite, an ancient people whose culture predates Islam. Although Tehran’s ambition remains a land route through Iraq and Syria directly to the Mediterranean, Assad clearly wishes to remain independent of Iran.
  • To the North, parts of Syria may eventually be ceded to Kurds for the formation of an independent Kurdistan.
  • Although discussed in foreign policy circles, a new Sunni state within Syria would mean Assad surrendering territory that he currently controls. This scenario remains unlikely under present conditions.

Iraq

With Iran-friendly Shiite rule in Baghdad, it is difficult to consider eastern Iraq an independent country.  Iraq is effectively divided into three territories today: a Shiite dominated center east, with Kurds in the North, and Sunnis to the west and south.

  • As ISIS is consistently decimated and systematically cleared from the land, regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia will continue to vie for influence.
  • The Kurds, who control much of Iraq’s oil, are negotiating their independence with Baghdad, although the likely outcome of these negotiations remains murky.
  • Will Baghdad, under firm Iranian influence, remain in nominal control of all of Iraq’s territory? A status quo of this nature would undoubtedly translate into several insurgencies to disrupt Tehran’s influence.
  • Or is the future of Iraq partition – Shiite dominated Baghdad and east, an independent Kurdistan to the north, and the formation of a Sunni state, that includes part of Syria?

Kurdistan

The Arab Spring, the rise and fall of ISIS, and a long and distinct history make the formation of an independent Kurdistan more likely than ever.  The United States should finally step up in this discussion, and back the creation of an independent Kurdistan.

  • The Kurds have been the absolute fiercest fighters against ISIS. Kurdish Peshmerga have aided in the liberation of key cities, including Mosul and Kirkuk.
  • Many Kurds have given their lives to defeat the most barbaric army in modern times. Their justification for the creation of Kurdistan is therefore very compelling.
  • In pursuit of a Kurdish homeland, the Kurds have the unequivocal backing of Israel.
  • The most powerful obstacle to statehood is Ankara, which under Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood President Erdogan seemingly views all Kurds as “terrorists.”

UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain

These tiny Gulf States have effectively lined up firmly behind Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Sultan.  With the exception of Qatar (see below), they are de facto aligned with Egypt and Israel.

  • Bahrain, with a 70% Shiite population, intends regardless to remain independent of Iran’s (Shiite) influence.
  • The United Arab Emirates previously declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and remain dedicated to interrupting financial support to terrorist organizations.
  • Although complicated by internal politics like Jordan (see above), in the years since the Arab Spring, powers within Kuwait are firmly encouraging the recognition of Israel.

Qatar

The outlier on the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar, is defiant in the face of sanctions and diplomatic isolation by the Gulf Cooperation Council.  Qatar’s network Al Jazeera was instrumental in promoting the Arab Spring, and their insistence on maintaining excellent relations with Iran are unacceptable to their Gulf State neighbors.

  • Qatar and Iran share the massive South Pars/North Dome gas field, in the Persian Gulf. This presents a fundamental reason for Qatar to maintain a friendly relationship with Iran.
  • Qatar has welcomed exile terrorist from Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Taliban.
  • To cope with the crippling blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar has moved closer to Turkey and now imports food to keep their population from going hungry.
  • Finally, the United States has thus far appeared reluctant to take sides, as the Al-Udeid Air base near Doha is one of the largest American bases outside the continental United States.
    • This obstacle could be easily overcome by upgrading existing U.S. bases either Saudi Arabia or any other willing country in the Middle East.

Conclusion

Following World War I (1918) and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (1924), the borders of the Middle East were redrawn, largely arbitrarily, creating several nations with natural flash points among and within themselves.  The history of last century in the Middle East is the story of these flash points, resulting from religious, ethnic, and linguistic divides.

An unintended consequence of Barack Hussein Obama’s support for terrorist groups during the Arab Spring, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and the terrorist regime in Iran, is an opportunity for stable allies to force a redrawing of the map.  While a lasting peace remains elusive, it is not altogether unrealistic to expect that one outcome of this turmoil may be the Arab recognition at large of Israel, and the isolation/trimming down to size of Iran and its wide support of international terrorism.

Trump administration threatens to shut down Palestinian office in Washington, D.C.

Unless the “Palestinians” get serious about making peace with Israel. So watch for a massive “War is Deceit” initiative from the “Palestinians” in the coming months.

“Trump Admin Threatens To Shut Down Palestinian Office In DC,” by Jonah Bennett, Daily Caller, November 18, 2017:

The Trump administration said Friday it will shut down the Palestinian Liberation Office (PLO) in Washington, D.C., unless the Palestinians get serious about peace talks with Israel.

The State Department has determined that the PLO has violated a law stating that the PLO cannot push for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israelis. Violation of this law means that the State Department could force the PLO to close its mission, The Associated Press reports.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated in September that the Palestinians have called for the ICC to “open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people.”

Given the PLO’s violation, President Donald Trump has 90 days to assess whether the Palestinians are engaged in meaningful negotiations with Israel. If Trump decides that the negotiations are meaningful, the Palestinians can keep their D.C. office. But if not, the office will be shut down. It’s also possible that the Trump administration could close the office down before the 90-day window, but even if the office is closed, that doesn’t mean peace efforts have collapsed.

Trump’s team has already started working on a plan to bring peace to the Middle East 10 months after taking office. For Trump, achieving peace in that region is the “ultimate deal.” The plan will likely discuss Jerusalem and settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians have expressed some amount of skepticism because of how Trump’s loud, unabashed support for Israel and the fact that several Trump staffers heading the plan are Jews, like Jason D. Greenblatt, chief negotiator, David M. Friedman, ambassador to Israel and Jared Kushner….

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The Podesta Group linked to Mitch McConnell and Jeb Bush

In an October 30, 2017 column titled “The Podesta Group: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know” Heavy.com reported that Kimberley Fritts, who served as the CEO of the Podesta Group for 22 years, was taking over. On November 10, 2017 The Hill reported that Fritts had stepped down to “launch a new firm.”

Why is the former CEO of the Podesta Group Kimberly Fritts so important?

Jeb Bush

Because of her close relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

According to Heavy.com:

Kimberley Fritts, longtime CEO of The Podesta Group, will be put in charge after company co-founder and chairman Tony Podesta stepped down on Monday [October 30th, 2017]. Fritts joined the company in 1995, according to her official bio.

[ … ]

Fritts is former Southern Political Director for the Republican National Committee and has worked for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Senator Connie Mack, both Republicans.

According to NBC News:

The [Russia Probe] indictment, unsealed Monday, refers to “Company A” and “Company B” as the firms Manafort and Gates solicited in 2012 to lobby on behalf of the Ukranian [sic] government. Company A is Mercury Public Affairs and Company B is the Podesta Group, the sources said.

In a Washington Examiner article titled “Podesta Group among two companies anonymously implicated as lobbyists for Ukraine in Paul Manafort indictment” Emily Jashinsky reports:

Paragraph 20 of the indictment, signed by special counsel Robert Mueller, says Gates wrote to Company A [Mercury Public Affairs] in February of 2012 that it would be “representing the Government of Ukraine in [Washington,] DC.” If Company A [Mercury Public Affairs] did not file a FARA disclosure, it likely violated the law.

The indictment, crucially, also claims Gates wrote to both firms in November of 2012 asking them to prepare assessments of their “past and prospective lobbying efforts so the ‘President’ could be briefed by ‘Paul'” on how Ukraine could improve in 2013. Thus, that evidence would also dispute [an] attempt by Company B [The Podesta Group] to argue it was unaware its work was ultimately, if indirectly, on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

According to Politico:

Manafort organized a PR campaign on behalf of a nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Podesta Group was one of several firms that were paid to do work on the PR campaign to promote Ukraine in the U.S.

Senator Mitch McConnell

In a 2013 column Politico reported:

PODESTA GROUP TO HOST MCCONNELL FUNDRAISER: Podesta Group’s Republican brethren are raising a glass and some cash for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). More than a dozen firm lobbyists, including Jim DyerStephen RademakerDavid MarinKimberley FrittsDavid Morgenstern and Mike Quaranta are among those listed as hosts for the Jan. 17 event. Cost to attend: $2,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals.

So now we know that while the Ukrainian lobbying effort was ongoing the Podesta Group was hosting a fundraiser for Senator Mitch McConnell attended by Kimberly Fritts and the longtime CEO of the Podesta Group worked for Jeb Bush.

The Russia probe is revealing some very interesting links to high level establishment Republicans.

RELATED ARTICLE: Ryun on Roy Moore: ‘I Strongly, Strongly Suspect’ McConnell Camp ‘Planted Story’

The Military May Soon Get a Long-Needed Boost. Why That’s Good News.

It’s not exactly “Man Bites Dog,” but “Congress Gets Defense Spending Right” is almost as surprising a headline.

For too long now, we’ve been cutting corners when it comes to the military. Years of underfunding have given us a weakened force that, despite the hard work of our brave troops, is ill-equipped to handle the missions we keep throwing at it.

Think the recent spate of ship collisions is a coincidence? Hardly. They’re a red flag—a warning sign we ignore at our peril. That’s what happens when you shortchange our armed forces, and fail to ensure that they have the best training and the best equipment possible.

So when House and Senate leaders released their proposal for a defense spending authorization for 2018, and it not only met but exceeded the amount that Heritage Foundation experts had been recommending, it marked a rare piece of good news from Capitol Hill.

A base funding amount of $634 billion sounds like a lot of money—and it is. But it’s money well spent. Indeed, notes defense expert Thomas Spoehr, it “will go a long way toward beginning the rebuilding of America’s deteriorated military.”

It will do that in large measure by providing increased numbers of aircraft, ships, and ground equipment—all of which, thanks to years of underfunding, is desperately needed.

House and Senate leaders are also calling for increases in the size of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Good thing, too. Each branch needs additional personnel and are at historic lows in terms of manpower.

How low? Consider what the Air Force recently did. It’s facing a shortage of fighter pilots. By year’s end, defense expert John Venable writes in the National Interest, “the service is projected to have fewer than 2,643 of the 3,643 active-duty fighter pilots it needs to execute its mission.”

So President Donald Trump issued an executive order authorizing the secretary of defense to recall up to 1,000 retired Air Force pilots to make up for the shortfall. A good idea, but this is the sort of stopgap measure that the military has been forced to rely on for too long.

Sooner rather than later, Band-Aids won’t work.

In fact, such short-term solutions, however creative, can almost be dangerous. They help the various branches accomplish the mission at hand, and that’s certainly a good thing. But they can mask the serious problems underneath.

It’s like putting duct tape on a crack in a door. It covers up the crack, yes, and it makes things seem fine—for a while. But a problem that’s out of sight doesn’t magically go away. It continues to fester until some emergency down the road forces you to fix it properly.

But by then, it’s metastasized and become more expensive to fix.

By the same token, the underfunding problem that plagues our overworked, overstressed military should have been addressed long ago. But there are no time machines handy, so the only thing we can do is to start fixing it right now.

That’s what the congressional defense authorization bill does. It takes our collective head out of the sand and enables us to get to work.

Mind you, this is just the first step. And it’s not even a step per se—it’s a decision to take that step. But the mere fact that congressional leaders are owning up to the problem and vowing to do something about it is promising.

There is much to follow through on, and Heritage’s research papers have detailed recommendations for each branch. And if our elected leaders need some motivation to get it right, Heritage’s 2018 Index of U.S. Military Strength also outlines the growing threats around the globe.

There are many things we can afford to do cheaply. Defense isn’t one of them. Let’s make sure we get this right.

Originally published by The Washington Times.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ed Feulner

Edwin J. Feulner’s 36 years of leadership as president of The Heritage Foundation transformed the think tank from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas. Read his research. Twitter: .

Karl Lagerfeld: ‘One cannot — even if there are decades between them — kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place’

Thank you, Karl Lagerfeld. I’ll be wearing more Chanel solidarity.

Karl Lagerfeld said what rational Europeans are thinking but are too afraid to articulate it because they will be brought up on sharia-based hate speech charges.

Lagerfeld echoed what I have said it many times, Europe exterminated its six million Jews only to import 20 million Jew haters. Its exactly what they did — being a Jew in Europe today is treacherous largely due to the Muslim invasion and its accompanying Islamic Jew-hatred.

Calling Angela Merkel, “the wicked stepmother after the Greek crisis,” he attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for opening the country’s borders to migrants.

The only people who are outraged are the conquerors and the conquered. The truth elicited howls from the left/Islamic axis like the cross the Dracula.

LAGERFELD SPARKS FURY OVER MIGRANTS HOLOCAUST COMMENTS

AFP 

Paris (AFP) – Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has sparked outrage by evoking the Holocaust as he attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for opening the country’s borders to migrants.

“One cannot — even if there are decades between them — kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” he told a French television show.

“I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said, ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,’” he added.

Who said this? The Muslim migrant Jew jater?

Or the German Nazi Jew hater? Either way – it indicts the Germans.

Several hundred people lodged official complaints about Lagerfeld’s comments, the French media regulator said Monday after he appeared on the “Salut les terriens!” (Hello Earthlings!) talkshow on the C8 channel on Saturday.

The veteran Chanel designer, who was born in Hamburg just as Adolf Hitler came to power, had earlierlambasted Merkel for taking more than one million asylum seekers since the migrant crisis of 2015.

“Merkel had already millions and millions (of immigrants) who are well integrated and who work and all is well… she had no need to take another million to improve her image as the wicked stepmother after the Greek crisis,” said Lagerfeld.

“Suddenly we see the pastor’s daughter,” he said in reference to Merkel’s father, who was a Protestant minister in the former East Germany.

Lagerfeld, who is rarely afraid of controversy, said he was going to “say something horrific” before criticising the chancellor for the “huge error” of accepting so many refugees from war-torn Syria and elsewhere.

“Look at France, the land of human rights, which has taken, I don’t know, 10,000 or 20,000,” he added.

The French TV regulator, the CSA, said it had received several hundred complaints over the weekend about Lagerfeld’s comment, and was looking at the programme.

The designer was roasted for the outburst on social media, although some users also came to his defence.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here.

President Trump ends Obama’s illegal Central American Minors program

Do you remember the program the Obama State Department created out of whole cloth in 2014 when it took it upon itself to write refugee law without the Congress?

It was called Central American Minors or CAM for short and was supposed to help the minors escaping poverty and gangs in Central America get into the U.S. as refugees so they wouldn’t get hurt sneaking across the border as they had been doing by the tens of thousands.

Obama’s State Department created the program so that the invading “children” wouldn’t get hurt or exploited trying to get to America on the “Beast Train” or on foot.

The program had a couple of major flaws—first is that the kids were hard-pressed to show they were legitimate refugees fearing persecution and secondly, the parent filing the application in the US had to prove they were here legally (oopsy!).

The good news is that CAM has been canned at the Dept. of State as of November 9th!

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department will stop accepting new applications at midnight on Thursday for a program that allowed children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status in the United States before leaving home.

President Donald Trump’s administration told Congress in September it would phase out the Central American Minors (CAM) program during fiscal year 2018, which began on Oct. 1.

New applications will not be accepted after 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday (0459 GMT on Friday), the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday night.

The CAM program started at the end of 2014 under former President Barack Obama as a response to tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum in the United States.

Continue here where Reuters says that 1,500 kids got in out of 13,000 applications (imagine what that must have cost taxpayers to process 13,000 applications!).

For more, search RRW for ‘Unaccompanied minors’ or ‘Unaccompanied alien children.’

RELATED ARTICLES: 

EU officials: ISIS has been wiped out in Syria, time for refugees to go home

US Bishops lambast Trump over closure of Central American Minors program

Afghan refugee charged with murder not an “unaccompanied minor” as he claimed

German teacher says Islamist ideology making teaching Muslim refugees impossible

The Real Scandal in the Alabama Senate Race [Video]

Scandals take many forms. If you could be transported back to antebellum times, for example, would you not find the desire to perpetuate the legal institution of slavery scandalous? This brings us to the Alabama special election to fill Jeff Sessions’ vacant Senate seat, a contest now front-and-center with the recent sex allegations made against GOP hopeful Judge Roy Moore. Moore denies the charges, but there are certain things that can’t be denied.

Democrat Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent, has some noteworthy positions. He’s pro-prenatal infanticide. It’s not a stance he took 40 years ago but has since abandoned, and it doesn’t mean he’s accused of once having kissed an underage girl.

It means he believes in the murder of underage girls — and boys. That’s beyond scandalous.

Jones supports de-facto amnesty, meaning, he wouldn’t even require illegal aliens to return to their home countries before being granted citizenship. This undermines the rule of law and exemplifies the treasonous attitude that subordinates the good of one’s countrymen to the good of invading foreigners — and all because they’ll vote Democrat after being naturalized. Selling out your culture for political power is scandal on steroids.

Jones supports the regulation of carbon dioxide, otherwise known as plant food, because he pushes the dubious global-warmingclimate-change, uh, “global climate disruption” agenda. Since it’s average Americans who’ll pay these regulations’ costs, this serves to further impoverish the struggling. That’s scandalous.

Jones advocates the unscientific, socially disastrous “transgender” agenda. First, he said President Trump was “wrong, wrong, wrong” to return to the longtime status quo of banning so-called “transgender” people from the military; this means he supports social experimentation in the armed forces.

Second, he also supports allowing boys masquerading as girls to use girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. In fact, he said that Trump’s rescinding of Barack Obama’s school guidance to that effect was “wrong, wrong, wrong!” (Because, you see, when you say that way it makes the other guy three times as wrong.) By the way, below is a video of Jones expressing these sentiments just last month.

Oh, yeah — the above is scandalous, too.

In addition, Jones advocates using taxpayer money to fund fanciful, economically nonviable energy schemes such as solar, wind and thermal energy. Apparently, he’d like to repeat Obama’s “green energy” boondoggles (e.g., Solyndra), which only turned out green in that they wasted 2.2 billion worth of Americans’ greenbacks.

But Jones loves spending other people’s money. While he doesn’t believe in cutting your taxes to spur economic growth, he thinks having government give away your tax money will do so.

Lastly, despite the fact that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, has caused millions of Americans’ healthcare premiums to rise and created co-ops that have collapsed right and left, Jones opposes rescinding the program. Well, no matter. He’ll have great healthcare through the Senate if he wins December 12.

As for the last four positions, some would say calling them scandalous is a stretch, so you can apply your own adjective (stupid comes to mind). And whatever you might prefer for characterizing all his positions, “old” and “repudiated” don’t fit. “Current” sure does, though.

So killing babies, killing the rule of law, killing with regulations, killing tradition and kids’ right to privacy, killing our pocketbooks, killing the economy and killing healthcare (sounds like an alternate-universe Bill O’Reilly book series). In the scandal department, Roy Moore has a long way to go to have a chance of keeping up with the Joneses.

Simply put, Doug Jones is the most scandalous of creatures: a leftist radical who is “wrong, wrong, wrong” on the issues. It’s a wonder he isn’t seeking office in California, New York, Massachusetts or North Korea. Running someone whose positions are so wholly contrary to Alabaman culture is a slap in the face to the state. Is this a political version of Punk’d?

If I lived in Alabama, on December 12 I’d vote for Judge Roy Moore while holding my nose — but only because the stench from Doug Jones’ name would be rising right from the ballot.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

RELATED ARTICLES:

Hey Mitch, 63% Of Alabama Voters Still Support Judge Roy Moore ⋆ WayneDupree.com

Alabama ABC Affiliate Can’t Find One Voter Who Believes WaPo Report About Roy Moore in Man-on-the-Street Segment – Breitbart

An ICE Agent Got Shot 3 Times in Mexico. Now, He’s Looking for Justice.

“Betrayed.”

Victor Avila is a survivor. Soft-spoken but iron-willed, he dedicated his life to law enforcement and to his country.

Yet, the feds are now fighting tooth and nail to bury the full truth about the 2011 ambush by Los Zetas drug cartel thugs in Mexico that left him gravely wounded and his partner, Special Agent Jaime Zapata, dead.

This week, two of the Mexican gangsters convicted in the horror on Highway 57 between Mexico City and Monterrey were sentenced to double life terms in prison.

“HSI Special Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were in Mexico to protect and serve our country when they were ambushed by these ruthless criminals, who will now spend the rest of their lives in a prison cell,” acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco announced on Monday.

“This case serves as a reminder, that if you harm a U.S. agent, the U.S. government will pursue you to the ends of the earth to ensure that you are brought to justice.”

Five others received lesser sentences of 35, 34, 30, 28, and 12 years for murder and attempted murder, which Avila on Tuesday called a “complete and utter disappointment.”

As he described in his victim impact statement, “I was shot in three places and had shrapnel and glass imbedded in my body in too many places to count. Not only did I have to undergo multiple surgeries to remove the bullets and shrapnel and stitch together my shredded muscles and skin, but I also had to learn to walk again.”

Avila’s wife, who also worked for the government, lost her job. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent’s health care costs and other bills related to the attack’s aftermath piled up, leaving the family nearly $200,000 in debt and his wife and two children traumatized.

“To this day, the government has not reimbursed my out-of-pocket expenses related to my work injuries,” he told U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth.

Another disgraceful indignity: This week, the feds refused to cover the Avilas’ $3,000 in travel and lodging costs from Texas to D.C. for the sentencing hearing, but did provide humanitarian parole for several of the Zetas’ family members from Mexico to attend the trial.

Even more disappointing, however, is the callousness of Beltway bureaucrats obstructing the Avilas’ and Zapatas’ search for answers.

The families want to know who ordered the agents to travel through Zetas-infested territory unprotected to pick up equipment from another agent; why their superiors ignored a State Department security warning banning travel by U.S. personnel on Highway 57; and what the Obama administration hid as evidence mounted that the semi-automatic weapons and handguns used in the ambush came from one of its botched gun-walking operations that echoed the infamous and deadly Operation Fast and Furious scheme.

“The significant importance here,” Avila explained on an upcoming episode of my CRTV.com show, “Michelle Malkin Investigates,” is that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “had identified the arms traffickers, had them under surveillance, and had the opportunity to arrest them months before, and did nothing. They still allowed these individuals … the Osorio brothers, to continue trafficking in arms, and allowing the weapons to be walked south into Mexico. Once the weapons went south into Mexico, there is no trace of them. They were long gone. They were lost.”

While the feds have paid lip service to Zapata’s sacrifice and Avila’s courage, their actions have administered a collective slap in the face. The families’ public records requests have been stymied every step of the way.

Not a single Justice Department official has been punished for President Barack Obama’s deadly gun-walking failures. Instead, Avila was ostracized, transferred against his will, and issued a “3R” letter to “resign, retire, or relocate.”

As Avila’s wife, Claudia, told my program:

He had to give up his passion … he loved his job. And the government ended that. I think more than anything we feel betrayed. We feel like complete outcasts … Very unfair. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that Victor was this criminal person that did something very wrong in his line of duty and is being punished for it. I mean, we’re outraged. We’re very disheartened. The government has most definitely turned their back on us. And not only us but the Zapata family. I mean, they lost their son. They’re still trying to find answers; they are overwhelmed.

Where is Congress? Where is President Donald Trump? True justice for the Avila and Zapata families requires full accountability and real consequences—not just for the triggermen but for the crapweasels who enabled them.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the senior editor of Conservative Review. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a FOX News Channel contributor. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

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Atheism and the Texas Church Shooter

“If God does not exist, everything is permitted,” wrote Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov. Mentioning this in association with Devin Patrick Kelley, the militant atheist who last Sunday perpetrated the worst church shooting in U.S. history, is bound to raises hackles. Of course, few atheists will descend into committing murder; in fact, I’ve known some I’d call “good people.” Moreover, note that I myself once not only didn’t believe in God, but like Kelley thought religious people were “stupid.” Yet is it possible a straight line can be drawn between atheism (the belief) and increasing crime and immorality? Ideas do have consequences, after all.

George Washington once wrote, “[L]et us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. …[R]eason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Many great thinkers have expressed the same idea, yet, when it’s related today, the assumption is that what’s being said is atheists can’t be good people. This is both because theists generally don’t explain their position well and atheists generally don’t seek to understand it well; passions run high and the two sides talk past each other. But now I’ll explain exactly what Dostoevsky and Washington meant — in a way making it apparent why it’s an insight that helped bring me, formerly a dismissive unbeliever, to faith.

A very near relation of a close friend I had said to him once, “Murder isn’t wrong; it’s just that society says it is.” I’ve heard this sentiment expressed, in different words, many times. In fact, notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” said to his parents as a teen, “If there’s no God, why can’t I just make up my own rules?”

But here’s the question: What would you say to my friend’s relation? How could you refute him? We could warn, as a painfully legalistic ex-cop once said to me, that committing murder will land him in the pokey. But that doesn’t really address the matter’s heart, does it? We want people doing the “right thing” not just because — and when — they fear consequences. (Atheists emphasize this when criticizing the “fear of God”; note, though, there’s also the love of God.) In fact, we’ve staked our whole republic on people’s ability to, in a great measure, govern themselves from within.

I know what I can say to the man. On the surface it sounds simplistic: “You’re wrong, because God exists and has created eternal, unchanging moral law — it’s called Truth.”

Now, my friend’s relation could disagree with my proposition (God exists), but he can’t dispute my logic. If God exists and has decreed the relevant moral law, the man is wrong. Yet what can an atheist tell him? For if the atheist’s proposition that there is no God is correct, the man is correct: Society is all that’s left, so it could only be society saying “Murder is wrong.”

To fully grasp this belief’s implications, we must delve into the nature of right and wrong. If society is all there is and “Man is the measure of all things,” as ancient Greek Protagoras put it, can we even speak of “morality”? Consider my standard explanation:

If we learned that the vast majority of the world loved chocolate but hated vanilla, would we claim this made vanilla “wrong” or “evil”? Of course not. It’s just a matter of taste, or human preference. Yet how is it any different asserting murder is “wrong” or “evil” if the only reason we do so is that we learn that the vast majority of the world hates the idea of killing others in a way the vast majority of the world considers unjust?

If man’s consensus is all it is, then it falls into the same category as flavors: human preference.

Some may now say, “But wait, we’re not talking about killing my taste buds but killing people! It’s a totally different thing!” I don’t argue it doesn’t feel different (to all but sociopaths), but remember that the idea this should put murder in a different category would, under atheism, also just be a function of man’s preference.

This is irrefutable. The only way we can say “morality” properly defined — not as something synonymous with man’s preference, in other words — truly exists is if it’s a universal, eternal, unchanging moral law handed down by an omnipotent, omniscient Creator of the Universe; that is, if, just as God created Physical Reality (matter and the “laws of physics”), He also created Moral Reality.

And if God doesn’t exist? Then we should stop fooling ourselves and putting lipstick on the pig of mere preference. Stop using words such as “values” (prevalent now precisely because “morality” connotes something absolute), designed to obscure atheism’s meaninglessness. Like my friend’s relation and Dahmer, just accept that right and wrong is illusion.

This brings us to the true meaning of “You can’t be moral without God”: If divine law isn’t real, no one can be “moral” because you cannot conform to a non-existent standard. “Moral” is as incomprehensible a term in a universe without Truth as “physical” would be in one without matter. So if God doesn’t exist, neither atheists nor theists can be moral — only in or out of fashion.

So the reality, my atheist friends should note, is that embracing any moral is a matter of faith. We cannot see a moral under a microscope or a principle in a Petri dish. Science cannot prove murder (or anything else) is wrong — only possible. For science merely tells us what we can do, not what we should.

People generally don’t come to terms with these implications of atheism because most don’t take their world view to its logical conclusion; many also wouldn’t want to, for it means staring true meaninglessness in the face. It means that all the causes moderns fill their lives with are mere vanity. Tolerance can’t be better than intolerance, love better than hate, or respect for life better than murder in a godless, Moral-Truth-bereft world.

Then again, consistency can’t be better than hypocrisy, pretense better than sincerity, or fairness better than imposing one’s will, either. Thus, someone who has thought these things through and accepted atheism’s correlative moral nihilism may push his agenda simply because he wants to. As with atheist’s atheist Friedrich Nietzsche, he may blithely accept his own contradictions, boiling his creed down to occultist Aleister Crowley’s maxim, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

By the way, this may explain studies showing that sociopaths have above-average intelligence. Perhaps they’re people smart enough to think these matters through, but unwise enough to come to the wrong conclusion (God doesn’t exist, thus Truth doesn’t exist, therefore right and wrong doesn’t exist). For certain is that if you accepted this parenthetical proposition intellectually — and incorporated it into yourself on an emotional level so that it permeated not just your head but your heart — you would be a sociopath. You wouldn’t have a conscience because you’d know, and feel, that there was nothing to be conscientious about.

Of course, almost no atheist so thoroughly imbibes that proposition; most have strong feelings about various trespasses (real and imagined). So not every atheist becomes a reprobate any more than every Muslim becomes a terrorist or every Nazi a genocidal maniac. But ideas have consequences. Atheism, just like misguided theism (e.g., Islam), is destructive.

This may take a dark form or just that of the atheistic but generally good-hearted young man I once knew who responded, when I mentioned that something he was contemplating was wrong, “But it’s not wrong for me.” The point, however, is that atheism’s implied moral nihilism can justify anything. Rape? Kill? Steal? Why not? Who’s to say it’s wrong? This brings us to one last matter.

When someone points out that atheistic Marxist governments have killed 65 to 110 million people, atheists will often retort, “But atheism doesn’t prescribe that!” They’re correct. Atheism doesn’t prescribe any behavior.

It also doesn’t proscribe any behavior.

And that’s the problem. Silence on moral matters would be fine if man by (fallen) nature were angelic. But by (fallen) nature he’s barbaric — and he remains so unless some civilizing agency enters the equation. Atheism’s mistake is one of omission.

This is why Dostoevsky, Dahmer and Washington were right: “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” Ideas have consequences. Be careful what you believe — and what you espouse.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

RELATED ARTICLE: The New Atheism and Five Arguments for God – William Lane Craig

RELATED VIDEO: Robert Lawrence Kuhn (host of PBS’ “Closer to Truth”) asks philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig about whether God’s existence can be demonstrated or not.

EDITORS NOTE: The feature image of a Texas church is by W. Gooden / Pixabay.

The Heart of a Warrior

Ninety-nine years ago today, when Americans celebrated the end of World War I, people hoped it would be the war that ended all wars. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. Since that first Veterans’ Day, hundreds of thousands of brave men and women have worn the uniforms of the United States military in defense — not just of our liberty — but of the liberties of countless nations and people around the world. In peacetime and in war, our soldiers have missed birthdays, Christmases, and other memories with their families in order to protect ours.

Every night of every day, Americans sleep in peace because of men and women they’ve never met — and some they’ll never have the chance to. These are good and decent people who’ve performed remarkable acts of heroism for a cause they’ve decided is bigger than themselves. This year, they have the honor of serving under a commander-in-chief who respects the selflessness of our military and is doing everything he can to show it through policies that rebuild the proud tradition of their service. We join them in thanking the president for showing the courageous leadership our military needs to put their mission first.

From the Greatest Generation to the troops serving today in posts all over the world, we are profoundly grateful to so many of you who have dedicated your lives — and the lives of your families — to preserving America’s ideals. As a veteran of the Marine Corps, I thank God that our nation has been blessed with an effective, dedicated force that’s freed the world from some of history’s fiercest enemies. There were no guarantees in 1776 that America would make it to 2017 as a free nation. That freedom had to be protected every day by courageous citizens, who often pay the ultimate price. Today, we honor that sacrifice — and pray God’s protection on the red, white, and blue.

NOTE: Don’t miss the Federalist column by FRC’s Travis Weber, a former Navy pilot, who thinks the courts should celebrate Veterans Day by respecting their memorials. Check it out here.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the November 10 Washington Update:

A Taxing Week for Republicans

Strategic Partners for the New Year!

Diversity Visa Lottery: A Game of ‘Russian Roulette’

American sovereignty and security dismantled under the guise of “diversity.”

On Tuesday, October 31, 2017 New York City suffered a deadly terror attack on a well-known and heavily used bike path in lower Manhattan, just blocks from what, in the wake of the terror attacks of 9/11, had come to be known as “Ground Zero.”

The perpetrator of this heinous savage attack is a 29-year-old citizen of Uzbekistan, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who reportedly legally immigrated to the United States in 2010 subsequent to winning the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Consequently, attention immediately turned to the Diversity Visa Program that annually enables approximately 50,000 aliens annually to enter the United States as lawful immigrants.

Aliens who participate in this visa lottery are citizens of countries that send the United States the smallest number of lawful immigrants.  These aliens do not need to possess any special skills or abilities and do not need to have any family ties to the United States.

There is no application fee for this category of immigrant visa. Under this program apparently being “diverse” is all that matters. This does absolutely nothing to benefit America or Americans and therefore must be terminated.

The State Department provides a table for Fiscal Years 2007-2016 for “Immigrant Number Use for Visa Issuances and Adjustments of Status in the Diversity Immigrant Category.”

Clearly, more than 16 years after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the “All Clear” has not sounded and the “War on Terror” continues on as more innocent victims are slaughtered.  Nevertheless, there are members of Congress who have recently questioned the legal authority known as AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists) being used by President Trump to deploy members of the U.S. Armed Forces to wage war against ISIS, Al Qaeda and related deadly terrorist organizations. AUMF was passed by Congress just days after the attacks of 9/11.

Ironically, the latest deadly terror attack in New York City was carried out even as some members of Congress were publicly questioning AUMF, incredibly complaining that it gives President Trump too much discretion to deploy our armed forces to fight terrorist organizations that seek to kill as many Americans as possible, especially within our own borders.

Those politicians must not have gotten the memo that wars and armed conflicts do not end because leaders unilaterally wish that the wars or conflicts would end.  Wars only end when both sides agree to a cease-fire or a more permanent solution is reached.  Peace can only be achieved when the aggressors are forced to cease hostile actions.  Invariably, this requires the demonstration of unwavering resolve.  This requires the use, or threat of use, of overwhelming force.

The United States has no alternative.

Under the leadership of the Trump administration Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban and other related terror organizations are facing military pressure that is forcing them out of their strongholds in Syria, but they are not laying down their arms.  Instead they are dispersing around the world determined to use terrorism as a means of continuing the battles within the borders of other countries.

The United States is the country that terrorists are most determined to attack. The borders of the United States are our first line of defense and last line of defense against these savage terrorists.

It is therefore more than a little ironic that, while the administration’s plans to construct a secure wall also the U.S./Mexican border are denounced by many political “leaders,” just two days after this latest deadly terror attack in Manhattan NBC News reported that New York City is installing barrier walls along the west side highway bike path.

That wall to protect the bike path is, however, largely cosmetic. It will do nothing to stop terrorists from ramming vehicles into pedestrians crossing intersections or walking on sidewalks throughout New York City

A wall on the border, however, would constitute a significant element of what needs to be a cohesive and coordinated strategy to prevent the entry of terrorists, criminals and contraband into the United States.

In point of fact, the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel detailed numerous instances where terrorists made use of visa and immigration benefit fraud to enter the United States also to embed themselves in the United States.

Page 54 contained this excerpt under the title “3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot.”

Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.

In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.

Intensifying efforts to maintain so-called “sanctuary cities” hobble efforts to enforce our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States and thus are Ignoring the 9/11 Commission warnings.

Additionally, President Trump’s executive order to prevent terrorists from entering the United States which has come to be referred to as the “Travel Ban” is actually known as the Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.

The courts, including the Supreme Court, has block the implementation of President Trump’s Executive Order which parallels existing federal law, Section (f) of 8 U.S. Code § 1182, and has been invoked by prior Presidents including Carter, Bush (43) and Obama.

The war on terror has multiple fronts. To win we must fight the war on terror here, there and everywhere.

Furthermore, where the entry of international terrorists into the United States is concerned, since the attacks of 9/11 other terrorists have also entered with a variety of visas.

To mention just two of many such instances, consider the San Bernardino terror attack perpetrated by Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.  Farook was an native-born American whose parents came to the United States from Pakistan.  Malik was born in Saudi Arabia, moved to Pakistan and then was granted a K-1 fiancé visa pursuant an application filed by Farook.

On December 2, 2015 they carried out a savage terror attack which resulted in the slaughter of 14 innocent victims and the wounding of 22 more victims.  It is theorized that she may have radicalized her husband.

The Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the deadly terror attack at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, had entered the United States with their family and were subsequently granted political asylum which then enabled them to acquire lawful immigrant status. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving younger of the two brothers has been convicted for his crimes and has been sentenced to be executed.  He became a naturalized citizen shortly before the attacks.  Applicants for naturalization are supposed to undergo a Good Moral Character investigation. Clearly this vetting process failed.

Indeed, there are numerous failures of the immigration system that, although were identified by the 9/11 Commission, have yet to be effectively addressed.

Ironically, just a couple of weeks before the latest attack, my article Homeland Security Uncovers Massive Immigration Failures that focused on two DHS Inspector General reports that detailed dire immigration failures.

Clearly it can be stated that DHS Ineptitude Facilitates Terrorist Operations.

In the weeks and months after the attacks of 9/11 our leaders constantly reminded us that for the terrorists to succeed, they (the terrorists) need only “get it right” once.  On the other hand, in order to protect Americans from terror attacks, our officials needed to be right 100% of the time.

Every time an alien gains entry into the United States, either legally or illegally, terror groups are provided with an opportunity to infiltrate the United States.

In this perilous age, this is the equivalent of the deadly game of “Russian Roulette.”

Hope is not a strategy, the President must be given the resources to defend our nation and our citizens and those resources must extend well beyond our borders.

ICE agents need to have the cooperation of local and state police in enforcing our laws and to cultivate informants and cooperators within ethnic immigrant communities.  This is not a new concept, but an old one.  It was how my colleagues and I routinely operated back when I first became an INS special agent decades ago.  It not only helped to keep America and Americans safe, but especially helped to keep the immigrants in every ethnic immigrant community safe.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

East vs West: Who are the Enlightened Ones?

By Vince Dhimos

Thus the old radical school of the Enlightenment had not died out. It not only survived, it acquired more force than ever, despite the removal of the abuses that had prompted the movement in the first place. This was one of the many examples of movements that outlived their raison d’être but continued to exist on sheer inertia and stubbornness.

In 1917 and thereafter, the movement to establish a Soviet Union instead of a renewed and dynamic Russia was led by the Bolsheviks, who were imbued with the ideals of the more radical Enlightenment. As such, once in power, they immediately set about eliminating all older Russian ideas, and history came to see a variation on the theme of the French revolution. Most of these leaders secretly hated Russia, as described here, and wanted a modern European system to replace all old institutions and popular beliefs and behaviors. Thus, at variance with accepted anti-Russian propaganda, the Soviet Union was in no way a product of Russianness. In fact it was due to all things Russian being suppressed.

The Chinese under Mao took this radical Enlightenment idea still further and, again, while focusing on punishing transgressors rather than solving problems, it aimed to destroy the Chinese culture. The Cultural Revolution was in fact a movement to eliminate all of Chinese culture and thought, even smashing precious antiques, and extirpating the wisdom of ancient philosophers like Confucius from the Chinese psyche. As a result they lost a generation that could have been dedicated to education, science and research. Though imbued with Enlightenment ideals, Mao knew nothing about science, which is why his method of collecting metal for industry, by melting down pots and utensils, including antique ones, failed colossally. He discovered late what ancient Chinese metallurgists had always known, namely, that many different kinds of metals when melted together form a useless malleable or brittle material with virtually no strength. The result of his grand experiment wound up on the slag heap.

However, besides a lack of scientific knowledge, what the leaders were missing in their dealings with the people was the old Confucian ideal of harmony. The favorite tactic for keeping people in line was to stir up people with a hysteria against “capitalist running dogs” and former landlords or wealthy people. People were dehumanized, induced to manufacture all kinds of false charges and rat out their friends, neighbors and family members to deflect suspicions from themselves. It was a rein of terror akin to the black-white hysteria that sometimes causes American streets to boil. The accused were generally taken out with a sign around their neck indicating their supposed crime and then beaten by a disorderly crowed, even killed at times. (Further reading here on the Cultural Revolution). But after Mao’s death, the next generation of leaders realized that they had thrown out the baby with the bath and they dusted off the old banned books about Confucius, studying them diligently but without publicising this or admitting that the party policies had changed (they did not intend to sully Mao’s memory).

You may have read about Xi’s response to Trump as they sat over cake at Mar-a-Lago and Trump informed Xi that he had just fired 59 Tomahawks at Khan Sheikhoun. Now Assad is a close ally of China, which has had ties to Syria for decades. In fact, China has plans to rebuild Syria (as shown in our translation of an unusually candid report here). Thus Trump’s obtuse words must have hurt Xi to the quick. But far from confrontational, Xi’s response to Trump was Confucian and harmonious.

According to Trump in a media interview. Xi said:

‘Anybody that uses gases’ —you could almost say or anything else — but ‘anybody that was so brutal and uses gases to do that to young children and babies, it’s okay.’ He was okay with it.”

I suspect even Confucius would have choked at this insincere response. (It reminded me of Will Smith as Hancock, who was advised by a psychologist to compliment his coworkers by saying “good work” after they carried out an assignment, and then proceeded to say this even when it was he who had done the job). Xi’s government later expressed bitter criticism of the Tomahawk attack in its state-owned media.

President Donald J. Trump and President Xi of China | November 8, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Both China and Russia seek harmonious relations even with the most difficult partners. This is the wave of the future and it is the result of the East learning from their earlier mistakes and the mistakes of the West, notably the total rejection of all past thought and behavior. China has turned back to Confucius and Russia has turned back to Christ. The result is the same.

Nietzsche, an old school radical philosopher who, while he criticized the Enlightenment, was focused on shocking people with an across the board rejection of the past, including past wisdom. He made no attempt to be conciliatory. As he wrote, he was a suffering soul confined to his bed, with advanced syphilis, which eventually killed him. Being hopelessly ideology bound, he had apparently rejected the notion that promiscuous sex can be harmful, thinking this taboo to be an outmoded Christian idea rather than the universal truth that it was. Despite years of agony that would have caused others to regret their dissipated past, he had learned nothing from his own mistakes, and many of his readers – worshippers really — are attempting to duplicate his failed experiment.

The West today is imbued with that malignant spirit. Thus, we find swaths of American society, for example, where anyone advocating for traditional marriage can be ostracized or worse, verbally – or even physically — assaulted, or even lose their job (as reported here); a person entering certain parts of their downtown can be beaten for belonging to the wrong race, as described here; and criminals or gang members of a certain national origin will never be arrested because they are assigned to a victim group. The old notion of law and order, decency and politeness has collapsed. The West is now closer to the ideals of perpetual revolution than even Mao’s China and unlike China, where the insanity finally ended with Mao’s death, there is no promise of a respite because the movement is led not by one person but by a faceless mob.

In stark contrast to the ideology-bound West, the East has moved beyond and is now easily winning the war of ideas by focusing on common sense and doing the will of the people. It turns out that the wisdom of the past is still as valid today as it was then. But these countries are also completely focused on science, as both Enlightenment schools were.

Ironically, the one world power that unabashedly lays claim to a Christian foundation for its public policies is, in terms of science, head and shoulders above the US, which abhors Christianity and still clings to the absurd notion that Christianity is incompatible with science. Emblematic of this situation is the fact that the radically secular US is obliged to purchase rocket engines from the openly Christian Russia.

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