PODCAST: Cabinet Hearings, CNN – “You Are Fake News!,” Hungary Targets Soros

Trump’s future cabinet is cruising through Senate confirmation. And with the world in the state that it is, not a moment too soon.

Terrorism once again strikes Israel in the form of a truck attack. Sound familiar? Of course, the widow of the terrorist is already collecting a pension courtesy of the Palestinian Authority. Yet these people allegedly want peace? In Hungary, the Orban government takes the dramatic step of targeting George Soros’s network of NGOs. Good for them – Trump should follow suit. In France, populist Marine Le Pen promises repatriation of the French car industry, taking a cue from Trump’s (pre-office!) recent successes. Finally, China – continuing their provocations – deploys a sixth reconnaissance ship in the South China Sea.

With so much bubbling in the cauldron of world affairs, the new American administration can’t come soon enough!

Topics of Discussion:

  • Trump’s nominees testify before the Senate
  • Biden gets his very own medal
  • First steps in repealing Obamacare
  • Hungary targets George Soros
  • Widow of Jerusalem truck terrorist gets Palestinian Authority pension
  • China deploys sixth reconnaissance ship South China Sea

and more . . .

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may listen to USA Transnational Report live on JJ McCartney’s Nightside Radio Studios and on Red State Talk Radio, subscribe to USA Transnational Report podcast on iTunes here and signup for podcasts with Podbean, here. All previously recorded shows are available here, at the links above, or through Spreaker.

What Made America Great?

It’s over, done, finished. All the energy that was poured into the U.S. Presidential election for over a year, has finally come to an end. It’s time to stop all the whining, blame, complaint, negativity and victim consciousness. It’s time to speak freely once more without worrying about “political correctness”. It’s time for everyone to come together to make America great again. We may differ on how that’s to be achieved, but surely we can all agree on the goal.

What are the qualities and values that made America the richest and greatest country in the world: the country that was, and is, a beacon of hope for people everywhere? The first and most important thing is freedom; freedom from fear, oppression, tyranny, dictatorship and from government interfering into the personal lives of it’s citizens. The American Constitution was the first to put the individual ahead of the government. “We the People”. The Founding Fathers had escaped from political and religious oppression, therefore they wanted to create a system of checks and balances that would limit government power. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of what America stands for–Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These values were enshrined in the Constitution and made America unique in the history of the world.

Another factor our Founding Fathers thought important was religious freedom. They recognized the existence of a supreme Being and the need for each person to worship that God in whatever way they expressed their faith. (At that time it was mainly the Christian faith, but it has expanded since). Religion, the Christian work ethic and prosperity were closely aligned. The phrase, “In God We Trust”, is printed on all American bills. One of the most beautiful songs is Irving Berlin’s, “God Bless America”.

Another right that was important was the right to keep the fruits of one’s labor; which meant private property and free enterprise. If the government could confiscate what one worked for, then the aforementioned guarantees would be meaningless. Freedom meant nothing if there wasn’t also economic freedom. Small, limited government with laissez-faire capitalism was the atmosphere which fostered and encouraged growth and wealth.

The American Dream was all about raising oneself above a subsistence level, which had been the level for the majority for all of history, and still is for most of the “Third World” countries. America was pioneered and made great by people who had confidence, who believed in themselves, who worked to better themselves and improve their circumstances. These people didn’t believe or accept that poverty was a static condition or permanent station in life. They aspired to more: to them the future was unlimited. They were surrounded by examples of people who had risen as far as their imagination, creativity, talents and intelligence could take them. This was reflected materially in the big cars, houses, businesses and skyscrapers that were built. Individual people in a climate of little or no government interference, made America great. Free market Capitalism raised the standard of living for everyone. Even relatively poor people in America today have a house, a car, television,computer and cellphone. That’s not the case in other countries, where people are envious of our democracy and wealth.

America used to be a melting pot, where people came from all over the world to create a better life for themselves and their children. Some came to escape persecution or poverty, some came by boat or suffered great hardship, but they were all glad to come to America. They were happy and proud to be American. People knew and appreciated the fact that this country offered greater opportunity than the country they left. They considered themselves first and
foremost Americans.The flag, oath of allegiance and national anthem meant, and hopefully still means something.

Yet, there are some Americans who are not satisfied and complain about “Capitalism” and “consumerism”, as if they’re dirty words. In America, people have a choice of how, what or if they are going to spend their earned money on something, that in other countries would be considered unimaginable luxuries. There is a simple law of supply and demand. If there wasn’t the demand then the goods would go unsold and the business would go bankrupt. For those who argue that the “demand” is created by advertising or the media, that only speaks to the ignorance, gullibility and powerlessness of those who make that argument; that they are somehow so easily manipulated and so helpless that they can’t think for themselves and cannot make the simple choice to buy or not to buy. Again, this is an example of “victim consciousness”.

Most of the programs for conservation, the environment, social welfare etc., costs money. Where is that money to come from if not from those who are successful and financially well off. The government can only get money either through taxation or printing more, which leads to inflation. The voters demand and politicians promise to create jobs. But where are these jobs to come from if not from entrepreneurs, small business and corporations; the very ones who have been criticized and condemned as being greedy and heartless, the very ones who have been considered politically incorrect.

It is ironic that some immigrants to America have a greater appreciation for the United States, than some people who were born here. For those who are discontent, unhappy or would rather live in some other country or under some other system, there is another American freedom and that is the freedom to leave. There is no wall or iron curtain preventing anyone from leaving to go to another country that they think might be better than the greatest country on earth. The facts show that there are millions of people who would gladly take their place in a heartbeat. America is still a beacon of hope for those who crave democracy and cherish the values that this country represents.

Sure the United States can be improved, but rather than negativity, blame and complaint, let’s use our energy, passion and patriotism now to improve ourselves and make America greater than ever. If the individual succeeds and prospers, the country benefits.

It’s time to be proud again to be an American.

Senator Ted Cruz: We need Bold, Positive Leadership

On Monday, January 12th, Sen. Cruz addressed the Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Conservative Policy Summit to discuss a bold, positive agenda for the new Congress. View video below.

Miami-Dade Schools: Giving Students the Shaft

Borrowing from the saying of my mentor, Ira J. Paul, and as rightly inferred by T. Willard Fair in his recent op-ed in The Miami Herald, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which prides itself in its motto of “giving our students the world” is giving our students what a reasonable person may conclude, especially in School Board Districts 1 and 2, the shaft.

Mr. Fair details the “what” in his article and proposes a solution, but he does not address the “why” as this article will do just that.

The “what” is that the schools of School Board Districts 1 and 2 have the least experienced teachers and the least “highly effective” teachers than the schools of other School Board Districts.

Mr. Fair is correct in referring to this as an injustice and a problem, but to fix this problem requires more than involuntary transfers as he suggests – which would do more harm than good.

However, he should keep in mind that while he was on the State Board of Education, that body and the FLDOE encouraged, as part of Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan and No Child Left Behind, involuntary transfers at failing schools.

As a result, verified by my own experience, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and principals at Miami Central Senior High School and Miami Norland Senior High School (as well as at other Zone/ETO schools) targeted outspoken veteran teachers and replaced them with new teachers (primarily Teach For America teachers; or as former UTD president Karen Aronowitz termed them “Teach For Awhile” teachers) so as to have a submissive, compliant workforce that would not dissent.

As someone who has worked full-time various instructional positions in both School Board Districts 1 (8 years) and 2 (6 years), I can readily identify the problems through my insightful knowledge based on experience as I was transferred from both schools for those very reasons.

In conversation over the years, I heard assistant principals at Norland gloat that they liked TFA teachers as “they will do whatever we want.”

Never mind that Ceresta Smith was an activist that obtained a $10,000 Michael Jordan grant that brought Dwayne Wade to Norland and money for FCAT instruction and that she was a National Board Certified Teacher; she had to go as she spoke out against questionable curriculum decisions and numerous contractual violations as I had to go for exposing massive test cheating known as Adobegate.

Numerous teachers like Ceresta and I were moved out under “the best interests of the District” clause of the Contract as apparently it is in the best interest of Miami-Dade County Public Schools for teachers to be quiet and fearful and not to speak out for the best interests of their students or to expose standardized test cheating.

Since her departure three years ago, Norland has not had a National Board Certified Teacher or an English teacher of her caliber at Norland who brought in grants and motivational speakers for our students.

Since my departure last October, the Library Media Center has been closed, students visited me at Crestview telling me they cannot check out books whatsoever, and as a result (perhaps alongside little to no cheating given increased oversight) FCAT Reading scores declined three points.

During my tenure at Norland, FCAT Reading scores went up consistently; how is removing me, other than to keep Norland teachers quiet, to the detriment of the students and their right to read, in “the best interests of the District?”

Besides TFA teachers who have a two year commitment with an already accepted slot at a graduate school somewhere in conjunction with the payoff of their student loans after their tenure at M-DCPS, who would want to work at schools like Central and Norland where you are forced to compromise your ethics and morals and are denied liberty of conscience?

District and Norland actions sends what a fair-minded person may assume is a warped message to the students they purport to serve: the honest school librarian cannot serve them in the Library Media Center at Norland, but Mrs. Brenda Muchnick can teach them business education even though she was suspended for her part in Adobegate while her colleague, Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin, was fired for doing the exact same thing.

We wonder why students in America who go into the military partake in the various cheating scandals that have plagued the naval and air force nuclear forces?!

Mr. Fair, and others, need to realize we need to have honest and ethical school principals and value teachers based on merit and willing to highlight curriculum and contractual flaws as opposed to the status quo that disdains the outspoken veteran teacher who knows best in favor of the compliant warm body that sees, hears, and speaks no evil who rides off into the sunset two years later to graduate school and a different career path.

Of course, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is in denial and highlights so called “improved graduation rates” as proof that their detrimental policies and hardline against outspoken veteran teachers are working.

Upon closer inspection, a reasonable person may conclude that these graduation rates do not hold muster and are indeed funny math.

Think about it: Norland has never cracked beyond 30% proficiency on the FCAT Reading exam- a graduation requirement; that being the case, how can there be a graduation rate of over 80%?!

Miami-Dade County Public Schools and their messengers must think people are really stupid.

The answer lies in the ever shrinking senior class as explained in USDOE graduation rate guidelines.

Norland always had a sophomore class (FCAT exit exam class) of between 400-500 students during my tenure, with Grade 10 FCAT Reading scores being between 14-30% during my time (2007-2013) there.

For the sake of the argument, apply the highest Grade 10 FCAT Reading score, 29%, to 400 students, with the answer being 116 students passed the test give or take.

That is the baseline for the graduation rate for that graduating class two years later.

According to the USDOE guidelines, if members of that class transfer, die, or leave the country, the graduation rate is not affected- meaning, if students cannot pass the FCAT and go to a private school without the FCAT requirement, the school is not penalized:

Compared to other measures of graduation rates, the ACGR (adjusted cohort graduation rate) is considered the most accurate measure available for reporting on-time graduation rates (Seastrom et al. 2006b). A 4-year ACGR is defined as the number of students who graduate in 4 years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for that graduating class. The term “adjusted cohort” means the students who enter grade 9 plus any students who transfer into the cohort in grades 9–12 minus any students who are removed from the cohort because they transferred out, moved out of the country, or were deceased (34 C.F.R. § 200.19.” (Page 8).

Thus, Norland (and other schools) were rewarded as the graduation rates went up as the results were incorporated into the School Grades which resulted in the Federal and State performance incentives that were paid out.

Suppose the same 116 students who passed the FCAT and are cleared to graduate stay at Norland over the next two years but 200 students who cannot pass the FCAT or the new FSA exams transfer their credits to a private school in their junior and senior year to graduate-that leaves the class with a total of 200 students and the graduation rate skyrockets to 58%.

Further student departure would only increase the rate only if the students who passed the FCAT or the FSA exams stayed.

It is very legal but very misleading, and I know of a Norland faculty member who had children at the school that could not pass the FCAT take advantage of this loophole so they can graduate and go to college on academic scholarships.

When I was at Miami Central about ten years ago, I knew of students who could not pass the FCAT that went to a private school; they transferred in their credits, spent a few months there, graduated, and went to a community college in Minnesota to play football.

More food for thought: quantity. I remember the large graduation classes that Miami Central and Norland use to have, about 300- 500 some odd students. Funny with these current unprecedented graduation rates over the past four years, graduating classes at Central and Norland have been less than 200 students.

That’s funny Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ math for you, and it’s a system that rewards failure as astronomical graduation rates are being obtained simply by a whittling down of a given senior year class via student transfers to private schools for purposes of graduation to evade the FCAT and the soon to be new Florida Standards Assessments.

Congress and/or the USDOE should revise the graduation rate criteria to eliminate this deception and count student transfers against a school’s graduation rate if they graduate from private schools with little to no accountability as they could not pass the FCAT exam at a public school with accountability.

Furthermore, the Florida Legislature should regulate private schools and only allow them to award a valid state-recognized diploma only if their students can pass the mandated state assessments or an equivalent nationally recognized exam like the ACT or SAT to gauge student learning and progress.

Florida’s Deceptive Common Core Implementation and Teacher Training

Despite Gov. Rick Scott’s executive order (Executive Order 13-276) replacing the Common Core and withdrawing Florida from PARCC, teachers are still being trained in Common Core as the Florida Standards are essentially the Common Core State Standards with another name, slight renumbering of standards, and a few additional standards.

In an email sent to me from Cheryl Etters (FLDOE Spokeswoman) as a response to a media inquiry, she termed my assertions rooted in fact as “opinions,” which is one of their dismissive tactics when the FLDOE and State officials are called on to explain their deceptive and misleading campaign to stealthily implement the Common Core State Standards in Florida schools and the continued training of Florida teachers in the Common Core State Standards.

Why are Florida teachers, including me, being trained in the Common Core State Standards a year after Gov. Scott’s executive order when they were replaced by the Florida Standards?

The simple answer is that they are one and the same with minor differences- a plan meant to appease President Obama, Jeb Bush, and the testing industry (AIR, Pearson).

To satisfy your own mind, read and compare for yourself: Common Core ELA Standards and the Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS); and Common Core Mathematics Standards and the Mathematics Florida Standards (MAFS).

It’s amazing that Gov. Scott, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, and FLDOE personnel cannot come clean and respond whatsoever to these claims- because they cannot in an honest fashion!

I have been waiting about a week for a response to our media inquiry; but when faced with fact and evidence, a response is difficult for them to formulate.

Beacon Educator, through FLDOE regulation, is the largest online provider of professional development courses and still offers training in Common Core but not (and has not as of yet) the Florida Standards.

Why is Beacon Educator not offering professional development courses in the Florida Standards? By continuing to offer professional development courses in the Common Core, is this an admission by the FLDOE and the State that the Florida Standards and Common Core are one and the same?

Ms. Etters’ response was: I’m not quite sure how to respond to your opinions. A mention on Beacon Educator – they appear to be a private vendor and are not associated with the Florida Department of Education. What do you mean by “through FLDOE regulation?”

            If Ms. Etters consulted the Beacon Educator website, she would know.

Concerning Beacon Educator, Beacon has three disclaimers suggesting they adhere to/meet FLDOE requirements and that it received past funding through the FLDOE:

Beacon Educator provides facilitated online courses for busy educators. These courses comply with the National Staff Development Council Standards, Florida Department of Education Professional Development Protocol Standards, and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates.

Forming a consortium with other districts including Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Gadsden, and the PAEC districts, Beacon Learning Center received the U.S. Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant (2000-2006). Other funding sources included Bay District Schools and the Florida Department of Education through grants including the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, (1997-2000), Florida Goals 2000 (1998-99), and other Florida Department of Education grants (2002-2003).

Furthermore, Beacon Educator is not a private vendor, but a public one: “Beacon Educator, the professional development division of Beacon Learning Center, is a self-supporting, internet-based enterprise within Bay District Schools.”

Given that, the Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development and Retention within the FLDOE approves each school district’s Master Inservice Plan to offer professional development: “The master plan shall be updated and approved by local boards on an annual basis by September 1 of the current year with written verification submitted annually to the Commissioner of Education by October 1 of the current year.”

Bay County Public Schools has an approved Master Inservice Plan from the FLDOE, hence FLDOE regulation, and thus offers professional development through their owned entity- Beacon Educator.

Doesn’t Ms. Etters and the folks at the FLDOE know this?

Notice the attached Weekly Briefings (May and August 2014) from Miami–Dade County Public Schools and the associated flyers (May and August 2014).

Both briefings offer the exact same courses, but the Briefing from May, under Online Modules, says in the second bullet: “New Florida State Standards (Common Core).”

The proof is in the pudding! I took all of the courses and earned credit in them per my Beacon Educator transcript and M-DCPS Staff Development (SD) Record– eight months after Gov. Scott’s executive order supposedly ending the Common Core in Florida.

Notice the credit entries say “Common Core” and not “Florida Standards.”

There’s no denying- Common Core is going full steam ahead with disastrous results unless appropriate action is taken.

By appropriate action, I mean taking action at the ballot box: Adrian Wyllie for Governor.

Both former Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Scott support Common Core and its implementation.

Charlie Crist gave us Common Core; Rick Scott is implementing them.

Crist, who likes to be liked, stands for nothing and forced it on Florida to appease President Obama and Jeb Bush.

Gov. Scott, like Crist, is implementing Common Core, and lying to us in the process, under the guise of the Florida Standards to appease Jeb Bush and the testing industry- his base and support. He has to under false pretenses (Florida Standards) for political survival and in a way that is acceptable to both president Obama and Jeb Bush.

Moreover, both of them do virtually nothing to those caught cheating on standardized tests, and you know cheating will take off like wildfire on these new Florida Standard Assessments.

Therefore, if you are in true opposition to Common Core, then the appropriate course of action is to vote for Adrian Wyllie unless you want Common Core under Gov. Scott or Common Core and PARCC under Gov. Crist.

Florida: Sheriff Jim Manfre from Flagler County wants to ban your rifle!

Sheriff Jim Manfre from Flagler County in Florida wants to ban your rifle and leave you defenseless against the tyranny flowing from Washington D.C. He calls these rifles “assault weapons.” My AK-47 sits happily in the closet and it has never assaulted anyone. Only people assault other people. Whether its with guns, knives, hammers or bottles.

According to Lee Williams of the Herald-Tribune:

At a meeting Tuesday night of the The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida held in Palm Coast, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre called for a ban on “assault weapons,” said he wanted tighter regulation on private firearm sales, and called for changing existing laws on background checks.

According to a news story written about the meeting written by a reporter at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the sheriff also said his “sensible gun control” ideas were supported by the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

Yesterday, Nanette Schimpf, spokesperson for the Florida Sheriff’s Association, told me the news story was inaccurate. The FSA has never called for ending private sales, banning “assault weapons” or changing background check laws.

Manfre also supports the legalization of marijuana, something the Florida Sheriffs Association is against. Indeed Sheriff Jim Manfre is just another Obama supporter who needs to voted out of office. He is unwilling to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and Florida, as he has sworn to do.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has the solemn duty of serving and protecting the citizens of our great state. The following is contact information for Sheriff Manfre:

Address: 1001 Justice Lane, Bunnell, FL 32110
Email: jmanfre@flaglersheriff.com
Phone: (386) 437-4116
Fax: (386) 586-4820

Notice how his disclaimer is to protect the citizens, yet he wants to disarm law abiding citizens, so his disclaimer is a lie. This man is another example of Obama’s reach into the great State of Florida.

I will not disarm. I will not give up my 2nd Amendment rights to some Sheriff. He has betrayed his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and must be removed from office. I told him so in an email.

As for my weapons nobody will take them. I am protected under the 2nd Amendment. I gave sheriff Manfre my cell phone number. Lets see if he has the guts to call me back.

Third World Objectivism: A Young Indian Reflects on the Meaning of Rand on the anniversary of her death by Shanu Athiparambath

Ayn Rand died on this day [March 6th], 32 years ago. Today, young Indians are snapping up her books at a surprising rate.

It’s an apparent contradiction. Howard Roark, The Fountainhead’s main character, is a man with strong principles. But he’s also arrogant. Here in India, humility is considered the fundamental moral virtue. He might have been put away for a very long time had he lived here. In any event, he could not have reached many people through rational arguments, due to what Rand described as “the mystic muck of India.”

But, for many young Indian men and women, Howard Roark epitomizes individualism and strength of character. And much to the chagrin of their boyfriends, many women want their men to be more like Howard Roark. A college mate once told me, “Women do not know that it is not possible for a man to be Howard Roark. He can only pretend to be Howard Roark. Hell, he can’t even pretend to be Howard Roark.”

It’s strange. For nearly four decades after Indian independence, every aspect of the Indian economy was “planned” and “regulated” by the socialistic state. The economy has liberalized somewhat in the past two decades, but still remains one of the most controlled in the world.

Virtually every literate Indian has heard of Karl Marx. And so, the typical Indian’s beliefs are much closer to that of Karl Marx’s.

Outside the market niche she has found, Ayn Rand is virtually unheard of. But that appears to be changing. Ayn Rand outsells Karl Marx sixteenfold in India today, which suggests rapid growth. This is in all likelihood an underestimation: I first noticed her works in a rickety street stall in a small town. The copies were pirated.

No one seems to know why Ayn Rand is becoming so popular in India. India has a huge population, but even today, English-language fiction is read by a minority elite. It is true that Ayn Rand wrote popular fiction. Karl Marx’s prose is dense. But that still does not explain why Rand outsells even many well-known Indian writers and best-selling western writers in Indian markets. Even in the United States, where various strands of thought have found their own niche, Rand’s views are considered way outside the mainstream. It is a minor miracle that she could build a whole movement in a western capitalistic democracy. But why is she becoming increasingly popular in societies that bear no resemblance whatsoever to whatever ideal society she had in her mind?

I can only hypothesize. But part of the reason must be that the intelligent young men and women in traditional, conservative societies know that the dystopian world her fiction depicts is not too unlike the world in which they live. Indians have experienced the extremities of government tyranny firsthand. Libertarians often cite the government as the source of evil, but not all evils flow from the State to the masses. The inept, corrupt governments of the third world can be a reflection of the popular soul. In India, at least, the State can institutionalize the little people’s vices.

In The Fountainhead, Peter Keating’s mother dictates his life with the sweetest of smiles on her face, “Petey, I never think anything. It’s up to you. It’s always been up to you.” The villain in The Fountainhead is Ellsworth Toohey, a manipulative intellectual, and not a government bureaucrat or a politician. One character says Gail Wynand represents everything that’s wrong with the world, but Wynand is a newspaper publisher. People subscribed to The New York Banner because they preferred vulgarity over truth and beauty, and not because the politicians or bureaucrats forced them to.

Ayn Rand was one of those writers who saw politics for what it is—inside and out, macro to micro, down to the level of the individual.

It is probably futile to curse mediocrity, but in the third world, ineptitude and politicking reach epic proportions—and is present in nearly every aspect of our lives. As in Ayn Rand’s fiction, this is not always official, congressional politics. It is true that many rebellious Indian teens find Ayn Rand’s individualistic worldview appealing. But, I believe they also feel that the world around them reminds them of the poolroom that Gail Wynand once worked in. That is, the young men and women in India see nothing but dishonesty and corruption around them.

Even in the best hospitals in the largest Indian cities, the doctors diagnose patients without really speaking to them. When you lie on a hospital bed, you know you have written a blank check to doctors who have life-and-death power over you. On November 9, 1965, the lights of the New York City and the entire eastern seaboard went out, an admirer wrote to Ayn Rand, “There is a John Galt.” But in India today, even in the largest cities, the lights can go out at any moment.

So, appearances aside, it is hardly surprising then that Ayn Rand appeals to young men and women in collectivist societies. She told them the truth about the world in which they live.

ABOUT SHANU ATHIPARAMBATH

Shanu Athiparambath is a writer and editor living in New Delhi.

Times Square: How a city square should not be

The famous Times Square in New York draws tourists from all over the world and many New Yorkers are very proud of it.

The square is, in my humble view, exactly how a nice city square should not be: it’s full of traffic, aggressive neon lights with commercial advertisements, there are no nice cafés with tables outside, there isn’t something truly beautiful in the center, like a fountain or a sculpture.

Let’s take a look how in old Europe, the old city center squares were made, and still are often; peaceful. Romantic, because you can actually hear each other when you whisper and not hear the sounds of cars instead.

Of course what adds to the fun of walking around on a nice square in old Europe, such as the Piazza Navona in Rome, or the Market Square in Haarlem, the Netherlands, is that you have all kinds of small shops. They are set in the decorum of traditional architecture. Street lanterns are also often made in a traditional style.

Peacefulness, traditional architecture, healthy and tasty food in elegant restaurants and cafés, a monumental fountain or sculpture…it all adds to the truly romantic atmosphere in old European city centers.

So why don’t modern city planners start to learn from our ancestors?

EDITORS NOTE: Featured image is courtesy of Brucephoto. The photographer does not in any way endorse the author or this commentary. The featured photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Obama Threatens to Veto the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act

Like many Americans and Israelis I watched expectantly President Obama’s State of the Union Address (SOTUS)  before a joint session of Congress crammed into the House Chamber. I was looking for a reaction from the Congressional audience on the issue of the P5+1 agreement implemented on January 20th. Iran’s President Rouhani had basically told  the P5+1  in a CNN  interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the Islamic regime was not going to dismantle their nuclear program. Instead they were going to plough ahead with research and development on advanced centrifuges and would not swap the Arak heavy water plant that would produce plutonium for a bomb.

In  light of these jarring comments made in Davos, Switzerland  by President Rouhani  at the World Economic  Forum, you would have prudently thought that the President would have changed his mind about  vetoing  the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA), S. 1881. Obama made it clear that he was proceeding with the P5+1 deal as a diplomatic way of  avoiding  military action to disable the Islamic Regime’s  nuclear weapons capability.  A capability that according to Israeli PM Netanyahu  speaking at the Annual Conference of the Institute for National Security studies at Tel Aviv University  (INSS) was  “six weeks away from achievement when the P5+1 deal was signed” on November 24, 2013 in Geneva.

President Obama fired a bow shot directed at NWFIA sponsors Sens. Kirk and Menendez, and 57 other co-sponsors of S. 1881, as well as the Resolution introduced in by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor  (R-VA)  and Minority Leader Steny  Hoyer (D-Md.) supporting its passage.

Obama said:

Let me be clear if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.

For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.

If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.  But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.

It is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb.

If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

Watch this C-SPAN video clip of the nuclear Iran segment of his SOTUS:

The immediate reaction was clearly stony silence from the Republican members of both chambers in the audience.

According to a  Jerusalem Postarticle on the President’s veto threat, NWFIA co-sponsor Sen. Kirk said:

“The American people – Democrats and Republicans alike – overwhelmingly want Iran held accountable during any negotiations. While the president promises to veto any new Iran sanctions legislation, the Iranians have already vetoed any dismantlement of their nuclear infrastructure,” Kirk added, calling his bill an “insurance policy” for Congress.

The Hill  Global Affairs blog reported the dissembling  the morning after  the President’s SOTUS remarks on a nuclear Iran by some Democratic co-sponsors of NWFIA in the wake of the President’s public veto threat.  Note these Senators’ comments:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on MSNBC Tuesday night that he didn’t endorse the bill so that it could be voted on during negotiations with Iran. “Give peace a chance,” he said.

“I did not sign it with the intention that it would ever be voted upon or used upon while we were negotiating,” Manchin said. “I signed it because I wanted to make sure the president had a hammer, if he needed it and showed them how determined we were to do it and use it, if we had to.”

[…]

“Now is not the time for a vote on the Iran sanctions bill,” Coons said Wednesday at a Politico event, according to The Huffington Post.

The senator clarified that he still supports the bill but warned advancing it now could damage ongoing negotiations toward a final agreement with Iran.

[…]

“I’m not frustrated,” Menendez told The Huffington Post on Tuesday after Obama’s address. “The president has every right to do what he wants.”

The Hill Global Affairs blog noted the Senate reaction  to NWFIA :

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-highest ranking Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the fourth-highest ranking Democrat, and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have said they are against the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has also suggested he’s leaning toward not allowing a vote on it.

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the Senate should move the sanctions bill forward to the floor, predicting it would have a veto-proof majority.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Monday that lawmakers in both the House and Senate are considering a nonbinding resolution that expresses concern about Iran’s nuclear program.

Backing what Sen. Kirk said in his response to the President was further evidence from former  UN nuclear weapons inspector David Albright at the Washington, DC Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).  Both he and the sanctions analysis team from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies held a well attended briefing for Capitol Hill Staffers on Monday, January 27th.  Albright was quoted in the Los Angeles Times citing an ISIS  report on the technical aspects of the accord implemented on January 20th that allows Iran to continue research over the next six months on several types of advanced centrifuges already at Natanz:

[The accord]  is not expected to seriously affect Iran’s centrifuge research and development program. Albright said he hopes to persuade the six powers to push for much stricter limits on centrifuge research and development when they negotiate the final agreement. The issue has to be addressed much more aggressively.

Cliff May of FDD, co-sponsor of the Capitol Hill event with Albright  of  ISIS,  observed in an NRO Corner article:

If Iran’s rulers faithfully comply with every commitment they have so far made, at the end of this six-month period, they will be about three months — instead of two months — away from breakout capacity.

Yesterday, at the annual conference of the  Institute for National Security studies (INSS)  at Tel Aviv University, there was a dialog between former CIA Director Gen. David Petreaus and Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin,  former  IDF military intelligence chief.  The contrast between their positions on the Iran nuclear threat was most telling:

General (ret.) David Petraeus: The United States is war weary and suffers from a “Vietnam syndrome.” However, it still has major strategic capabilities, and President Obama will not hesitate to use force against Iran, if necessary.

Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin: What keeps me awake at night is the Iranian issue. The Iranian nuclear program aspires to attain a nuclear capability. The only viable leverage – sanctions and a credible military threat – are weakening, and this is most worrisome. Also troubling: the status quo on the Palestinian issue is not favorable, and the relations with the United States are not on the same level as before – these must be restored.

If you are a gambler, which of the two former military leaders, would you bet on to make a decision in the sovereign national interests of Israel regarding a nuclear Iran?  I know who I would.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Salon.com gets it wrong on Thomas Jefferson’s Quran and Islam

Denise Speelberg in her column “Our Founding Fathers included Islam” states, “Thomas Jefferson didn’t just own a Quran — he engaged with Islam and fought to ensure the rights of Muslims.” The basis of Speelberg’s column is Thomas Jefferson quoting “A Letter Concerning Toleration” by John Locke who in 1689 wrote, “Nay, if we may openly speak the truth, and as becomes one man to another, neither Pagan nor Mahometan, nor Jew, ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his religion.”

Note that Locke groups “Pagan and Mahometan” together. Locke is speaking about civil (legal) rights in England and the Commonwealth.

In Locke’s letter Mahometan is mentioned only once. Jew or Jewish are mentioned fifteen times. Locke was more concerned about tolerance toward the Jews. Locke begins his letter with, “Since you are pleased to inquire what are my thoughts about the mutual toleration of Christians in their different professions of religion, I must needs answer you freely that I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church.” What is the true Church to which Locke refers? The Church of England.

To whom is the letter written? Answer: The members of the English Parliament in 1689.

Parliament of England.

Locke’s letter was directed at the 1689 Convention Parliament, an irregular assembly of the Parliament of England. It was the Convention Parliament, which in 1689, issued a Bill of Rights; established a constitutional monarchy in Britain; bared Roman Catholics from the throne; codified William III and Mary II becoming joint monarchs of England and Scotland (to1694), passed the Toleration Act granting freedom of worship to dissenters in England; and created the Grand Alliance of the League of Augsburg, England, and the Netherlands.

The Toleration Act of 1689 allowed freedom of worship to Nonconformists who had pledged to the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and rejected transubstantiation, i.e., Protestants who dissented from the Church of England such as Baptists and Congregationalists but not to Catholics. Nonconformists were allowed their own places of worship and their own teachers, if they accepted certain oaths of allegiance. It purposely did not apply to Catholics, nontrinitarians and atheists. The Act continued the existing social and political disabilities for Dissenters, including their exclusion from political office and also from universities.

Our forefathers were “the dissenters” excluded from public office and universities. They came to America seeking political and religious freedom. All were Christians.

Speelberg writes, “At a time when most Americans were uninformed, misinformed, or simply afraid of Islam, Thomas Jefferson imagined Muslims as future citizens of his new nation. His engagement with the faith began with the purchase of a Qur’an eleven years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence.” The problem is Speelberg’s statement is simply not true. Jefferson engaged the Mahometans alright but not in the way presented by Speelberg. While true Jefferson owned a Qu’ran, it was to fight against the Barbary pirates and Islam, not embrace them.

Gerard W. Gawalt in “America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe” writes:

Ruthless, unconventional foes are not new to the United States of America. More than two hundred years ago the newly established United States made its first attempt to fight an overseas battle to protect its private citizens by building an international coalition against an unconventional enemy. Then the enemies were pirates and piracy. The focus of the United States and a proposed international coalition was the Barbary Pirates of North Africa.

Pirate ships and crews from the North African states of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers (the Barbary Coast) were the scourge of the Mediterranean. Capturing merchant ships and holding their crews for ransom provided the rulers of these nations with wealth and naval power. In fact, the Roman Catholic Religious Order of Mathurins [Order of Trinitarians] had operated from France for centuries with the special mission of collecting and disbursing funds for the relief and ransom of prisoners of Mediterranean pirates.

Regarding Thomas Jefferson’s opinion of these Mahometans Gawalt found:

Thomas Jefferson, United States minister to France, opposed the payment of tribute, as he later testified in words that have a particular resonance today. In his autobiography Jefferson wrote that in 1785 and 1786 he unsuccessfully “endeavored to form an association of the powers subject to habitual depredation from them. I accordingly prepared, and proposed to their ministers at Paris, for consultation with their governments, articles of a special confederation.” Jefferson argued that “The object of the convention shall be to compel the piratical States to perpetual peace.” Jefferson prepared a detailed plan for the interested states. “Portugal, Naples, the two Sicilies, Venice, Malta, Denmark and Sweden were favorably disposed to such an association,” Jefferson remembered, but there were “apprehensions” that England and France would follow their own paths, “and so it fell through.”

Paying the ransom would only lead to further demands, Jefferson argued in letters to future presidents John Adams, then America’s minister to Great Britain, and James Monroe, then a member of Congress. As Jefferson wrote to Adams in a July 11, 1786, letter, “I acknolege [sic] I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro’ the medium of war.” Paying tribute will merely invite more demands, and even if a coalition proves workable, the only solution is a strong navy that can reach the pirates, Jefferson argued in an August 18, 1786, letter to James Monroe: “The states must see the rod; perhaps it must be felt by some one of them. . . . Every national citizen must wish to see an effective instrument of coercion, and should fear to see it on any other element than the water. A naval force can never endanger our liberties, nor occasion bloodshed; a land force would do both.” “From what I learn from the temper of my countrymen and their tenaciousness of their money,” Jefferson added in a December 26, 1786, letter to the president of Yale College, Ezra Stiles, “it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason, than money to bribe them.”

Ambassadors Jefferson and Adam efforts to form an international coalition to fight the Barbary pirates failed. When Jefferson became president in 1801 he refused to accede to Tripoli’s demands for an immediate payment of $225,000 and an annual payment of $25,000. The pasha of Tripoli then declared war on the United States. President Jefferson dispatched a squadron of naval vessels to the Mediterranean.

Today Jefferson and Adams, for their efforts, would be called by some “Islamophobes”. President Jefferson had a Qu’ran in order to understand America’s enemies in North Africa, not to embrace them. Jefferson understood that when tolerance of barbarism becomes a one way street it leads to cultural suicide.

Perhaps Speelberg needs to study English and American history? Or is she trying to rewrite American history to fit her political narrative?

RELATED: President Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates by Robert F. Turner

Editorial: Florida libraries celebrating Muslim American Heritage Month

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative was selected as one of 840 libraries and state humanities councils across the country to receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA). The endeavor aims to familiarize public audiences in the United States with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

The six library branches that received the bookshelf, which included 25 books, 3 films, and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, will be offering related programming the week of October 6th to October 12th in celebration of Muslim American Heritage Month. Hillsborough County is the epicenter of this program in Florida offering Arabic calligraphy classes, books and films.

This celebration is an oxymoron. There is no American Muslim heritage. There is a Muslim heritage in Islam. All of the books and films are about Islam, not one is about a Muslim heritage in America.

One film Muslim Journeys is being shown at the John F. Germany Public Library on October 12th. It is about “an African-Muslim prince who was captured and sold into slavery in the American South.” However, there are no books on the reading list by South African-born Ronald Segal. According to Salon.com, “Segal is the author of 13 books including ‘The Anguish of India,’ ‘The Americans’ and ‘The Black Diaspora.’ In his latest book, ‘Islam’s Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora,’ he offers one of the first historical accounts of the Islamic slave trade.”

In an interview with Segal, Suzy Hansen from Salon.com writes, “Another slave trade, however, the Islamic one, remains a mysterious aspect in the history of the black diaspora. Fourteen centuries old, this version of slavery spread throughout Africa, the Middle East, Europe, India and China. It is the legacy of this trade that continues to ravage Sudan and Mauritania today.”

Hansen asks: How did the Atlantic and Islamic slave trades differ?

Segal’s “Islam’s Black Slaves” documents a centuries-old institution that still survives, and traces the business of slavery and its repercussions from Islam’s inception in the seventh century, through its history in China, India, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, and Spain, and on to Sudan and Mauritania, where, even today, slaves continue to be sold.

Islam’s Black Slaves also examines the continued denial of the very existence of this sector of the black diaspora, although it survives today in significant numbers; and in an illuminating conclusion, Segal addresses the appeal of Islam to African-American communities, and the perplexing refusal of Black Muslim leaders to acknowledge black slavery and oppression in present-day Mauritania and Sudan.

Events in Nairobi, Egypt, Syria and across the Middle East and North Africa are not on the library reading list. There are no films or books about attacks by Muslims against their fellow Muslims, no discussion of Shariah laws and its impact on minorities and women and nothing about the ongoing slave trade operated by Muslims buying and selling black Africans.

Perhaps a more balanced approach to at least the slavery issue is in order?

Exclusive interview with Egyptian activist Cynthia Farahat (+ Video)

Cynthia Farahat

Florida radio talk show host Tom Trento interviews Egyptian activist Cynthia Farahat on the imploding and exploding events in the Middle East. During this exclusive interview Farahat provides key insights into what is happening in Egypt and its short and long term implications on the United States and its allies.

Cynthia Farahat is an Egyptian political activist, writer and researcher. Co-founder of the Misr El-Umm (2003-06) and the Liberal Egyptian (2006-08) parties, which stood for peace with Israel, secularism, and anti-Islamism, she was under long-term surveillance by the State Security Intelligence Service before seeking political asylum in the United States in 2011.

Ms Farahat worked with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty in Cairo, and the Center for Security Policy and Coptic Solidarity. She has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and received an award from the Endowment for Middle East Truth in 2012, and the Profiles in Courage Award from ACT for America in 2013.

She is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and co-author of two books in Arabic and, among other journals, has published in the Middle East Quarterly, National Review Online, Front Page Magazine and The Washington Times.

Watch this exclusive interview with Cynthia Farahat courtesy of TrentoVision.TV and The United West:

EDITORS NOTE: Please contact Tom Trento at The United West for more information on his program and guests. WDW – FL is not responsible for the content of this broadcast.

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Editorial: Is Rubio the new face of “Progressivism”?

Florida has a penchant for growing and electing Republicans who morph into big government “progressives”. The most recent example is Marco Rubio. But he is not the first and certainly will not be the last.

Before Rubio there was Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist.

Jeb is the brother of George W. Bush, the “compassionate conservative” President. Compassionate conservative came to mean during Bush’s second term “progressive big government”. Remember it was former President  Bush who dramatically expanded Medicare (Part B) and bailed out the banks. Government stimulus is an ongoing program created by a Republican President and expanded under the current administration. G.W. Bush famously said, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” Jeb and G.W.’s father former President George H.W. Bush signed the Agenda 21 Treaty.

Charlie Crist soon after being elected governor adopted California’s carbon emission standards by issuing an Executive Order imposing them on all Floridians. Crist morphed from being a Republican, to a Progressive Independent and is now a registered Progressive Democrat. It is expected Crist will challenge Governor Rick Scott in 2014.

Jeb has visions of following in his father’s and brother’s footsteps. He has embraced President Obama’s Common Core education initiative, which will enrich Jeb and his family. In September of this year he will award the Liberty Medal to Hillary Clinton. Jeb will present the award on the eve of the deadly Benghazi attack in Libya. The Liberty medal is awarded by one of Jeb’s many foundations.

Rubio willingly became the face of the progressive goal of amnesty with the passage of the immigration bill this week. There is a pattern. While Rubio was Florida Speaker of the House he supported the REAL ID and failed to strengthen immigration laws in Florida. Many were concerned that Rubio would be pro-amnesty but he reassured Floridians that he would not during his 2010 campaign. In 2010 Rubio stated, “’an earned path to citizenship,’ such as his opponent Gov. Charlie Crist, former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain had advocated, was nothing more than a ‘code for amnesty’.”

Fast forward to this week. Greg Gutfeld, co-host of The Five on Fox News, said, “For politicians [like Rubio] immigration is more about bodies than borders.” Republicans, like Rubio, are becoming more and more progressive in their views and now actions. Many conservatives say the Republicans have compromised their principles on key issues, which according to Slade O’Brien from Florida Americans for Prosperity, “Is the art of losing slowly.”

Today, Florida Republicans are breeding the next generation of progressive politicians. Heritage Action for America scorecard gives a lower than 60% rating to six Florida Republicans in Congress, including Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL 13), who leads the Florida delegation and sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Another of the upcoming “new progressives” in Florida is Senator Nancy Detert who was given an “F” rating on the Americans for Prosperity legislative scorecard.

Is seems to more and more Americans that both Democrats and Republicans are now two squads on the same team. The only difference is who has the ball.

Gone are conservative men of conscience like former Senator Barry Goldwater, American Politician and Senator, 1909-1998. It was Goldwater who wrote:

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

While Florida Republicans may embrace Ronald Reagan, and declare they are conservatives during their campaigns, it is their actions once elected that make their true beliefs clear. Is the public conscience in decline and Republican politicians just a reflection of the “new, new”; or are they the proximate cause of the moral and cultural decline in America?

That is the question.

Killing Lee Rigby for Allah

President Obama gave a one hour national security speech yesterday, May 23rd. He addressed the global threat against America. However, the President did not discuss the why of the threat. The President stated, “Now make no mistake: Our nation is still threatened by terrorists. From Benghazi to Boston, we have been tragically reminded of that truth.” The President never mentioned the attack on Lee Rigby.

Here is the full unedited video of the attack on Lee Rigby:

But why are we still under a relentless attack?

Tom Trento, SW Florida radio talk show host on WNN AM 1490 answers the question: Why did Lee Rigby, the young soldier beheaded in London, have to die for Allah?

Trento notes, “Words fail to communicate the abject savagery of the attack by two Muslim jihadis on Lee Rigby, a 25 year old band member in the British Army. In part 1 of a two-part series the TrentoVision team digs deeply into the reason for the attack and why the West, in particular, the United States can and MUST make changes to stop Muslim immigration and seditious activity in Islamic mosques.”

PART I – Why Lee Rigby had to die for Allah:

PART II: Why Lee Rigby had to die for Allah:

Fellow soldiers described Lee Rigby as a larger-than-life personality who was liked and respected across the regiment. “Drummer Rigby, or ‘Riggers’  (he played the drum) as he was known within the platoon, was a cheeky and humorous man, always there with a joke to brighten the mood,” said Capt. Alan Williamson who was his platoon commander from 2010 to 2011.

Rigby’s family issued a brief and poignant tribute: “Lee was lovely,” the family said. “He would do anything for anybody, he always looked after his sisters and always protected them. He took a ‘big brother’ role with everyone.

“All he wanted to do from when he was a little boy, was be in the army,” the statement said. “He wanted to live life and enjoy himself. His family meant everything to him. He was a loving son, husband, father, brother  and uncle, and a friend to many.  We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time.”

Jerry Gordon, a WDW contributor notes, “The grisly Islamic slaughter perpetrated by British Nigerian converts to Islam on the streets of South East London of 26 year old British soldier Lee Rigby, an Afghan war vet who left a two year old child behind, has shocked all who have seen the video and read the news. However, the vapid unctuous comments by UK PM David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson about this heinous act not representing the real Islam or UK policy represent totally ignorance of the goals and totalitarian imperative of normative Islam. He is not alone among western politicians, save for Dutch MP Geert Wilders and a few others. Certainly, neither current President Obama, who received initial instruction in normative Islam while an impressionable child in Indonesia, and former President George W. Bush demur from this totally ignorant view of fundamentalist Islam. The mentor of the mujahideen murderer Michael Adebolajo, self-styled British Muslim Sheikh, Anjem Choudary, is totally truthful about Islam’s total lack of human rights for any non-Muslims under Sharia and doctrinal rejection of all Western civil and human rights.”

Gordon notes these comments of Choudary from an interview on an April 11, 2013 Press TV interview courtesy of MEMRI TV:

Anjem Choudary: “Let me be absolutely clear: As Muslims, we reject democracy, we reject secularism, and freedom, and human rights. We reject all of the things that you espouse as being ideals.”
Other TV guest: “You reject human rights? I believe you.”
Anjem Choudary: “There is nothing called a republic in Islam. When we talk about the shari’a, we are talking about only the shari’a. We are talking about rejecting the U.N., the IMF, and the World Bank.”

The Council on Foreign Relations reports, “President Barack Obama defended his administration’s efforts to fight terrorists overseas (ABCNews) as ‘proportional’ and ;just,’ but said he would seek to curtail drone use, limit presidential war powers, and work to close the Guantanamo prison as part of a gradual winding down of the fight against terrorism that began in 2001. Obama’s proposals were welcomed in the two countries most affected by drone strikes (AP), Pakistan and Yemen, although Pakistan says the strikes should stop completely.”

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A Call to Courage Over Benghazi

The following op-ed is posted with permission of the author Joseph R. John, Captain, USN (Ret), a 1962 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress:

Admiral James A. Lyons, US Navy (Ret.) USNA ‘52, USN (Ret) former Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet and the former Senior US Military Representative to the UN

After eight months of stonewalling the Congress, an article by Admiral James A. Lyons, US Navy (Ret.) titled “A call to courage over Benghazi” calls for Congress to take action to force the Obama Administration to provide the American people with the truth about what happened leading to the attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The article is a further attempt to shed light on the heroic actions of two Navy SEALS who saved 32 American lives during the assault on the Benghazi Consulate.

That attack was perpetrated by over 150+ Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorists, from Ansar al-Shariah, in a well-coordinated and premeditated commando style assault on the US Consultant. US Ambassador Stevens, two heroic Navy SEALs (Glen Doherty and Tyrone Wood), and the Ambassador’s aide were assassinated.

The two Navy SEALs were not part of the Ambassador’s security detail, yet the White House intentionally misreported their status as such.

They were killed in the Consul Annex. They had previously jumped into the breach to try to save the lives of the Americans in the Consulate. Despite urgent and desperate calls for help from Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens sent directly to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she and her staff ignored Ambassador Stevens repeated cries for help, and let him twist in the wind for 8 hours, until he was delivered to a hospital with severe wounds, where he finally died about 4 hours after the attack began.

The article was forwarded by ADM James A Lyons, Jr., USNA ‘52, USN (Ret) former Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet and the former Senior US Military Representative to the UN. He is calling for the establishment of a Select Committee in the House of Representatives to investigate and respond to the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. To date 122 Congressmen have signed on to House Resolution 36 calling for the establishment of a House Select Committee on the Benghazi Attack.

House Speaker John A. Boehner has been stonewalling the establishment of such a Select Committee.

Everyone in the Benghazi Consulate knew in the very beginning of the attack at, 9:40 PM on September 11th, that the attack was a well-planned and premeditated attack by Al Qaeda terrorists with heavy weapons, RPGs, and mortars, and Ambassador Stevens reported that fact, over and over again the Consulate and the Navy SEALs kept requesting support, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the White House Situation Room, and to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Yet for a period extending for over 2 weeks after the terrorist attack, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Obama in his speech to the UN (2 weeks after the attack) kept repeating that the attack was the result of a Libyan civilian demonstration against a YouTube video on the Internet that went bad—we do not think anyone in Libya has ever seen that that fathom video.

THE TIMELINE:

On March 28, the Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens requested additional security of Secretary Hillary Clinton; she turned him down on April 12th.

On May 3rd, the State Department turned down a request for a Security Team from the Libyan Embassy.

On May 22nd Terrorist attack Red Cross Office in Benghazi (the Red Cross Office in Benghazi was closed after the attack); at that time, the US Consulate was warned of a pending attack. On June 6th, terrorists attacked the US Consulate and blew a hole through Consulate wall.

On June 6th, Ambassador Stevens was told his Security Team contract would “not” be renewed. June 22nd, Ambassador Stevens warned the State Department that extremist groups were operating openly in Benghazi.

On June 7th, Ambassador Stevens asked the State Department for two Security Teams to protect US personnel in Benghazi (the request was rejected). On June 10th, the British Ambassador survived an assassination attempt on his convoy and Al Qaeda Terrorists openly rallied in Benghazi (the British Consulate in Benghazi was closed after the assassination attempt).

On July 9th, Ambassador Stevens mad a request for 13 more security personnel to protect the Benghazi Consulate. Instead, to protect the embattled diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the State Department hired the Libyan Militia Group, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, that had clear Al Q’ieda sympathies; they were hired to protect the Consulate, even though it had prominently displayed the black Al Q’ieda flag on its Facebook page for many months.

On July 21th, the Regional State Department Security Officer warned the State Department that the risk to the US Consulate in Benghazi was HIGH.

On August 2nd, Ambassador Stevens sent another urgent cable directly to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton requesting a “protective bodyguard detail” for him because he was in danger.

On August 5th, the State Department ordered the “removal” of Ambassador Stevens Security Team.

On August 15th, there was an emergency meeting in the US Consulate in Benghazi on security matters.

On August 16th, the Regional Security Officer sent a direct E-mail to Secretary of State Clinton warning of the dire security situation developing in Benghazi.

On September 8th, the Benghazi Security Officer warned the Department of State and the Secretary of State of imminent attacks.

On September 10th, the Al Qaeda Leader, Ayman al-Zawahri publically called for Libyans to avenge the death of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri’s deputy, Abu Yahya al-Lib, on September 11, 2013, the anniversary of the Al Q’ieda terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

On September 11th:

Ambassador Stevens warned the State Department via cable of the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi, and meets with a Turkish diplomat at 7:30 PM in the Benghazi Consulate.

At 8:00 PM, Al Qaeda terrorists set up check points around the Benghazi Consulate. At 8:30 PM. Ambassador Stevens ended his meeting with the Turkish diplomat.

At 9:40 PM, terrorist fire the first shots in the coordinated attack on the Benghazi Consulate, and Ambassador Stevens called Hicks in Tripoli to tell him that he was now under attack by terrorists, and asked for help.

At 9:59 PM, the Pentagon ordered a surveillance drone to overfly the Benghazi Consulate; from that point on, the White House Situation Room, the CIA, the State Department, and the Pentagon could view live video feed of the ongoing attack in Benghazi (the live feed continued for 8 hours with a second relief surveillance drone).

At 10:05 PM, the Benghazi Consulate was in flames for all to see on live video feed, and messages were being transmitted between the White House, the State Department, the CIA, and the Pentagon.

At 00:06 AM on September 12th, Ansar Al-Sharia claimed responsibility for the attack on the Consulate.

At 1:00 AM, on September 12th, the body of Ambassador Stevens was transported to the hospital by friendly local Libyans for medical attention; that was 3 hours and 20 minutes after the attack began.

At 4:00 AM, on September 12th, two Navy Seals were killed on the roof of the Consul Annex; that was 6 hours and 20 minutes after the attack began.

On September 12th, at 3:00 PM Washington, DC time, about 3 hours after the Navy SEALs were killed, Obama departed for a Las Vegas fundraising rally.

THE MILITARY SUPPORT THAT WAS AVAILABLE:

It is a well-known fact that F-16 fighter aircraft based in Aviano, Italy could have arrive over the scene of the attack on the Consulate in 90 minutes, and could have retaliated against the Al Qaeda terrorists to save the lives of those under attack. In addition, there was also a 130-man US Marine Corps Marine Force Recon Team at Sigonella, Italy that was on the tarmac, ready for deployment, which could have arrived at the compound within 2 hours. General Carter Ham, Commander African Command, was relieved of his command, when he ignored the White House’s order to “stand down”, and tried to send a military reaction force to save the lives of the Americans under attack, which was only several hours away.

General Petraeus at CIA put out an urgent request for military assistance to the White House, in order to save American lives, but the White House ignored his request. The entire attack was viewed by live video feed from two separate drones overflying the on-going attack for 8 hours; one of those drones could have been armed and to strike the terrorist. For 8 months 32 survivors of the attack, whose lives were saved by the two Navy SEALS, have relayed their fear of intimidation from the Obama Administration; they hired attorneys and informed congressmen that they have been threatened and were warned not to testify as to what actually happened leading up to, during, and following the Benghazi attack. The Foreign Emergency Support Team that is required to be called up by the Secretary of State, to arrive a US Mission within 48 hours to preserve and protect all forensic evidence after an attack for FBI investigation, was never called up by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and 8 months later, the Foreign Emergency Support Team still has not been called up.

THE COVER-UP:

Even before the attack in Libya ended, intelligence officials pieced together the puzzle of the events unfolding in Benghazi, and concluded that Q’ieda-linked terrorists were responsible for the attack; the Obama administration asked to modify the findings. Senior Obama Administration Officials in the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House, sought to cover-up the emerging picture and downplayed the significance of the attack just before the national election. On September 15, three days after the Navy SEALs were killed by Al Qaeda, and everyone in Obama’s National Security apparatus knew the attack was perpetrated by Al Qaeda terrorists; Obama publicly blamed the attack on Libyan civilians, who he said were demonstrating against a YouTube video on the Internet.

The next day, on the morning of September 16th, UN Ambassador Susan Rice in 5 Sunday morning TV network programs, stated the attack was by Libyan civilians demonstrating against a YouTube video on the Internet, even though she knew that Al Qaeda terrorist executed the attack. On the same day, Susan Rice kept repeating the same lie, over and over again, the Libyan President reported to the world press that the attack that killed US Ambassador Stevens and two Navy SEALs was planned and executed by terrorist. Four days later, on September 20th, once again Obama blamed the attack on civilians demonstrating against a YouTube video on he Internet. On September 25st, even though he knew it was a lie, Obama, in a speech at the UN, blamed the attack on Libyan civilians who were demonstrating against a YouTube video on the Internet. On October 10th, the State Department said they had no previous warnings of the September 11th attack on the Benghazi Consulate.

The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, who headed up the Accountability Review Board, the Obama Administration’s Official Investigation of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

His official report, alleged that for over an 8 hour period, no military assistance was available or could be deployed in time to oppose the Al Q’ieda terrorist attack. That unconscionable and flagrant lie by Mullen has been proven to be a false whitewash  and was only inserted in the report, to give the Obama Administration’s political cover for the deceitful and shameful failure by a Commander-in-Chief’s dereliction of duty; he ignored repeated and desperate requests for help from Ambassador Stevens and the two Navy SEALs, requesting protection of their lives and the lives of State Department personnel under attack in Benghazi by Al Qaeda terrorists. The then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, the current head of the CIA John Brennan, and the National Security Agency have all been involved in a massive cover-up; they all knew full well that F-16 fighters support was just 90 minutes away and that other military reaction teams were just several hours away.

Mullen knows that his statement that military protective support was not available was a cover-up. Mullen’s report covered up the murder of two Navy SEALs. He disgraced the Navy uniform he once wore.

RELATED COLUMNS:

Clinton kept counterterrorism out of loop, Benghazi testimony will show

24 September 2012: Body of lies from Benghazi to Barack
5 October 2012: Diplomatic Deception
8 October 2012: Lemmings… At the precipice of WW III
23 October 2012: Death Race Damascus: 13 Days in October
26 October 2012: The hidden real truth about Benghazi
29 October 2012: Obama’s October surprise – exposed by Benghazi?
1 November 2012: Abandoning America’s honor
5 November 2012: Obama’s real world game of Risk
10 November 2012: Cover-up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
11 November 2012: The “secret” information by Paula Broadwell
13 November 2013: Sex, Lies and Obama Ben Ghazi – A Shakespearean tragedy
27 November 2012: Benghazi explained: Interview with “Intelligence Insider” (Part I)
29 November 2012: Benghazi explained: Interview with “Intelligence Insider” (Part II)
11 December 2012: Benghazi explained: Interview with “Intelligence Insider” (Part III)
2 December 2012: Behind the lies of Benghazi
4 December 2012: Chemical weapons reports in Syria, exactly as warned
19 December 2012: The wretched absurdity of the Benghazi Report
8 January 2013: Flashing red lies of Benghazi
24 January 2013: Running down the clock on Benghazi
21 February 2013: Brennan: From Barack to Benghazi
25 April 2013: Benghazi Report: Trinkets of Treason

The complete Benghazi timeline courtesy of the American Thinker in spreadsheet form:

For a larger view click on the image.