President Donald Trump is renewing his demand that Congress fund a wall on the southern border after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed from injuries inccurred while working over the weekend in southwest Texas, while his partner was injured.
“Border Patrol officer killed at southern border, another badly hurt,” the president said in a tweet. “We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the wall!”
Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, and his partner were responding to “activity” in Van Horn, Texas. Martinez died and his partner, not named by officials or in news accounts, is reportedly hospitalized. News reports Monday morning said the government hasn’t confirmed what the agents were responding to.
The cause of death is not known. Jeanette Harper, with the FBI’s El Paso, Texas, office told the San Antonio Express-News: “They were not fired upon. There are so many different agencies working together that we need to come together and develop a timeline.”
“Earlier this morning, I was notified that Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez died as a result of serious injuries suffered while on patrol in the Big Bend Sector of our southern border in Texas,” acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said in a public statement. The Border Patrol is a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
Agent Martinez was responding to activity while on patrol with another agent, who was also seriously injured. We are fully supporting the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of this tragic event. On behalf of the quarter of a million frontline officers and agents of DHS, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Agent Martinez and to the agent who is in serious condition.
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.”
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/U.S.-Army-Sgt.-Joshua-A.-Berry.jpg355640Judicial Watchhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngJudicial Watch2017-11-20 17:11:242017-11-20 17:11:45The Forgotten Soldier: U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua A. Berry
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway indirectly endorsed Judge Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate. In the below video Conway focused on Judge Moore’s opponent calling him “doctrinaire liberal” who is weak on crime, borders and who will raise taxes. She said, “Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled.”
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/roy-moore-us-senate-e1511208949202.jpg360640Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2017-11-20 15:10:362017-11-21 20:03:43VIDEO: Kellyanne Conway indirectly endorses Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate
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.”
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)
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/Victor-Fuentes.jpg360640The Daily Signalhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Daily Signal2017-11-20 14:50:272017-11-20 14:50:27Trump Administration Cites MS-13 Arrest to Push Change in Minor Immigrant Law
President Donald Trump is making welfare reform a major priority and will sign an executive order laying out the administration’s goals while also urging action by Congress, a White House official said Thursday.
Trump’s executive order will be twofold, said Paul Winfree, director of budget policy at the White House. The order will state the Trump administration’s principles for welfare reform of empowering individuals and learning from state and local initiatives, and then direct federal agencies to come back to the president with recommendations for implementing the principles.
“Welfare reform is something that is very important to the president,” Winfree said during a panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation’s anti-poverty forum on Thursday. “It’s something that excites him. It’s something that he has a lot of energy about.”
The White House is also working with Congress on reform proposals, Winfree said, but in the short term is looking at what federal agencies can do unilaterally. The federal government has 89 different welfare programs spread across 14 departments and agencies.
Winfree explained the two priorities of Trump’s upcoming executive order.
The first thing it does, it sets out a series of principles for welfare reform that we would like to be a message to Capitol Hill and the direction we want to take. … We want to empower people. We want to learn from the states. We want to learn from local communities.
One of the messages is that I’ve been driving to essentially our staff and our agencies on welfare reform and the direction we are taking is this message that it’s people that help people. It’s not governments that help people.
So, how do we learn from people who are actually in the communities actually helping people and then ultimately empower them by either getting out of the way or redirecting the resources in their direction to essentially reward successes without a unilateral approach or without just kicking it to the states and transition [to] what is essentially a federal role into a state role.
The second half of the executive order, which is yet to be signed, essentially directs agencies to take a look at the principles and then figure out what they can do on their own to start meeting some of the objectives that are out there through changes in regulation and guidance and then to ultimately submit those recommendations to the president for an evaluation.
The last sweeping welfare reform package came more than two decades ago, passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton. However, Robert Rector, who helped shape some of the 1996 bill, said new improvements are needed.
“The current welfare system harms the very poor that it’s trying to help,” Rector, a senior research fellow for domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, said. “We need a reformed welfare system that promotes work and marriage, and rewards outcomes rather than simply greater spending.”
The Heritage Foundation is supportive of the principles in several proposals in Congress now.
A bill by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and companion House bill by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, would require all welfare programs to strengthen existing work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program; and establish a real work requirement in food stamps. Separately, a bill by Rep. Garrett Graves would require work requirements for the food stamp program.
Other members of Congress have talked about saving $15 billion annually by eliminating fraud, waste, and excessive benefits in the earned income tax credit, while making the program more encouraging of work. Others call for removing the marriage penalty with regards to welfare programs.
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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.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/donald-trump-amnesty-dreamers-e1511196594928.jpg355640The Daily Signalhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Daily Signal2017-11-20 11:50:192017-11-20 11:50:19VIDEO: Why Amnesty Should Not Be Part of any ‘Deal’ on DACA
On Friday, President Donald Trump announced the addition of five individuals to his outstanding list of potential candidates for a future Supreme Court vacancy.
As was the case with the lists Trump put out during his presidential campaign, these new additions to the list are conservative men and women who are committed to interpreting the Constitution according to its original public meaning.
While there are currently no vacancies on the Supreme Court, rumors abound that Justice Anthony Kennedy may retire in the near future. Here’s a look at the new names.
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Age: Approximately 45
Barrett, a former University of Notre Dame law professor, was recently confirmed to the 7th Circuit. After graduating from Rhodes College and Notre Dame Law School, Barrett clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman on the D.C. Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.
She then worked in private practice (where she was part of the team that represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore) before starting her career in academia, teaching briefly at George Washington University and the University of Virginia before joining the Notre Dame Law faculty in 2002.
Barrett is a prolific writer, having published in leading law reviews across the country on topics including originalism, federal court jurisdiction, and the supervisory power of the Supreme Court.
In 2010, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed her to the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, where she served for six years.
At her confirmation hearing in September, Senate Democrats chided her for her writings as a law student in 1998 and asked inappropriate questions about her Catholic faith. But Barrett received robust bipartisan support from the legal community, including from Neal Katyal, a prominent liberal who served as President Barack Obama’s acting solicitor general.
Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia
Age: Approximately 39
Appointed to Georgia’s highest court by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2016, Grant previously served as the state’s solicitor general and in other capacities in the state attorney general’s office. She also worked in the George W. Bush administration, serving on the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Cabinet Affairs.
Grant began working at the White House weeks before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and after that horrific day, her mission became making government “as effective as it can be and as protective of liberty as it can be.”
Earlier in her career, she served as an aide to then-Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., on Capitol Hill, clerked for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit, and worked in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis, one of the top appellate law firms in Washington, D.C.
She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Wake Forest University.
In a letter recommending her appointment to the state’s high court, Kavanaugh praised Grant’s “superb” writing, which is “[o]ne of the most important duties” of judges. In her 11 months on the bench, she’s heard numerous cases and displayed her excellent writing abilities.
In a recent decision reinstating criminal charges against a woman who secretly filmed her boss in the nude, Grant wrote a special concurrence agreeing with the judgment but not the reasoning of the majority. The majority analogized a state law criminalizing “hostile intrusion or surveillance” by a private party with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She explained, “[t]he statute cannot bear the weight that the Fourth Amendment puts on it when addressing the behavior of private parties and not of the government” and that it “addresses a privacy interest quite different than the one that we all share against government search and seizure.”
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Age: 52
A former clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy and graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Kavanaugh worked as a senior associate counsel and assistant to President George W. Bush and as an associate independent counsel.
He was nominated to the D.C. Circuit in 2003 but not confirmed until 2006.
Former Attorney General William Barr stated that Kavanaugh “quickly established himself as one of the key outside lawyers I went to on some of my toughest legal issues. He has a keen intellect, exceptional analytical skills, and sound judgment. His writing is fluid and precise. I found that he was able to see all sides of an issue and appreciate the strengths and weakness of competing approaches. He was particularly effective in dealing with novel issues which required some original thinking.”
Kavanaugh recently delivered the annual Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture at Heritage—joining the ranks of Justice Clarence Thomas and many other renowned federal judges. He spoke eloquently about the judiciary’s essential role in maintaining the separation of powers.
Kevin Newsom, former all-star appellate lawyer, was confirmed to the 11th Circuit in August. After graduating from Samford University and Harvard Law School, Newsom clerked for Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain on the 9th Circuit and Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. He then worked in private practice before serving as Alabama’s solicitor general.
After five years of government service, Newsom went back to private practice where he became a partner at Birmingham’s Bradley Arant.
Before joining the bench, Newsom had an extensive Supreme Court practice, arguing four cases at the high court and authoring dozens of cert. petitions and amicus briefs. Newsom has won countless awards for his work, including the National Association of Attorneys General’s Best Brief Award four times.
He has argued more than 30 cases in federal appellate courts across the country as well as in Alabama’s appellate courts. In 2011, Roberts, the chief justice, appointed Newsom to the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.
Justice, Supreme Court of Oklahoma
Patrick Wyrick is the youngest person on the Trump list, at 36 years old. Then again, Joseph Story was only 32 when he was nominated by President James Madison to serve as an associate justice to the Supreme Court, a position in which he served with great distinction for nearly 34 years.
Wyrick was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court last February, after serving as the state’s solicitor general for six years.
As solicitor general, Wyrick argued cases before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and also successfully argued Glossip v. Gross (a case challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection) before the U.S. Supreme Court.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma and that school’s College of Law, Wyrick clerked for U.S. District Court Judge James Payne.
When Wyrick was nominated to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, then-State Attorney General Scott Pruitt described Wyrick as “a superb lawyer” and “a constitutional scholar well-versed in both state and federal law … ” He added that Wyrick’s “wisdom, compassion, and integrity are unparalleled among the many public servants with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working.”
In his short time on the bench, Wyrick has written some noteworthy opinions, including the majority opinion in a case striking down a fee that the Oklahoma Legislature imposed on cigarette companies for violating a provision in the Oklahoma Constitution that sets forth the procedures that must be followed before enacting a “revenue raising” measure.
Although young, Wyrick’s meteoric legal career could ultimately land him on the high court.
We commend the president for taking the utmost care in continuing to identify outstanding individuals to serve on all levels of the federal bench.
John G. Malcolm oversees The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law as director of the think tank’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research. Twitter: @malcolm_john.
Elizabeth Slattery writes about the rule of law, the proper role of the courts, civil rights and equal protection, and the scope of constitutional provisions such as the Commerce Clause and the Recess Appointments Clause as a legal fellow in the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read her research. Twitter: @EHSlattery.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/trump-at-podium-1-e1511179638176.jpg379640The Daily Signalhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngThe Daily Signal2017-11-20 07:06:052017-11-20 07:08:31Meet These 5 Stellar Conservatives Trump Just Added to His Supreme Court List
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/middle-east-chrystal-ball.jpg359640Wallace Bruschweilerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngWallace Bruschweiler2017-11-19 19:40:362017-11-19 19:40:36Look Ahead in the Middle East: 6-12 Months in a Crystal Ball
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….
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/PLO-OFFICE-WASHINGTON.jpg359640Robert Spencerhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngRobert Spencer2017-11-19 06:07:502017-11-19 06:07:50Trump administration threatens to shut down Palestinian office in Washington, D.C.
PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – Faithful Catholics were forcibly removed and arrested for praying the Rosary in a Catholic church in Paris.
In response to an ecumenical service held in the Parish of Our Lady of White Mantles commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, about a dozen young Catholic men made reparation for what they deemed a sacrilege by praying French and Latin prayers and hymns during the service. After jeers from Catholics and Protestants in attendance, the men were arrested, some carried out of the church.
Medias-Presse-Info, a French speaking site, posted the video, noting, “The madness being without limit, these young Catholics were evacuated manu militari [with military aid] by the police for having prayed the Rosary in a Catholic church!”
“Young Catholics have expressed their opposition to seeing Protestantism, fought and condemned by the popes and the Council of Trent for centuries, to infiltrate the Catholic Church today,” the article continues.
While the organist tried to drown out the men’s voices, it was clear many of those in attendance were angered by the men’s presence. Some argued with the men and harassed them, one lady even smacking one of them in the face with a piece of paper. They continued kneeling in prayer until police arrived and forcibly removed them.
While much of what is being said is unintelligible owing to the the loud organ music, you can hear them singing Christus Vincit, “Christ Victorious,” when police remove them from the church.
Father Benoît-Marie Roque, the parish priest of Our Lady of White Mantles, wrote about the event on the parish website, noting that just over 150 people attended and they had “a celebration, obviously not eucharistic, whose stakes were strongly emphasized by different events.”
Father Roque explained that preparations for the event took a long time. Leaders of different parishes met with groups led by video “reflections” from the various clergy. Together, they developed “95 Reasons to Hope,” a collection of biblical passages to counter Martin Luther’s 95 theses.
Interior of the church from 1808
The vast majority of comments on Medias-Presse-Info are supportive of the young men. One comment left by a man named Patrick reads:
I see a lady dancing in the church, young people who are being attacked by another lady who hits them with leaves and treats them as “[expletive]”. Then the police intervene to brutally expel young people who are praying. One of the police officers holds one of the youngsters firmly by the collar to talk to him. Is this the way for a representative of the order [to behave]? Then,as they continue to pray, they are lined up against a wall. The police take them out one by one as if they were going to the scaffold.
Our Lady of the White Mantles has been “a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin (Aunnunciation) since 1258.” A number of church buildings have stood on that spot, with construction of current one started in 1685. The history of the parish explains, “Notre-Dame des Blancs-Manteaux is, presumably, in Paris, with the Cathedral and after it, the oldest sanctuary dedicated to [Our Lady].”
This event follows a similar protest at the cathedral of St. Michael and St. Cudula in Brussels in late October. The cathedral was the site of an attack by Protestants in the 16th century where Protestants destroyed sacred images they called “idolatrous.”
There, 12 men linked arms while reciting the Rosary to make reparations for an ecumencial service commemorating the Protestant Reformation. The protestors were heckled by people there to “celebrate,” while the organ and choir attempted to drown out the sound of their prayers before police arrived to remove them from the church.
One of the men spoke with Church Militant, who asked to remain anonymous, explaining his inspiration.
“We didn’t do it in a spirit of polemics towards faithful priests,” he clarified, “just in a spirit of reparation and resistance against profanation and celebration of a revolt against the Holy Catholic Church.”
He added, “We were in part inspired by The Catholic Gentleman, and I also listen to your Resistance podcasts for some good advice, of course. I’m a regular viewer of ChurchMilitant.com content.”
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/2017-11-14-2017-e1511028231415.jpg387640Church Militanthttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngChurch Militant2017-11-18 13:04:092017-11-18 13:04:09VIDEO: French Catholics forcibly removed, arrested for praying Rosary in Church
A few weeks ago I was joined by my favorite energy economist, Michael Lynch, for a fireside chat hosted by Harvard Business School. It was a great discussion and the audience asked a lot of thoughtful questions. You can now view the video of that event:
Mr. Epstein Goes to Washington
I’ll be in DC the week of November 27 to share my approach to reframing the energy debate with some high-level officials. It looks like I’ll be speaking to the Congressional Coal Caucus on Wednesday, November 29. On November 30, I’ll be speaking at the Crossroads IV: Energy and Climate Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. The event is presented by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation and includes some of the world’s leading scientists, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and energy experts. I will be speaking on the moral case for fossil fuels. The event is nearly sold out, but there will be a waiting list. You can find more information at https://www.crossroads-summit.com.
ALSO: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help your organization turn non-supporters into supporters and turn supporters into champions.
Hire me to speak at your next event.
Fill out the free Constructive Conversation Scorecard to assess where you are and where you want to be in your one-on-one communications. Email it back to me and I’ll send you my step-by-step Constructive Conversation System that will enable you to talk to anyone about energy.
Hold a Constructive Conversation workshop.
For the last two years I have been testing and refining an approach to one-on-one conversations that anybody can use. I call it the Constructive Conversation Formula. If you have between 5-20 people who interact frequently with stakeholders and want custom guidance on how to win hearts and minds, just reply to this email and put “Workshop” in the subject line.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/epstein-harvard-e1511023096328.png347640Alex Epsteinhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngAlex Epstein2017-11-18 11:38:452017-11-18 11:41:44VIDEO: Alex Epstein -- Harvard Business School Fireside Chat
Less than three hours after the tragedy at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was looking to score political points. As is his custom, Murphy fired off a tweet admonishing his colleagues for their refusal to submit to the gun control lobby’s agenda. However, in the following hours, as more information about the shooting became available, it became clear the event didn’t fit so neatly into Murphy’s preconceived anti-gun narrative.
Reports began to come out that an armed citizen, later identified as NRA Member and former NRA Instructor Stephen Willeford, had engaged the shooter with his own firearm, prompting the killer to flee the scene. With little information and no qualms about denigrating the brave actions of an American hero, the omniscient Murphy tweeted, “Let’s be clear – nobody ‘stopped’ this shooting…” At the time Willeford engaged the shooter, there were at least 20 people still alive inside the church. A heart-rending account provided to the Washington Post by David Brown, son of wounded churchgoer Farida Brown, made clear that Farida Brown feared the shooter was not finished killing when Willeford came on the scene.
Murphy’s attempt to dismiss Willeford’s courageous response to the shooting is in keeping with gun control advocates’ longstanding messaging efforts and shows the depths anti-gun activists will sink to bury the facts. According to these gun-control proponents, good guys with guns don’t stop bad guys with guns.
In order to justify this position, gun control activists ignore cases where armed civilians have put a halt to mass violence. Like a perverse Goldilocks, gun controllers will discount cases where a criminal was stopped before they were able to carry out sufficient carnage, and, as in the case of the shooting in Southerland Springs, dismiss a case where the killer was able to exact significant violence before an armed citizen could arrive.
When you look past gun control advocates and much of the media’s biased filtering, there are a number of documented cases where armed citizens have confronted these types of killers and likely saved lives. Here are just a handful:
On August 1, 1966, a madman went to the observation deck of the University of Texas at Austin Tower and began firing at those on the ground, eventually killing 14. During the shooting, several citizens retrieved their personal firearms and returned fire. According to a university effort to compile a complete historical record of the incident, “The ground fire did pin down Whitman, most likely keeping him from killing more people.” One eyewitness told Texas Monthly in 2006, “It seemed like every other guy had a rifle. There was a sort of cowboy atmosphere, this ‘Let’s get him’ spirit.”
On January 16, 2002, a disgruntled former student returned to Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va. and shot two school officials. According to an account from student Tracy Bridges printed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, he and fellow student Michael Gross retrieved firearms from their vehicles and went to confront the shooter. Along with two other students, Bridges and Gross were able to subdue the killer until police could arrive. In his book, The Bias Against Guns, Economist John Lott pointed out that “out of 208 news stories (from a computerized Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four stories mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns.”
On December 9, 2007, a man entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. after having killed two people earlier in day at a Christian center in Arvada, Colo. The killer was met by volunteer armed church security guard Jeanne Assam. Describing her actions, Assam said, “I took cover. I identified myself. I engaged him. I took him down.” Following the incident, Church Pastor Brady Boyd called Assam a hero and explained, “Three people are needlessly dead, but many more lives could have been lost.”
On April 17, 2015, a man fired into a crowd of people in Chicago’s Logan Square. John Hendricks, an Uber driver and Right-to-Carry permit holder, drew a handgun and shot the assailant, who collapsed onto the sidewalk. Recalling his experience for the Chicago Tribune, Hendricks explained, “There was a threat to me and I helped somebody in the process as well… It’s a positive feeling.”
On May 5, 2015, a deranged man drove into the parking lot of a fire station in New Holland, S.C. According to a report from WIS-TV, several children and firefighters were in the lot. The man then exited his vehicle with a firearm and shot into the air and at his own automobile. Firefighter Gary Knoll and one of his colleagues, both Right-to-Carry permit holders, drew firearms and confronted the man. Knoll and his colleagues were able to disarm the man and detain him until police could arrive. Speaking to the local media about the importance of exercising the Right-to-Carry, Knoll said, “It saved a life, if not multiple.”
On May 3, 2017, a man entered the Zona Caliente sports bar in Arlington, Texas, began speaking incoherently, and opened fire. At the time of the shooting, there were more than a dozen people inside the restaurant. A patron, who was also a Right-to-Carry permit holder, shot and killed the shooter, ending the incident. Arlington Police Spokesman Christopher Cook told the Dallas Morning News that the armed citizen was a “hero,” and noted that he “prevented further loss of life.”
In an interview with NRA, Willeford recalled the moment when he became aware of the gunfire at the church and said, “I kept hearing those shots and I knew every shot might be representing another person getting hit by a bullet.” Acting as fast as he could, Willeford retrieved his rifle, grabbed a handful of ammunition, and raced out his door barefoot towards the church. Anyone who has seen the NRA video, or Willeford’s other interviews, can see the anguish of a man who wishes he could have done even more to protect his community. Maybe Willeford’s heroic response wasn’t enough for Murphy to consider him a good guy with a gun, but the survivors in Sutherland Springs and the decent portion of America likely disagree.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/ignore-key-e1511006797982.jpg360640NRA Institute for Legislative Actionhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngNRA Institute for Legislative Action2017-11-18 07:12:292017-11-18 07:12:29Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns
The OCC said it decided to release the information regarding payment of awards and settlements regarding all types of harassment due to the mass amounts of recent inquiries. In the released statement, OCC executive director Susan Tsui Grundmann explained that these cases originate from multiple offices inside of the legislative branch, other than the House or the Senate. [Emphasis added]
Therefore the number of persons sexually abused by members of Congress and others in the legislative branch of the federal government over the past 20 years could be as high as 871 individuals. The two largest annual payouts from this Congressional slush fund are: $3,974,077 to 10 individuals in 2002 and $4,053,274 to 25 individuals in 2007 under the administration of former President George W. Bush. Under the administration of former President Barack Obama the slush fund paid out a total of $5,034,508 to 111 individuals.
What we do not know is how many members of Congress and legislative branch are/were the sexual predators in the cases reported resulting in a payment made.
If each case reported that resulted in a payment was perpetrated by one member of Congress then potentially 49% of members of Congress and those serving in the legislative branch are/were sexual predators. We understand that the members of Congress as well as administrations have changed over the past 20 years. Different members of Congress and those in the Executive Branch retire or are voted out of office. However, the numbers are what they are.
It would be unthinkable that one person committed all 264 reported cases of sexual abuse that resulted in all of the over $17 million in payments made. Given the larger number of potentially 871 (reported and unreported) victims gives us an annual average of over 87 acts of sexual abuse by members of Congress and the legislative branch over the past 20 years.
We will only know the truth when:
Congress release the names of those paid.
Congress release the names of the members/employees who are/were a sexual predator.
Others who did not report sexual abuse and did not receive a payment must be encouraged to come forward. Perhaps given immunity and compensation?
This is a major scandal that members of Congress and members of past administrations had to know about this sexual abuse, if for no other reason than money exchanged hands and non-disclosure documents were signed and records kept.
Perhaps it is time for President Trump to demand that the Republican leadership in Congress release all of the names, dates, payment details and release those who signed non-disclosure agreements from previous administrations if possible. Or the President demand that the U.S. Congress release the names, dates and payment details.
It is past the time to know how deep this rabbit hole truly is.
It is time to actually drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/Capitol_1-e1510917902117.jpg369640Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2017-11-17 06:25:402017-11-22 18:24:19Drain the Swamp: Demand that Congress release all the information on sexual abuses by its members
Congressman Buchanan, along with Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan, recently called for Judge Roy Moore to step down as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama after unsubstantiated sexual misconduct allegations appeared in a Washington Post article.
Now it has been revealed that the U.S. Congress has a “secret slush fund” to pay off those who have accused members of Congress of sexual misconduct. To date according to multiple sources over $15 million of taxpayer dollars have been used to hush up this scandal. Congressman Buchanan because of his Ways and Means position has to know about this “slush fund.”
QUESTION: Will Congressman Buchanan put his morals where his mouth is by exposing his predator colleagues in Congress and call for them to step down?
Laura Ingraham has this report by a former staffer speaking out about Congress’ sexual misconduct:
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are so predatory that female staffers are advised not to ride in elevators alone with them, according to accounts compiled by CNN.
Females are also admonished to be careful of male lawmakers who sleep in their offices — another “unwritten” rule that women on Capitol Hill live by, according to the outlet.
The outlet spoke to more than 50 lawmakers, current and former staffers, and other political veterans, who revealed a culture so rife with sexual harassment that there is an informal “creep list” of lawmakers to avoid.
[ … ]
The “creep list” of male lawmakers — mostly in the House of Representatives but also in the Senate — are “notorious for inappropriate or predatory behavior,” according to the story. A female congresswoman said “half are harassers,” of her male counterparts, before quickly adding, only “some are harassers.”
The House Ethics Committee has ended its years-long probe into Florida GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan, finding no wrongdoing by the lawmaker, the secretive panel announced Friday.
The Justice Department and Federal Election Commission long ago stopped looking into Buchanan, the Ethics Committee noted in its report on the case.
Friday’s announcement is a highly unusual one for Ethics as it was not publicly known that Buchanan was still under investigation by the panel, and there was no requirement that a report or statement clearing him be issued.
“I’m very pleased the committee conducted a thorough review of the facts and reached a unanimous and bipartisan conclusion that I did nothing wrong,” Buchanan said in a statement.
Buchanan has been under scrutiny for the last several years after a former business partner alleged that the Florida Republican used straw donors to funnel tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to his 2006 and 2008 campaigns via employees at his car dealerships.
When a woman accused of adultery was sentenced to death by stoning, Jesus’ in John 8:7, said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
There is a proverb which states, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Perhaps no members of the House of Representatives should cast stones?
Congressional Office of Compliance just released a year-by-year breakdown of harassment settlements and awards:
NOTE: Congressman Buchanan was elected to the Congress in 2006 and sworn in in 2007. In 2007 according to the Congressional Office of Compliance over $4 million was awarded to 25 individuals. Every year since Mr. Buchanan has been in office more and more settlements have been made.
EDITORS NOTE: We have contacted Congressman Buchanan’s offices in Washington, D.C. and Sarasota, FL for comment but have not received a reply at the time of publication of this column. In an email to Congressman Buchanan we asked the following questions:
Will you release the names of every member and demand that they step down?
Will you disclose the names of those abused.
Will you disclose the amount of money allocated to each victim?
Will you disclose the process under which these cases are handled.
If we we receive a statement from Mr. Buchanan we will publish it.
UPDATE 11/17/2017: After repeated calls to Congressman Buchanan’s office we have yet to receive any response.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/vern-buchanan-1.jpg370640Dr. Rich Swierhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngDr. Rich Swier2017-11-16 07:13:552017-11-17 10:43:39VIDEO: Will Congressman Vern Buchanan put his morals where his mouth it?
Can you imagine if NBC invited Christians on air to read the Bible all day long? Believe it or not, that’s exactly how the National Broadcasting Company wanted to celebrate President Franklin Roosevelt’s first National Bible Week. Unfortunately for the radio station, the 24-hour reading, scheduled for December 7, 1941, never happened. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor did instead.
Although the plans were interrupted by one of the worst attacks on American soil, the National Bible Association adapted. And in between reports of the tragedy, members of the group streamed into the studio to read Scripture that was broadcast across America during breaks in the war coverage.
Now, 76 years later, the country still honors the tradition started during those dark days of World War II. And yesterday, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) held a special order on the House floor to remind us why.
“There are many places throughout the world, unfortunately, where such freedoms do not exist. Americans have the right, under our wonderful system of government, to respect and study the Bible, or any other system of belief, if they so choose, or even no belief at all. That is the beauty of the American way, and I believe it is founded and goes back to the Bible.
“As we celebrate National Bible Week, we remember the importance of faith in both our private and public lives. We recognize the Bible’s powerful message of hope. We cherish the wisdom of the Bible, and we thank God for providing this Holy Book that has truly been, in the words of the Scripture, ‘a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.’”
Congressman Lamborn was joined by nine members in commemorating the role of the Bible in American life: Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Tim Walberg (R-Miss.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Ron Estes (R-Kans.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Rick Allen (R-Ga.), and David Rouzer (R-N.C.). To a member, they urged Americans, in this time of intense division, to see the Bible as a tool to unite us. “The statistics,” Rep. LaMalfa pointed out, “are that every home has 2.2 Bibles, on average. It isn’t that there aren’t enough Bibles. It is that people don’t open it often enough.”
Others talked about the deep personal meaning the Bible has. “It’s more than a historic book,” Vicky Hartzler said, “although it is. And it’s more than a collection of wise advice and spell-bounding stories, which it is. It has the audacity to claim something radical and all-inspiring at the same time. It claims to be the Word of God… and, as a result, it changes lives…I want to invite anyone who has never read it to read it and to discover God’s plan and purpose for your life which will give you power and peace. So let this most radical book ever written touch and bless your life.”
Rep. Walberg echoed her sentiment, explaining that the Bible, “changed my life as well [after I admitted] personally that I was a sinner in need of a savior… Now, some might reject this. That’s okay. But most who seek the truth of the Bible are not disappointed.”
Toward the end of the special order, Rep. Johnson reminded Congress that they’re all brought together by this one common belief. “I love the words that are inscribed above the Speaker, where it says in the marble: ‘In God We Trust.’ There’s a reason for that. Our Founders understood that this is our foundation.” And thanks to men and women like these, it will continue to be. We’re deeply grateful for members of Congress who not only value the Bible but look to it in making some of the most important decisions of our day.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/holy_bible_770x400-e1510830227517.jpg361640Family Research Councilhttp://drrich.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/logo_264x69.pngFamily Research Council2017-11-16 06:03:552017-11-16 06:03:55VIDEO: Bible Speeches Make the Week Strong