IRS Probe: A Disgraceful Investigation

 How do you hide from an obvious scandal?  Pretend it isn’t there and let the time run out the clock.

Benghazi, Fast & Furious, harassing news agencies, and the IRS targeting select groups because of their conservative politics. The list goes on.

When Nixon and Clinton were slammed with serious questions concerning possible crimes and the integrity of a sitting president, independent special prosecutors were rightfully assigned to conduct the investigation and , if necessary, reach a legal conclusion holding the guilty parties accountable for their egregious actions.

This will not happen in the Obama administration. We, the people, are not privileged to basic honesty in government.

Consider this:  The humongous IRS investigation – in which evidence exists that the government was ordering special targets for non-profit status and audits based on conservative leanings – has been assigned to a top trial lawyer in the Justice Department for investigation. Her name is Barbara Kay Bosserman. She works directly under Eric Holder.

So what? You say?

Barbara Kay Bosserman is a major contributor to the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012, now with personal donations of over $6000 invested in assuring her a $160,000 a year job. Is this not the ultimate in conflict of interest? As a loyal presidential bootlicker, there is NO WAY she can conduct an independent and objective investigation into the actions of the IRS, and hold the guilty parties accountable, particularly if they are close to the president, or the president himself.

That would be like assigning a lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the role of prosecuting the Muslim Brotherhood. They’re all part of the same ideology.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to echo the democratic mantra that these are all “phony” scandals. The administration says they have more important and pressing issues to attend to.  In other words, let’s all drop it. That’s old news. Forget about it. Let time pass. “What difference does it make?” (Shhh – maybe it will go away)

We can let time pass but it doesn’t make the people in the administration and less culpable in their roles of obstructing justice. If anyone has been obstructing justice, it has been the Attorney General himself, who has been caught lying to congress more than once in his efforts to protect the president.

It is eight months since the scandal became public. So far, zilch. No one is being held responsible.

For the American people, this is a simple act of arrogance: A classic, ‘In Your Face.’ The appointment of  Barbara Kay Bosserman is one of the most audacious acts perpetrated by Holder. She is a devout follower and contributor of Barack Obama who at the very least, cannot be objective and neutral, and at the worst, can rightfully be perceived as a protectorate who will go to all lengths to prevent disgrace to cloak the White House.

The disgrace, in fact, belongs to the White House for approving a grossly biased investigation. This is not seeking justice. It’s obstructing it.

Americans: Where are your voices?

Click here: 2013 IRS scandal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Click here: JUSTICE: Feds pick Obama supporter to lead probe into IRS tea party targeting – Washington Times

The State of the Dis-Union: Preparing World Citizens

There were many who had reason to be outraged by President Obama’s State of the Union address: the military whose funding has been cut, and who have been besmirched as emotionally unstable while they are forced to be sitting ducks in battle and then face the potentiality that the administration will abandon what others had died for, like Fallujah; the millions in the middle class whose health insurance has been dropped or whose premiums have doubled and who are losing jobs to illegal aliens and are insulted by the idea that a job that pays $10.10 is something to aspire to.

But I want to focus on Obama’s continued efforts to re-educate America, to re-educate her people so that they become shriveling dependents who long for a leader who will unilaterally make decisions for the masses.

Only such a people could believe Obama’s claim of having “a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.”

Only a well-educated, independent-thinking populace could feel the chill of words regarding “congressional action.” Conflating America with himself, Obama said, “America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Once again, there was discussion of government job-training programs. (Has anyone actually gotten a job as a result?) To prepare “tomorrow’s workforce” (and that’s all it is: a workforce, not an educated citizenry), we must guarantee “every child access to a world-class education.”

Translation: indoctrination into world citizenship.

Obama referred to one “Estiven Rodriguez,” who “couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine.” Apparently, Rodriguez “led a march of his classmates – through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors – from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall.” Obama referred to the army of tutors and teachers that helped him, but immigrants have done far more with only night classes, and often working two or three jobs.

Then, said Obama, “Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.”

There is a reason why this government wants to monopolize student loans to produce more “peace and environmental justice studies” graduates: Democrat voters.

Obama invoked the misleadingly named “Race to the Top” contest (really a race for stimulus funds attached to federal education standards called Common Core). He claimed, it “has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it – and it’s working.”

Notice how he didn’t reference Common Core, now dubbed Obamacore. After test scores plunged and mass confusion ensued, even the New York NEA teachers union came around to opposing Common Core. “Problem solving, critical thinking” are hallmarks of progressive educators, like Linda Darling-Hammond, close pal of Bill Ayers, who has been in charge of designing one of the two Common Core national tests. And what, exactly, is wrong with filling in a bubble? It means the test-taker has to know something and the grader can’t give extra points for correct attitudes.

What, also, is the “new economy”? Did we not need science, technology, engineering, and math in the old, twentieth-century economy?

By stating “It requires more challenging curriculums,” Obama admitted what Common Core proponents deny: it does change the curriculum. These are curriculums that eliminate most history, except that which advances the U.S. as racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialistic, etc.

The reference to “New ways to measure how well our kids think” is not reassuring when the Department of Education promotes the idea that “educational strengths” include “social competence” and “ethnic awareness.”

The new standards do not involve knowing about the country’s founding or the Constitution. Such students might understand this pre-speech message from Jon Carson of Organizing for Action:

“Friend –

“Tonight, President Obama made sure everyone knows:

“He’s not waiting for Congress. He’s taking action now, and he’s going to explore every method in his power to restore real opportunity for all Americans.”

Then he asks for a $5 donation.

But kindergarten is not early enough. Said Obama, “The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.”

He cited “research” to justify making “high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old”: “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.” Funny, how they always say “research,” but not which research or what the research actually says about government-funded preschool.

Nonetheless, “As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight.”

What if Congress doesn’t snap to and fulfill his “request”? Well, Obama has friends: “And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.”

Such “coalitions” must ensure that Obama fulfills his promises: “Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.”

Of course, Microsoft is in the “coalition” of “business leaders and philanthropists.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the biggest funder for Common Core; all tests must be taken online. The other companies surely appreciate the business, too.

Obama’s Department of Education is redesigning high schools: “We’re working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career.” It seems all bases for government control are being covered. Oh, and “real-world education”? It means being trained for a job—only. (See my review of Terrence O. Moore’s book The Story-Killers.)

The feds have not only taken over financing, but they now want to rate colleges. But this is how Obama put it: “We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education.”

The Education Department is appealing to the youth vote by holding “summits,” inviting college “student experts” to weigh in on college “accessibility” and “affordability.” The youth experts have spoken and Obama heard: “We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt.”

The scary part came when he used himself and Michelle as examples: “The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete – and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise – unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.”

Oh, you mean college students should write theses like Michelle Obama’s? Can we all write “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community” and investigate how “attending Princeton will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society”?

Education was bad enough back then. As a result, we have her in the White House with her Columbia and Harvard educated husband. It can only get worse when he invokes “widely shared” prosperity, calling on Americans to “toil” together, and summoning “what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow. . . .”

Citizens Common Core letter goes viral: “Hey, Gov. Scott, YOU should READ THIS!”

Victoria Bear, a citizen of Florida, sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott about her concerns with implementing Common Core in the sunshine state. Bear got a reply from the Governor’s office. She decided to reply back and her letter has gone viral, being shared by parents, teachers, educators and citizens across the state and beyond.

One of the comments to Bear’s letter is from Jack Mertz from The Villages TEA Party. Mertz states, “You really need to take a Survey of how Florida voters feel about Common Core — not what Obama or Jeb Bush think. They cannot vote for you — or donate to your campaign –but We the People can (or not). The Tea Party groups in The Villages area would love to discuss Common Core with you — if you would deign to come for a visit. Recall, there is an ELECTION coming. You need to do something intelligent to convince us that we should vote for you. We will wait and see what your final decision is on Common Core. Then we’ll make your final decision also.”

As the 2014 election draws nearer the Common Core may become the defining issue in the campaign. Some say that Governor Scott risks losing if he does not take a stronger stand against implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

Here is the reply from Katrina G. Figgett, Director of School Libraries and Information Services at Florida Department of Education, to Bear’s letter:

Dear Ms. Baer:

Governor Rick Scott has asked our office to respond to your correspondence regarding Common Core.  On behalf of the governor, we would like to thank you for contacting us.

Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Education are committed to ensuring our students have the highest academic standards so they are prepared to succeed in college, career and beyond. The Florida State Board of Education first adopted state wide education standards called the Sunshine State Standards in 1996 and has been a leader in the United States for ensuring all students have access to education standards and assessments that match those standards. The current set of English language arts and mathematics standards are the third set adopted by Florida. Recently changes to these standards, which were recommended as a result of public input, were proposed to the State Board of Education. If you would like to look at the proposed changes they can be accessed at: http://www.fldoe.org/eduaccsummit.asp. A recommendation regarding the tool for assessing Florida Standards will be forthcoming in March.

Decisions regarding curriculum are made at the district, school and classroom level, and we would encourage you to share your concerns regarding curriculum with your child’s classroom teacher and/or principal. You may wish to contact individual districts with specific suggestions concerning their curriculum.  District contact information is available at http://www.fldoe.org/schools/schoolmap/flash/district_list.asp.

It may help you to know that under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), student information cannot be shared without prior written consent from parents or guardians. The only disclosure exceptions pertain to sharing information in regard to health and safety emergencies, school transfers, state and local authorities for compliance, or research organizations. Directory information, such as name, address, date of birth and dates of attendance, may be shared without consent. However, schools are required under FERPA to give reasonable notice to parents prior to any information sharing and allow parents or guardians to opt out of the information sharing. Schools are required to annually notify parents of their rights under FERPA, but notification methods are left up to local leaders. There is no national database that houses student information and there is no plan for such a database.

If the Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support can be of further assistance, please contact me at 850-245-0758 or via e-mail at Katrina.Figgett@fldoe.org.

Sincerely,

Katrina Figgett

Here is Bear’s reply to Katrina Figgett:

Ms. Figgett in lieu of GOV SCOTT:

First, thanks for writing back and taking time to send me a response. Since you bothered, I would like to set the record straight.

I am very well informed on Common Core and the devastating effects it will have on our children. Unlike Gov Scott I am not playing politics or playing with our children’s futures.

#1 It’s not about the sharing it’s about the collecting -NO right to collect (see constitution amendment #4 unless a student wants to volunteer to give it with parental consent)- I’m sure their data bases are as secure as Target and the Healthcare Website- Right?

The only way to assure no privacy compromise is for them to never have the data to start with! This will be the start of profiling of our children in a country that is very eerily looking like NAZI Germany more every day.

#2 No matter how much they amend the standards it doesn’t change that they are equal to curriculum because the standardized tests test the standards (content) not the student’s proficiency like former placement tests.

The standards being grade specific is a big problem because it completely restricts curriculum since different curriculum introduce concepts in a different order and the only curriculum that would be used are the ones aligned to the CCS (modified or whatever).

Other countries like Finland have standards that are used as guidelines but are not graded with standardized tests at grade level. They are the only international country in the top five that have consistently improved in the past couple of years.

China’s numbers are fraudulent (surprise) since they only report Shanghai (they don’t even hide that it’s Shanghai only-guess they know how little the average person pays to such detail).

# 3… You quote FERPA… Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Seriously? Guess you and the GOVERNOR are not up to speed on the changes and DISTRUCTION of FERPA. Please see below. NICE TRY…NOT GOING TO WORK!

1974 the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) became federal law. FERPA limited the authority of school officials to release personally identifiable information about any student, without student or parental consent.

On April 8, 2011 the US Department of Education initiated a proposal to amend the regulations interpreting FERPA. The proposed regulatory change was put out for Notice and Comment as required by the Administrative Practices Act. The Department of Education issued the final amended regulations on December 2, 2011 and they took effect on January 3, 2012.

The amended regulations provided a new definition for three key statutory terms. Under the new definitions, detailed information about students, along with individual student ID numbers or other unique personal identifiers, may be disclosed “nonconsensually,” by “an educational agency or institution” with very little constraint. The changes essentially gutted FERPA and removed just about every vestige of parental control over the use and release of personally identifiable information in school records.

Whether the Department of Education had the authority to make these changes will be decided by federal judges. In accord with administrative law jurisprudence, a regulation issued according to the process specified in the Administrative Practices Act has the force of law, although a regulation may be challenged in the courts. There is such a court challenge at present. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) claims that a comment they filed during the Notice and Comment period was completely ignored in the amended final regulation.

Shortly after December 2011 when the amended FERPA regulations were issued, the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) was activated. The SLC’s five member board of trustees included two corporation officers who were affiliated with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, one with the Carnegie Foundation, one with the Council of Chief State School Officers, and one was a former state governor affiliated with an educational advocacy organization . SLC was disbanded in November 2012 when the nonprofit organization, inBloom, was created. inBloom, which is supported by $100 million in grants from the Gates and Carnegie foundations, inherited all of the SLC’s software development.

The massive databases that inBloom intends to create are supposed to make it more efficient for school districts to store, access and process data for educational purposes. In theory, it would become possible to tailor instruction from stored data to meet individual student needs. Databases within a district are not always able to “talk” with each other; using a common platform and infrastructure in the Cloud would remedy that problem. If all the various school databases in the nation are also in communicable format in Clouds, it would be possible to examine and collate information on a national scale.
Those enamored of technology see a wonderful world opening up. Others fear that the age of Big Brother watching is coming all too close and that data would be used to monitor schools, teachers and children without notice. The FERPA changes will allow access to educational data for commercial or other purposes without the trouble of gaining parental or student consent. After all, the public is assured, we must facilitate digitalized education to modernize American school systems. (inBloom’s CEO, Iwan Streichenberger, somewhat disingenuously noted that their [computer] platform is compliant with the Family Education and Privacy Act and that their top priority is data privacy .)

The federal regulatory process is relatively silent. In the past, parents would not have known their legal rights had been diminished. Thanks to both the rapid spread of information and the impending court challenge to the amended FERPA regulation, parents across the country were soon informed that their state or education district intended to release individually identifiable data to third parties as part of an initial tryout of the inBloom project. The records are not only to be shared with consultants to help school districts adopt modern day information technology. They may also be available to private for-profit businesses able to target sales pitches to children’s teachers and parents and to school districts. This would bring to education the intense targeted marketing based on data collected from websites and by search engines.

Concerned parents who had been voiceless in the regulatory process, have begun to organize. They are learning that they cannot “opt out” of the arrangements and they want to assert their constitutional right to direct the education of their children. They oppose the invasion of privacy: the risk of disclosure of sensitive personal information such as test scores, health status and disciplinary records. They also are opposed to commercial exploitation of their children and their participation in research projects without parental consent.

When school officials in Brooklyn held a public meeting recently, parental fears were stoked. An inBloom representative confirmed that while inBloom would not share information with for-profit businesses to the detriment of students, the school district could decide to share the information stored in the Cloud with for-profit entities. Parents were distressed to learn that inBloom could not guarantee the security of information in the Cloud, and that in their contract with the City, inBloom was absolved of responsibility for any breach of security, including hacking.

During the meeting, one parent asked whether parents of a disabled child whose name was released to third parties, could be the target of aggressively marketed for-profit special education services. When the Chancellor of the New York City schools vowed that student privacy would not be violated, his reassurances were met with skepticism by parents whose level of trust in public school officials is not high.

While parents have had nowhere near the resources, the time, or the expertise to mount effective resistance to the efforts of the foundations and the organizations supported by them, that situation may be changing. Many states have pulled back from participating with inBloom. In New York State however, while two bills to protect parent rights to privacy were passed in the Assembly, a comparable bill in the NY Senate [S4284] was held up. Concerned parents intend to keep up the pressure. Given sufficient anger, and the internet’s ability to put people in touch quickly and inexpensively, parental resistance may become a democratic counterweight to the unbridled powers of big business and huge foundations to influence public educational policies without accountability.

Murray Levine and Adeline Levine, Buffalo – http://artvoice.com/issues/v12n29/letters_to_artvoice/goodbye_privacy.

There has been a victory though!!! Maybe you can encourage Scott to follow NY’s lead of all the COMMUNISTS states… Scott pushes the BUSH’s destructive programs for our education as “RACE TO THE BOTTOM” and “EVERY CHILD LEFT BEHIND”. Time to get off the political tit and do something for FREEDOM IN EDUCATION!

Read http://www.educationalfreedomcoalition.com/criterion-referenced-testing/

PS. You can also tell Gov Scott that as much as he campaigned for HEALTH CARE FREEDOM he has FAILED us on OBAMA CARE as well!
HE IS A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT TO CONSERVATIVES ALL OVER THE STATE and I SHOULD KNOW …I HAVE HUGE EMAIL LISTS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND THE UNITED KINGDOM and I’ve CC this to my whole FLORIDA list with over 3000 names!!!

France joins the League of anti-Semitic Countries?

Last Sunday upwards of 50,000 engaged in the “Day of Anger” mass rally in Paris with groups shouting anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial slogans; “Jews, France does not belong to you” and “Faurrison is right”and “the Holocaust was a Hoax”.   The more vocal protesters were supporters of anti-Semitic comedian, Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala  and followers of French Holocaust denier, Robert Faurrison.  France passed a law in 1990 prohibiting both anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.  According to Michel Gurfinkiel, noted French conservative journalist, commentator and head of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute in Paris, “this was an additional warning to France’s Jews that things are getting very unpleasant for them in this country”.  We caught up with Gurfinkiel, with whom we had just completed an interview for the February 2014 New English Review on the topic of “Is There a Future for French Jews?”

Gurfinkiel found it “shocking” that no one, the rally organizers, demonstrators  nor  bystanders intervened to remove anti-Semitic protesters in violation of French hate speech laws; not even the police.    Further, he noted ominously “this is the first time since the end of World War Two you had compact groups shouting explicit and violent anti-Semitic slogans on the streets of Paris”.  He said, “France a founder of the Eropean Union may be joining the league of fringe anti-Semitic countries in the EU; Romania, Hungary and Greece”.   “The majority of the country was shocked. However France  harbors an anti-Semitic minority”. He indicated this episode raises the question about the ability of French democracy to control the problem.

Some people, Gurfinkiel said, are “starting to consider leaving the country”. He drew attention to the comments on the Facebook page of a young French Jewish writer and philosopher, who said she used to go out publicly wearing a Jewish Star of David and that her children were safe attending public schools.  She never she hear anti-Semitic slogans on the streets of France until last Sunday.  Now “she is losing faith in humanity and faith in this country”.  Gurfinkiel said it was “very revealing of the present mood”.

He said the police had estimated 20,000 protesters in Sunday’s “Day of Anger” rally. The rally organizers alleged estimated more than 100,000. Other sources said 50,000. Nevertheless, Gurfinkiel indicated that Sunday’s “Day of Anger” rally was a significant big protest.

Watch this JN1 TV news video of the Day of Anger rally:

He described in our interview how the “Day of Anger” protest rally was spawned. Last year there were a number of anti-gay marriage protests organized by Catholic groups, but on a non-political basis. They were “hijacked”, according to Gurfinkiel, by a far right  grass roots, Far right, non-partisan group, “French Spring” which he considers “up to a point similar the Tea Party movement “here in the US.  Other protesters including the Anti-Tax groups in Brittany and the Red Bonnets had arisen in the fall and winter protesting a “totally absurd” ecological tax against French farmers.  There were also protesters against the Hollande government over economic issues, as well.  The Day of Anger rally protesters had issued a national call to many organizations to join Sunday’s rally in Paris.  The Red Bonnets and the Brittany anti-Tax protest groups elected not to join Sunday’s “Day of Anger” contingents.  Sunday’s mass rally was joined by several hundred supporters of Dieudonne whom Gurfinkiel observed probably may have been the source of the anti-Semitic and holocaust denial slogans. Gurfinkiel considered the assembly a veritable “galaxy of left and right wing groups.”

One group conspicuous by its absence was the far right National Front.  Its leader, Gurfinkiel said, Ms. Marine Le Pen, has distanced herself from” explicit expressions of anti-Semitism and racism”.  The National Front had also not participated in last year’s anti-Gay marriage protest rallies.  Gurfinkiel believed that Le Pen viewed the organizers of the “Day of Anger” rally as “competitors”.  One follower of Dieudonne, who had once been close to her, “she saw as a competitor within her party”, had been ejected from the National Front.

Today, Gurfinkiel reported that French police had invaded an apartment of Dieudonne and found nearly $1 million dollars in undisclosed cash and other questionable financial items.   The BBC reported the basis for the police seizure of Dieudonne’s property:

He is suspected of a fraudulent declaration of bankruptcy, money-laundering and abuse of company assets.

The government has vowed to make him pay fines for hate speech.

According to French media, he has transferred 400,000 Euros (£331,000; $547,000) to Cameroon since 2009 while failing to pay fines totaling 65,000 Euros.

Dieudonne has been convicted six times of hate speech against Jews and popularized a gesture called the “quenelle”, widely regarded as an inverted Nazi salute.

Gurfinkiel, noted in the coming weeks, there will be local municipal elections in France.  “Perhaps”, Gurfinkiel opined, “a few cities may be taken back by the classic Right”.

Clearly, the future for France’s Jews, the largest community in Europe, is uncertain.  Read our NER interview with him in the February edition to find out more. Listen to our recorded interview with Gurfinkiel on the “Day of Anger” protest rally, here.

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

Obama: One Speech Too Many

Cartoon - Tuning Out ObamaI didn’t take notes while President Obama gave his State of the Union speech. There was no need to.

There was a time when the SOTU was a just a letter sent to Congress, but in the era of radio and television, Presidents took advantage of the opportunity to be seen and heard laying out their priorities and asking Congress to fulfill them. Since then they have become little more than laundry lists and rarely memorable.

More people will watch a sporting event than tuned in to listen to Obama. In five years he has probably given more speeches than several previous Presidents combined. His first term felt like an extension of his election campaign with one speech following another and soon enough his reliance on a Tele-Prompter became a joke.

Suffice to say that Obama has given one speech too many. Or is that one hundred speeches too many?

A second term, according to the political pundits, is usually a more subdued time as a President seeks to get a few “legacy” pieces of legislation passed and, by then, most people have taken their measure of the President, either liking or disliking him. A President’s popularity or approval ratings usually decline.

Obama’s refusal and failure to work with Congress, combined with the disaster of Obamacare that was passed with only Democratic Party votes and, even then, required Chicago-style bribery and pressure, has seen not just his approval begin to slip away, but it includes the whole of Congress.

Obama’s assertion that he will use executive orders to get his way is simply an admission that he has failed to work with Congress and intends to continue as his second term shapes up to be one of increased resistance. Earlier presidents faced with a Congress whose power was held by another party used persuasion and compromise, but Obama uses neither.

In late January a Gallup poll revealed that “The enduring unpopularity of Congress appears to have seeped into the nation’s 435 congressional districts, as a record-low percentage of registered voters, 46%, now say that the U.S. representative in their own congressional district deserves re-election. Equally historic, the share of voters saying most members of Congress deserve re-election has fallen to 17%, a new nadir.”

It’s worth noting that the 17% who say most of Congress deserves re-election is well below the roughly 40% that has been around for decades and Gallup says “Typically, results like these have presaged significant turnover in Congress, as in 1994, 2006, and 2010. So Congress could be headed for a major shake-up in its membership this fall.”

There’s a history lesson in the 1994 election which occurred when Bill Clinton was President. It marked the greatest victory of the Republican Party since 1980. The GOP picked up 54 seats in the House of Representatives and 8 seats in the Senate. The issue that drove this change was Clinton’s advocacy of a change in the nation’s healthcare system. The Democrats did not learn anything from that defeat and Obama doubled-down on it.

While the media naturally focuses on the President, many Americans appear to have made a shift to Republicans because, at present, there are 30 Republican governors in America. Since Obama took office, Republicans have picked up a net nine governorships. In 24 of those States, Republicans control the legislatures. Democrats have similar power in just 12 States. So, at the State level, voters have already demonstrated their preferences.

A Wall Street Journal-NBC poll published on January 28, the day of the SOTU speech, revealed a nation “increasingly worried about (Obama’s) abilities, dissatisfied with the economy, and fearful for the country’s future.”

“Large majorities of respondents said they want the White House and lawmakers to focus on job creation and early-childhood education, and a slimmer majority favored increasing the minimum wage.” Just over half expressed an interest in “reducing income inequality.” Obama is appealing to the “low-information” voters these days, but the majority understands that only a growing economy can address the need for more jobs.

“The survey found that just over half of Americans disapprove of the President’s performance, with 43% approving, a trough that remains little changed since the early summer. Nearly six in 10 say they are uncertain, worried or pessimistic about what he will do with the remainder of his presidency. Disapproval for Congress, too, is near its all-time high.”

The midterm elections in November are likely to change Congress by adding many more Republicans in the House and enough in the Senate to give the GOP control of Congress. That will eliminate the chokehold that Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, has exercised to kill more than a hundred and fifty pieces of legislation sent by the House to repair the nation’s stagnant economy. It will likely override the President’s veto power.

Obama’s SOTU will receive a cascade of political analysis, but if the polls are any indication, the public is far less interested in another Obama speech than they are in getting the kind of change the nation really needs to grow its economy and address its problems.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

The Making of a Black Conservative

MARCUS CHILD

Me as a child.

Little did I realize that living in the projects and other life experiences would lead to my becoming a black conservative, a Christian and a TEA Party activist.

In a short time, I witnessed the building becoming an 11 story dangerous violent ghetto. Without the pride of ownership or earning their way, only a hand full of residents kept their apartments nice. We kids learned to play hand ball in the square on our floor because Mom thought the playground was too risky. Stairwells became dark bathrooms and dens of iniquity; broken elevators due to vandalism.

And yet, I constantly heard that everything was the white man’s fault. At 9, I sarcastically said, “How can we stop mean white people from sneaking in here at night urinating in the stairwells and breaking wine bottles?”

Dad was among a few blacks who broke the color barrier into the Baltimore Fire Dept. I vividly remember Dad’s outrage about our rent being raised, “Seventy-two dollars a month. They’re crazy. We’re movin’!” Sadly, my cousins on my mom’s side who lived in single mom households remained on welfare. With the exception of one who worked his way through college, my cousins lived wasted lives, serial out-of-wedlock births, substance abuse, AIDS, jail and entitlement mindsets. Several died young. Thus, the bad taste in my mouth for cradle to grave welfare and absentee fathers.

Dad winning Fire Fighter of the Year two times despite working under unfair and humiliating circumstances taught me about trusting and trying to do things God’s way, character, hard work, not whining and the greatness of America. Dad progressed from laborer to Doctor of Theology. Dad eventually won the respect of white racist firefighters who hated him when he first arrived at Engine 6.

Our family’s move out of Baltimore City to a black suburban community meant I would be bused to newly integrated Brooklyn Park Jr, Sr High School in Linthicum, Maryland. I still remember that first day when our two school buses with black students from neighboring Pumphery arrived. With the fear of the seventh grade, an inherited stutter and the sea of 1400 white faces, I was terrified.

My white art teacher, Mr Gomer, recognized my art talents which ultimately lead to scholarships from several white politicians, opportunities from white businessmen and a successful career as a graphic designer; advertising agencies and a major market TV station.

Drafted in the U.S. Army for two years, I learned that good and bad people come in all colors. Sharing the same skin color does not make someone your friend or a brother.

My gift of seeing beyond an invisible wall of race to see people as individuals rather than monolithic members of a race has been a source of great criticism all of my life.

Thus, when Obama came out as a presidential candidate, I logically listened to his vision for our great nation. When Obama told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to spread the wealth around, I knew his vision was wrong for my country. I passionately campaigned against him.

Apparently, I missed the point of 96% of black voters. Obama should have my support because we are both black. His agenda is irrelevant.

Obama is simply another Democrat pushing the same insulting bigotry of lowered expectations, class envy and cradle to grave government entitlements which have devastated the black community for decades. I joined the Tea Party because Obama’s implementation of his extreme liberal socialist/progressive agenda; his vowed fundamental transformation of America must be stopped.

I have traveled on 12 national bus tours, participating in over 400 tea party rallies. The extraordinary people I met are the salt of the earth. A white Texas couple proudly introduced me to two black babies they adopted from Africa. A terminally ill white fan in Michigan wanted to meet me before she died.

Democrat’s and mainstream media branding the Tea Party racist is the height of racism, irresponsibility and evil. These patriotic Americans are simply saying no to the left’s hostile takeover of their country.

I became a born-gain Christian in my twenties. I grew weary of my meaningless life of drugs, sex and partying. I asked God to help and He did. My faith keeps me strong, confident and focused in my quest to restore my beloved America to it’s former exceptional glory.

Senator Rubio on Obama SOTU: “Working alone”, “dictating”, “failing”, “missed opportunity”

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued the following statement on President Obama’s State of the Union address:

Governor Scott said, “President Obama has had more memorable speeches. But, in fairness, it’s hard to top ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.’ Unfortunately, what we didn’t hear tonight was how he would make healthcare more affordable by undoing his failed law or how he would undo the outrageous flood insurance hikes he forced on Floridians.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement tonight regarding President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“Americans deserve more opportunities to achieve a better life, and that’s going to require a free enterprise economy that’s creating more middle class jobs and a government with less debt. While the President discussed some areas of common interest, the heart of his 2014 agenda is clearly more about working alone than with the American people’s representatives on the major reforms we need.

“President Obama missed an opportunity on several fronts, especially by insisting that Washington keep spending more money than it takes in, keep dictating to entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, and failing to level with the American people about how we can save our retirement programs. We need a real opportunity agenda that helps people seize the enormous potential that the coming years hold.”

In addition, Rubio commented on the following issues the President addressed tonight:

RUBIO ON INCOME MOBILITY

“Washington is too dysfunctional and poorly suited to effectively manage America’s anti-poverty programs. A better approach is to empower states to determine how to set up their own safety nets to best deal with the unique problems of each state. We should replace the earned-income tax credit with a wage enhancement that would make a job a more enticing alternative to collecting unemployment insurance. We need a better-functioning safety net that helps people get back on their feet, along with an economy that’s creating more middle class jobs and an education system that helps people attain the skills to fill those better-paying jobs.”

RUBIO ON OBAMACARE

“At no point did the President explain why American taxpayers should have to fund a bailout of health insurance companies when ObamaCare fails to sign up enough young and healthy people. The President won’t be able to ignore this problem much longer as the realities of ObamaCare’s failures put taxpayers at greater risk of bailing out health insurers. We should take this possibility completely off the table by approving legislation I’ve introduced with Congressman Tim Griffin.”

RUBIO ON FOREIGN POLICY

“President Obama claims credit for ending one war and winding down another, but the truth is that the global war against extremists will continue long past his presidency. America’s role in the world is as indispensable as it has ever been, yet President Obama glossed over the enormous challenges we face. The President failed to acknowledge the ongoing security threats we face in Afghanistan and Iraq or address bipartisan concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the bellicosity of North Korea, the instability in Egypt and the ongoing tragedy in Syria. I remain concerned that his proposals could weaken our intelligence capabilities and military preparedness at a moment when we face emerging new threats around the globe.”

RUBIO ON FREE TRADE

“After five years of doing little to promote free trade, I’m glad President Obama talked about the importance of new trade agreements with Europe and Asia. Expanding free trade will open new markets to American exports, which will create thousands of new middle class jobs here at home. I am hopeful that the Administration will successfully conclude negotiations with our trade partners in Asia and Europe, and that Congress will approve these promising new trade agreements.”

RUBIO ON IMMIGRATION

“The U.S. has a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed, but it’s clear the President either fails to realize or is indifferent to the fact that his unilateral, executive power grabs and habit of ignoring parts of ObamaCare have made it harder to achieve meaningful progress on immigration. As he forges ahead with his unilateral agenda on a host of issues, he needs to recognize that a permanent solution to our immigration problems rests with Congress. The House of Representatives should be given the time and space to develop their own immigration reform proposals, and we should all recognize that incremental progress is better than nothing at all.”

RUBIO ON THE MINIMUM WAGE

“Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American Dream. The way our people will achieve the American Dream is by making it easier for those who are stuck in low-paying jobs to seize opportunities to move up to better paying jobs. To do this, we must focus on policies that help our economy create those jobs and that help people overcome the obstacles between them and better paying work.”

RELATED COLUMNS:

The President Won’t Be Needing You

By the numbers: Obama’s state of the union speech, the economy and jobs

SMALL BALL: Obama downsizes ambition as agenda stalls

Obama vows to act without Congress in 2014, amid second-term woes

The Obama Doctrine: Force and Coercion by Pen and Phone

The great thing about being a dictator is you aren’t required to have leadership ability. You don’t even need to be competent, just manipulative, deceptive, power hungry and vicious.

When you’re a dictator you don’t have to articulate your vision and you don’t have to work with anyone. All you have to do is demagogue while delivering empty rhetorical diatribe and behind the scenes intimidate and crush those who stand in your absolutism.

Being dictator means you can use force and coercion as the means to your end – which can be accomplished with just your pen and phone.

And so here we are in America today, the day before President Obama’s State of the Union address and the theme will likely be “executive action” rather than good governance.

According to The Hill,

President Obama has dubbed 2014 a “year of action,” vowing to rely heavily on executive authority to accomplish ambitious– but yet unspecified – policy goals. Top administration officials, perhaps not wanting to get ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, have been vague about what that might entail, even while insisting Obama means to use his “pen and phone” to get things done.

Instead of finding policy means to work with Congress, President Obama will utilize a range of powers to impose his progressive socialist agenda, including presidential directives, formal executive orders, and rulemaking authority at agencies throughout his administration.

If you watched Obama White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer on yesterday’s Sunday morning news programs, you got exactly that sense. The Hill report provides an insight into the leftist perspective,

Public interest groups have been frustrated with what they view as slow progress during the Obama administration on a host of environmental, public health and safety protections. They argue the constraints at the end of Obama’s first term should be lifted now that the president doesn’t have to worry about re-election.

In addition, upward mobility and economic fairness, aka “income inequality” are expected to be major themes of Obama’s speech — never mind that per our Constitution, fiscal policy initiatives require congressional action.

But Obama could enact an executive order requiring federal agencies to give preference to contractors that paid their employees over $10.10 an hour, according to proponents both within and outside Congress.

Just for fun, compare Obama’s economic ineptness and failures to the competence and success of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. You know, that fella the Left hoped to destroy by deploying hundreds of thousands of protesters to the State Capitol in Madison? The state where Democrat State Senators abandoned their duties and fled across the state border and hid in Illinois? And don’t forget that recall election where he won by a greater margin than the original election, and boy did the left bus in voters from next door in Illinois.

Well, Governor Walker now has a $1 billion dollar surplus which he will use to provide more tax relief to Wisconsans, not more government spending. Wages are increasing and economic opportunity is growing. That is governing. That is leading.

Obama? Well, how much more debt have we amassed? What happened to cutting the deficit in half — the inherited Bush final year deficit was $468 billion, and Obama agreed with the bailouts. So as we pointed out last week in our State of the Union preview, we won’t hear about policies, just more politics. The economy is not improving. And President Obama doesn’t need to tell us about “ladders of opportunity.”

Every child born in America, every person coming here legally receives the ladder of equal opportunity. We don’t need Barack Hussein Obama to deceive us into believing he is the giver of opportunity by executive action or order – with pen and phone, he will be the taker.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. The following is a humorous look at President Obama’s 2014 STOU speech:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Y7hyUucbmj4[/youtube]

The D’Souza Arrest: Obama Adopts the Stalinist Style

He isn’t killing his political opponents, but he is using state power to hound them. My latest in FrontPage:

I’m no fan of Dinesh D’Souza, but this is ridiculous.

Dinesh and I locked horns a few years back when he attacked me in his book The Enemy At Home, saying that books like mine should not be written. His line was that Islam was a religion of peace, that pious, morally upright Muslims had been driven to lash out against the U.S. because of the immorality of our pop culture, and that American conservatives should ally with what he termed “conservative Muslims” against their common, amoral Leftist foe.

He and I debated this at CPAC in 2007 and on several radio shows, which grew increasingly heated as he charged me with “Islamophobia” (a term used by Muslim Brotherhood entities to stigmatize opposition to jihad terror) and invoked Saudi-funded Islamic apologist John Esposito as an authority.

The ensuing years have only shown more vividly what nonsense Dinesh’s position was, as “conservative Muslims” the world over wage jihad against America, and non-Muslims everywhere, more furiously than ever.

I rehash all this to show the falsehood of the line that has been circulating around in the Leftist media ever since Dinesh D’Souza was indicted: that only people who share D’Souza’s views are concerned about his indictment. As Tal Kopan put it in Politico, “In the wake of the indictment of conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for alleged fraud, conservatives are crying foul that it is evidence of the Obama administration punishing its critics.”

Liberals should be as concerned about this as conservatives. Foes of jihad should be just as concerned about it as those who share D’Souza’s worries about “Islamophobia.” For the evidence is mounting that D’Souza has indeed been targeted for being a public and high-profile foe of Barack Obama – a development that should disquiet anyone who believes in the value of a stable, functioning republic with a loyal opposition. Pamela Geller notes here that D’Souza is not remotely the only conservative or Obama critic who has been targeted for prosecution, while Obama’s Justice Department has turned a blind eye to illegal campaign contributions from Gaza during Obama’s 2008 campaign. And then there was the Obama Justice Department’s dismissal of the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case.

What’s more, bail for D’Souza was set higher than that given to several people accused of attempted murder, rape, assault, and the like. To whom is Dinesh D’Souza more dangerous than a man who sexually assaulted a teenager, or a man who kept old men captive in a filthy “dungeon”?

This is something new in American politics. When I was six years old, I took notice of the presidential campaign, and asked my father who was the “good guy”: Richard Nixon or Hubert Humphrey. My father answered, “They’re both good men. They both want to do what is right for the country. They just disagree on what some of the right things to do may be.”

That kind of respect for the opposition was commonplace in America back in 1968, but it has all but vanished now. I remember being taken aback in college by the obscene, relentless, vicious hatred that the Left directed toward Ronald Reagan – I was at that time entirely sympathetic with their disdain for him, but the frenzy with which they expressed it, their wild furious contempt, shocked me. And that was nothing compared to what they had in store for George W. Bush. The Democratic Party as a whole, along with the entire Leftist establishment, adopted the Alinskyite tactic of ridiculing, mocking and smearing their foes instead of engaging them on the level of ideas. Leftists now routinely portray their opponents as simultaneously stupid and evil, idiotic but crafty; it’s practically a reflex.

Will Obama’s Fiddling Cause the Middle East to Burn?

The United States has had no coherent policy during Obama’s presidency, and the Mideast has become more dangerous as a result.

The United Nations recently announced the results of an investigation regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Though no one disputes that Bashar al-Assad used poison gas against rebel forces, the U.N. also found that poison gas was used against government soldiers two times and against civilians and troops on another occasion.

Barack Obama’s international credibility – already tenuous – was tarnished further when he ignored his own redline and refused to act after the use of chemical weapons was first reported, although he did authorize the CIA last April to arm rebels before deferring to Russia’s plan for resolving the weapons impasse.

The recent revelations concerning the apparent use of gas by Syrian rebels, however, raises questions regarding the broader implications of the administration’s muddle in Syria, and whether its repeated missteps reflect a lack of coherent strategic vision, misguided policy values or something more fundamentally disturbing.

The Obama administration’s policy on Syria has been confused from the start, having been formulated by politicians – including John Kerry, Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel, and Mr. Obama himself – who opposed President George W. Bush’s call for action against Bashar al-Assad when they were Senators serving on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  They ignored Assad’s bad acts at the time because they opposed President Bush.

After Mr. Obama became president, Kerry visited Damascus several times and spoke of Assad’s supposed moderation.  Hillary Clinton suggested publicly thereafter that there was no need for American intervention because the Syrian dictator was considered a reformer by Kerry and other Congressmen who had accompanied him on his junkets.

Since that time, Mr. Obama’s positions have flip-flopped; particularly after reports regarding poison gas first surfaced.  It seems puzzling, though, that it took chemical weapons to draw his administration’s attention to the humanitarian crisis when it did not express the same level of concern as more than 100,000 Syrians were being killed by more conventional means.  The administration became indignant only after 1,400 civilians were killed with gas, and thereafter seemed to regard the rebels favorably – even though many were Islamists with links to al-Qaeda.

The President and his advisers never seemed clear about which faction represented what ideology.  Nevertheless, the rebels were touted as possible beacons of democracy compared to Assad.  Their democratic potential, however, was a strategic fiction echoed by a mainstream media that failed to grasp the complexities of the conflict, particularly when they reflected poorly on the administration.

President Obama’s fumbling in Syria is part of a larger, more systemic failure to understand Mideast history and politics, and of his administration’s record of enabling Islamists, appeasing mullahs, and sacrificing the strategic interests of American allies in the region.

The administration’s skewed vision permeates its efforts to force Israel into a two-state solution along the lines of the Saudi initiative – a plan that was never intended to promote genuine peace with a Jewish State, but rather to weaken that state and hasten its demise.

The White House’s folly reflects a progressive worldview that has little basis in reality, and which refuses to acknowledge the inflexible doctrine that dictates Muslim relations with the non-Muslim world.  Moreover, it is enabled by a complicit media that fails time and again to challenge Mr. Obama’s core assumptions.

Since the so-called Arab Spring, media coverage has ignored clear signs of Islamist influence when treating rebels and protestors as champions of democracy.  This trend has been consistent since 2008, when Mr. Obama set out to transform the image of the Muslim Brotherhood into that of a moderate political organization.

The subsequent overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt was condemned by the progressive media as anti-democratic, as reflected in a headline in The Guardian last summer proclaiming that: “[t]he military has not just ousted Morsi. It has ousted democracy.”  Such hyperbole may be consistent with support for a president whose policies facilitated the Brotherhood’s rise to power, but it ignores the organization’s suppression of dissent, repudiation of western values, and unwavering belief in jihad.

The false narrative of the “Arab Spring” as a liberal democratic revolution persists more than two years after Tahrir Square, despite the undeniable Islamist influence at its center.

Though public attention has since been diverted by events in Syria and Iran, and by Obama’s and Kerry’s obsession with Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the Egyptian revolution stands out as the precursor of all subsequent regional policy failures.  The meltdown in Cairo a year after Morsi’s election hinted at the inadequacy of the administration’s policies and its inability to learn from its mistakes.

In light of the Egyptian crisis (which continues to flare up today), no one should have been surprised by the President’s subsequent blunders in Syria, his appeasement of Iran, or his efforts to force Israel back to 1949 armistice lines known as the “Auschwitz Borders.”

The administration’s regional strategies are counterintuitive and reflect the President’s belief in several fundamental foreign policy myths.

First, he embraces the discredited theory of “linkage,” a sacred cow of the anti-Israel left that relates the Arab-Israeli conflict to all other strife in the region.  This was apparent in his State Department speech of May 2011.

Second, he assumes that Islamism can be controlled despite its commitment to jihad and its doctrinal opposition to genuine peace with subjugated peoples – particularly the Jews.  This is reflected by his efforts to portray Islamists as moderates.

Third, he regards the Palestinians as an aboriginal people whose land was appropriated by the creation of Israel, which he ascribes to European guilt over the Holocaust.  In contrast, he assiduously avoids legitimizing historical Jewish claims, though they predate Palestinian claims by thousands of years and are objectively verifiable.

Consistent with these premises, Mr. Obama seems to believe that Israel is expendable, that Islamists hold the key to regional peace and stability, and that the United States should reprioritize its allegiances accordingly.  These policy assumptions, however, are factually flawed and easily deconstructed.

First and foremost, the Arab-Israeli conflict is unrelated to any other conflicts plaguing the region; and it persists solely because of the refusal to recognize Jewish national integrity.  Arab-Muslim rejectionism predated the creation of Palestinian national identity in the 1960s, and in fact existed long before Israeli independence in 1948.

The denial of Israel’s right to exist stems from a religiously-mandated rejection of the Jews’ right to self-determination.  As subjugated people whose land was usurped through jihad, Jews under Islam lost their right to national sovereignty and were relegated to the role of a dispossessed minority subject to persecution, repression and pogrom.

Organized violence against Jews living under the British Mandate began in 1920 with attacks on Jewish towns in the north, and continued into 1921 with riots in Yafo, Petah Tikva and elsewhere.  Spurred on by the jihadist aims of Haj Amin al-Husseini and facilitated by British collusion, Arabs rioted in 1929, massacring many Jews and expelling the survivors in Tzfat and Hevron – historically Jewish cities that were disingenuously labeled Arab thereafter.

Attacks and riots continued throughout the 1930s, culminating in the issuance of the White Paper in 1939, which restricted Jewish immigration and, accordingly, assured the deaths of millions during the Holocaust.  No similar curbs were placed on Arab immigration.

Anti-Jewish agitation in Mandatory Palestine was not caused by boundary disputes or arguments over territory per se.  Rather, it was motivated by cultural enmity and the sectarian refusal to acknowledge the Jews’ ancestral rights in a homeland that was historically theirs, but which had been coopted through jihad and recharacterized through taqiyya.

This rejectionism dictated the treatment of Jews long before the rebirth of Israel and was unrelated to the purported rights of Palestinians, who had no political existence before the creation of a faux national identity years after Israeli independence.  As acknowledged by many Palestinian leaders and intellectuals over the years, including Yasser Arafat and Zahir Muhsein, “[t]he ‘Palestinian People’ does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel.”

The attempt to link Israel to other regional conflicts is offensive and betrays an ignorance of Jewish, Arab and Mideast history and politics.  The region is home to a diverse array of peoples and cultures, including Arabs, Kurds, Berbers, Turks, Copts, Persians, Maronites, Armenians, Circassians and Jews.  It is also home to different religious traditions, including the Sunni, Shiite and Alawite branches of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and the monotheistic Bahá’í, Yazid, Mandaen and Druze faiths.  Despite generations of conflict, many of these groups were arbitrarily forced together into modern states by the European mandatory powers after the First World War.

The borders of Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon were drawn to include traditional enemies who nevertheless continued to clash after becoming Jordanians, Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese.  The British and French never understood the divisions within Mideast society as they forced incompatible groups together in newly created nations.  In pressuring Israel to accept a peace plan that would undercut her long-term viability, the Obama administration displays the same lack of understanding, as well as a refusal to acknowledge ancestral Jewish claims.  Even if a resolution could be achieved, it would have no bearing on clashes pitting Arabs against Kurds, Sunnis against Shiites, or Muslims against Christians.

Muslims have waged war against “infidels” for nearly 1,400 years, and friction among the various religious and ethnic groups in the region arose long before the establishment of the modern Jewish State.  These struggles are unaffected by Arab-Israeli discord and will not be resolved by the creation of a state of Palestine.  The theory linking Israel to unrelated conflicts and events is similar to those classical anti-Semitic canards that accused Jews of affecting world events through pervasive influence, power and wealth beyond their numbers.

It is a subtle way of blaming Jews for causing or exacerbating conflicts to which they are strangers, and it comes from the same dark impulse that in the past compelled anti-Semites to accuse them of consuming Gentile blood, poisoning wells and causing the Black Death.

Just as unfounded as the theory of linkage is the notion that Islamism can be controlled; and yet the White House seems bent on redefining Islamist groups, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, as moderate forces for democratic change.  This premise, however, is patently absurd.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna on the principle that the Quran and Sunnah constitute the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community …  and state.”  Its goals include reinstituting the Caliphate and spreading Islam through jihad, and its targets for hatred include Jews, Christians and liberal western society.

It supported Nazism during the Second World War, and sponsors terrorism while calling for Israel’s destruction today.  Moreover, its violent campaign against the Coptic community following Morsi’s election underscored the continuity of its supremacist philosophy.  The Brotherhood is neither moderate nor secular – regardless of the administration’s attempts to sanitize its image.

The only point regarding the Brotherhood about which President Obama is correct is that its election in Egypt was democratic; that is, Morsi was elected by a majority of voters (as was Hamas in Gaza).  Without western-style constitutions to safeguard individual rights and liberties, however, these elections were merely exercises in “pure democracy,” a form of government in which personal and minority rights are not respected or guaranteed.

Individual rights in pure democracy are subservient to the will of a dictatorial majority that often succumbs to mob rule.  For this reason, it was considered by Plato and Aristotle to be the least desirable form of government.

America’s founding fathers also frowned on pure democracy, as James Madison articulated when he wrote:

[I]t may be concluded that a pure democracy … can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.

(“The Federalist No. 10: The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued),” (November 22, 1787)).  The founders instead envisioned a republic in which individual rights and liberties would predominate.

The framework for American government is prescribed in Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government.”  The framers contemplated a republic based on constitutional principles and a free, fair and open electoral system.  In contrast, Morsi’s election represented the kind of pure democracy that was reviled by the framers; and it produced a repressive government that was antithetical to the open societies found in countries like the United States, Canada and Israel.  Any similarity to the American system implied by the administration’s praise for the democratic nature of Morsi’s election was false and misleading.

The President likewise misrepresents the authenticity of Palestinian claims, which unlike the Jews’ birthright, are not supported by history, archeology or cultural imprint.  In speeches and policy statements over the last five years, Mr. Obama has carefully avoided validating Jewish historical claims, instead describing the establishment of modern Israel as a response to the Holocaust.

He thus lends credence to a Palestinian narrative that denies Jewish history and portrays Israel as a colonial aberration populated by foreigners with no ancestral connection to the land.  He also feeds into propaganda that characterizes the mere existence of Israel as occupation, denigrates Jewish nationhood, and denies that the Temple ever stood in Jerusalem.

In endorsing Palestinian claims while failing to acknowledge the Jews’ ancient connection to their homeland, Mr. Obama empowers those who delegitimize Israel.  The President uses the term “occupation” to describe Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, employing the same propaganda-laden term used in Arab-Muslim circles to describe the entire State of Israel.

He refers to Israeli settlements as “illegitimate,” though they violate neither traditional international law nor the Fourth Geneva Convention, and uses the term “settlements” to describe Jerusalem neighborhoods that have always been Jewish.  Furthermore, he refrains from using any language that evokes Jewish ancestral rights, thereby stifling dialogue concerning the historical justification for the Jewish State.

Whether mucking around in Syria, misreading the tea leaves in Egypt, appeasing Islamists or promoting a vision of Arab-Israeli peace that elevates historical fiction over authentic Jewish rights, the Obama administration has displayed equal parts hubris and incompetence.

The President seems to believe that force of personality and partisan values are more important than ability and strategic vision in directing foreign policy.  Consequently, , the United States has had no coherent policy during his presidency, and the Mideast has become more dangerous as a result.

In addition to exacerbating problems with Syria, Iran and Israel, Mr. Obama’s policies have alienated the Saudis, facilitated an Islamist takeover in Libya and resurgence in Iraq, emboldened the Taliban in Afghanistan, and enabled a renewal of foreign expansionism in Lebanon.  His policy of “leading from behind” appears to encompass the appeasement of enemies and abandonment of friends.  As a consequence, the United States is not trusted by its allies or feared by its enemies, and its international credibility is in tatters.

Foreign policy is not a game for ideologues or amateurs, particularly in areas fraught with explosive cultural, religious and internecine tensions.  The Mideast is unquestionably tenser and less stable than it was five years ago.  The question now is whether it can find some level of stasis and wait out the last years of the Obama presidency without further damage.

A Very Cold Reality

It’s not as if those in the Northeast have not experienced bone-chilling cold or that it is predicted to extend from the Midwest down into our southern States. There may possibly be a snow storm that will require the National Football League to reschedule the Sunday, February 2nd Superbowl at the MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Crews spent 18 hours working to remove the snow from last week’s storm.

A visit to IceAgeNow.info yielded headlines of news stories last week that included “Record Cold—Millions of Americans hit by Propane Shortage”, “Ice and Snow Closed Texas highways This Morning”, “Ice-cover Shuts Down Work on New Hudson River Bridge”, and so you understand this is a global phenomenon, “Kashmir—Heaviest January Snowfall in a Decade”, “Heavy Snowfall Sweeps Eastern Turkey”, “Romania—Heavy Snowfall and Blizzard”. And “Bangkok Suffers Coldest Night in Three Decades—Death Roll Mounts.”

Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo of WeatherBell Analytics and editor of IceCap.us says that, as the President addresses the nation on Tuesday, every State will have freezing temperatures and parts or all of 27 States will be below zero.

All this is occurring as President Barack Obama is anticipated to talk about “climate change”, a warming Earth, during his Tuesday State of the Union speech. He will be speaking to the idiots who still think the Earth is warming because they are too stupid or lazy to ask why it is so cold.

Michael Bastasch, writing for The Daily Caller on Saturday, confirmed D’Aleo’s and other meteorologist’s forecasts. “The bitter cold that has hit the U.S. East Coast is expected throughout February, and on Jan 28—the day of the address—the Mid-Atlantic region is expected to be hit with freezing cold air that could drive temperatures below zero in big cities among the I-95 corridor.”

Washington, D.C. will be one of those cities, but as Bastasch reported, “Environmentalists and liberal groups are urging Obama to use the speech to reaffirm his commitment to fighting global warming. ‘President Obama should rank the battle against climate change as one of his top priorities in his State of the Union speech next week’, said Center for Clean Air Policy president Ned Heime.”

For environmentalists, it does not matter if the real climate is a deep cold. They committed to the lies about global warming in the late 1980s and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) has maintained the hoax ever since. Along the way we learned that the computer models on which it based its assertions and predictions were rigged and bogus, but that has not deterred the IPCC which is now referring to a “pause” in global warming. This is lying on a global scale.

It was the environmental group Greenpeace that put out a television advertisement featuring a Santa Claus telling children that he might have to call off Christmas because the North Pole was melting. How malicious can they get? When a group of global warming scientists and tourists took a ship to the Antarctic to measure the “melting” ice down there, the ship got caught in the ice which also resisted the efforts of two icebreaker ships to rescue them.

We are dealing with environmental groups, the IPCC and government leaders like Obama for whom the telling of huge and blatantly obvious lies about global warming is nothing compared to the billions generated by the hoax for the universities and scientists that line their pockets supporting it and industries that benefit by offering ways to capture carbon dioxide or conserve energy by first banning incandescent light bulbs.

The “pause” has lasted now for seventeen years and, as is the case with all climate on the Earth, the reason is the Sun.

A report published by CBN News noted that “The last time the sun was this quiet, North America and Europe suffered through a weather event from the 1600s to the 1800s known as ‘Little Ice Age’ when the Thames River in London regularly froze solid, and North America saw terrible winters. Crops failed and people starved.”

Jens Pedersen, a senior scientist at Denmark’s Technical University, said that climate scientists know the Earth stopped warming 15 years ago. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of which Pedersen is an expert reviewer, suppressed a recent report from its own scientists that the U.N.’s climate model has been proven wrong.

“Global warming is nowhere to be found,” said David Deming, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, in a January 16 commentary in The Washington Times. “As frigid conditions settled over the nation, global-warming alarmists went into full denial mode”, adding that “weather extremes also seem to bring out the lunatic fringe” and that is why the public is being told that cold weather has been caused by global warming!

Whatever the President has to say about “climate change” should be taken as just one more example of five years of lies to advance policies that have nothing to do with the welfare of Americans needing jobs or the execrable Obamacare attack on the U.S. healthcare system.

The cold reality may well be a Superbowl played on another day and a President for whom the truth is incidental to his shredding of the U.S. Constitution, the increase in the nation’s ever-growing debt, a lagging economy, and his intention to by-pass Congress rather than working with it.

That kind of thing will put a chill up any American’s spine if you think about it.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED COLUMNS:

New Polar Plunge Could Be Winter’s Coldest…
New study suggests global warming decreases storm activity and extreme weather | Watts Up With That?
Energy emergency…
CHICAGO CHILL -45°…
LIVE MAP…

Global Warming-Cooling Explained

In cold years like these, climate change deniers always ask a trick question: “How come global warming can cause both heating and cooling?” The answer is actually quite simple.

We all know that sometimes it’s hot as Hell*, and sometimes it’s cold as Hell. Clearly, Hell can make it hotter or colder. The science is settled on the fact that global warming will be Hell on Earth, and since Hell can make it hotter or colder, global warming can, therefore, also make it hotter or colder.

Let’s go one step further. Things can also be boring as Hell, as in “nothing’s happening, it’s the same old same-old.” Thus, Hell can also mean that things don’t change. If you’ve followed the reasoning so far, you can clearly see that if it gets hotter, colder, or temperatures are flat, it’s due to global warming. Just as predicted.

Granted, the realization that warming can cause cooling takes a little imagination, and this is exactly what the deniers lack, or they wouldn’t deny imaginary science. Any way you cut it, warming is a catastrophe. Imagine if every day of the year it gets two degrees hotter. Tomorrow it will be 22 degrees instead of today’s 20. On a day six months from now it will go from 90 to 92 degrees. Can you imagine the carnage? Not if you’re a denier.

We’re talking about a return to the Medieval warm period. We certainly know what that entails. Viking raids will start up all over again. The polar bear will become extinct a second time. All peer-reviewed literature will be written in Latin. There’ll be no Obamacare and everybody’s four humors will get totally out of whack without the government managing our bodily functions. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – except there’ll be no icebergs!

All because of CO2. You know what produces a lot of CO2? Climate change deniers, who just can’t stop breathing in and out. We must put an end to that.

Global Warming-Cooling reaches Mecca. Winter is coming!

*We capitalize Hell because it’s the name of a place. You know, like Washington, D.C. or Detroit.

RELATED COLUMN: Climate Change Disbelief Rises in America

Obama’s Race-Baiting Harms Black Youths

In his New Yorker magazine interview, Obama claimed the following as a contributing factor for his declining poll numbers, “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.”

While it is easy to simply add race-baiting to Obama’s growing list of character flaws, I see a much deeper consequence to Obama using his skin color for political cover.

Black youths. It is extremely irresponsible for the most powerful black man in the world to tell black youths that a significant portion of white America will always seek their demise due to their skin color. As my late mom would say, such is a lie from the pits of hell.

The vast majority of Americans are fair-minded, decent and extremely generous, striving for a post racial nation. Oprah along with countless black actors, recording artists, athletes and so on are gazillionaires due to the support of white America. For crying out loud, white America put Obama in the White House and even awarded him an undeserved second term.

For years, black rappers have made their fortunes claiming that America is eternally racist; birthing songs like “Cop Killer”. When the black president of the United States furthers the same hate-inspiring narrative, Houston we have a serious, serious problem.

The Administration and mainstream media have irresponsibly used Obama’s skin color as a nuclear weapon to nuke opposition to his socialist/progressive agenda. But, at what cost to the hearts and minds of black youths?

What about the growing black flash mob attacks? What about the growing incidents of the knockout game and polar bear hunting (black youths attacking innocent whites)?

Realizing the obvious racially polarizing and possible violent repercussions, one would assume the last thing the first black president would do is accuse white America’s racism as the reason for his tanking poll numbers.

But then, what can you expect from a Democrat and liberal media crafted “paper messiah” rather than a true character driven leader.

Civil Rights Leaders Appalled by Obama’s Racism

In separate interviews with civil rights icons Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, both men called on President Obama to apologize for his “overtly racist” comments in criticizing Rush Limbaugh and FOX News. “It’s like we get the first African-American president,” stated a visibly disappointed Jesse Jackson, “and he goes out spewing all this racist hatred about white people who disagree with him. It’s like Selma all over again.”

Al Sharpton could hardly agree more. “We were looking for hope! We were looking for change! We were looking forward to ‘getting there‘ someday, and he throws it all away with vicious and hateful racist comments critical of Rush Limbaugh only ’cause he’s white. Is this what it means to ‘get there?'”

Juan_Williams.jpgPolitical commentator Juan Williams, who used to be black before joining FOX News, was also saddened. “I don’t know what went wrong. I was a huge Obama supporter, but his comments really hurt me as a former black man. And the timing is so ironic. After a public service announcement by some concerned citizens about racial harmony gets published on YouTube, it becomes apparent that the president has been drinking some strong blend of racist coffee.”

Farrakhan.jpgMinister Louis Farrakhan explained the matter in simple mathematical terms.

“I realized I was wrong to suggest he was the messiah,” Farrakhan said. “You see, he is America’s 44th president – 44! 44 is the caliber of Dirty Harry’s handgun, and Dirty Harry was played by a white man who was very intolerant. Now we have this intolerant president who’s half white and a racist. Let’s be intellectually honest here, if you criticize a white man for any reason, you hate white men. How can we achieve racial harmony with this kind of president?”

Minister Farrakhan could not be reached for further comment and has had his calls forwarded to the Mother Wheel.

In other news, Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, stated that the recent IRS auditing of Jackson, Sharpton, Williams, and Farrakhan is “purely coincidental.”

VIDEO: Don’t Drink that Racist Coffee.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/a7mTrjSdi_M[/youtube]

Huffington Post: “Muhammad’s beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights”

This article is as risible as Karen Armstrong’s likening Muhammad to Gandhi, and is as gracefully written as a seventh grader’s book report. But for the Huffington Post, accuracy and quality are of no import: if it downplays the grim reality of Islamic jihad terror, then it’s good enough for them.

The author of this piece is Craig Considine, who has likened Muhammad to George Washington and claimed that Christianity has a concept of jihad just like Islam’s. He pulls off these feats of legerdemain by employing a very simple method: ignoring what doesn’t fit his thesis, as he does here.

“What Studying Muhammad Taught Me About Islam,” by Craig Considine in the Huffington Post, January 21:

Muslims worldwide have recently joined together to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. This day is an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims, such as myself – a Catholic – to reflect upon the life and legacy of the prophet of Islam. In this short essay, I want to share with you what I have learned about Muhammad and how his legacy informs my understanding of Islam.

Muhammad’s beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights, particularly as it pertains to freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the right for minorities to have protection during times of strife.

Muhammad initiated many legal covenants with Christians and Jews after establishing his Muslim community. For example, in one covenant with the Christian monks at Mount Sinai, Egypt, Muhammad called on Muslims to respect Christian judges and churches, and for no Muslim to fight against his Christian brother or sister. Through this agreement, Muhammad made it clear that Islam, as a political and philosophical way of life, respected and protected Christians.

This document, the Achtiname, is of even more doubtful authenticity than everything else about Muhammad’s life. Muhammad is supposed to have died in 632; the Muslims conquered Egypt between 639 and 641. The document says of the Christians, “No one shall bear arms against them.” So were the conquerors transgressing against Muhammad’s command for, as Considine puts it, “no Muslim to fight against his Christian brother or sister”? Did Muhammad draw up this document because he foresaw the Muslim invasion of Egypt? There is no mention of this document in any remotely contemporary Islamic sources; among other anomalies, it bears a drawing of a mosque with a minaret, although minarets weren’t put on mosques until long after the time Muhammad is supposed to have lived, which is why Muslim hardliners consider them unacceptable innovation (bid’a).

The document exempts the monks of St. Catherine’s monastery from paying the jizya. While it is conceivable that Muhammad, believing he bore the authority of Allah, would exempt them from an obligation specified by Allah himself in the Qur’an (9:29), the Achtiname specifies that Christians of Egypt are to pay a jizya only of twelve drachmas. Yet according to the seventh-century Coptic bishop John of Nikiou, Christians in Egypt “came to the point of offering their children in exchange for the enormous sums that they had to pay each month.” The Achtiname, in short, bears all the earmarks of being an early medieval Christian forgery, perhaps developed by the monks themselves in order to protect the monastery and Egyptian Christians from the depredations of zealous Muslims.

Similarly, in the Treaty of Maqnah, the Prophet stated Jews “may be in peace… you are in security [under Muhammad’s rule]… Towards you is no wrong and no enmity. After today you will not be subject to oppression or violence.” In the Constitution of Medina, a key document which laid out a societal vision for Muslims, Muhammad also singled out Jews, who, he wrote, “shall maintain their own religion and the Muslim theirs… The close friends of Jews are as themselves.” In safeguarding the rights of Jews, Muhammad made it clear that a citizen of an Islamic state did not have to follow Islam and that Muslims should treat Jews as they would their own friends. In developing these agreements with his fellow Muslims, Christians, and Jews, Muhammad clearly rejected elitism and racism and demanded that Muslims see their Abrahamic brothers and sisters as equals before God.

Here again, both the Treaty of Maqnah and the Constitution of Medina are of doubtful authenticity. The Constitution is first mentioned in Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, which was written over 125 years after the accepted date for Muhammad’s death. Unfortunately for Considine, Ibn Ishaq also details what happened to three Jewish tribes of Arabia after the Constitution of Medina: Muhammad exiled the Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir, massacred the Banu Qurayza after they (understandably) made a pact with his enemies during the pagan Meccans’ siege of Medina, and then massacred the exiles at the Khaybar oasis, giving Muslims even today a bloodthirsty war chant: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” Funny how we never hear Muslims chanting, “Relax, relax, O Jews, the Constitution of Medina will return.”

According to Muhammad, humanity was at the heart of Islam. In my reading and interpretation of his last sermon at Mount Arafat in 632 AD, I learned that the Prophet fought against racism long before the days of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. In the sermon, he argued “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab… a white person has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” Muhammad’s final sermon informed me that Islam teaches Muslims to be tolerant of difference and welcome to diversity.

Yet all too many Arab Muslims have lorded it over non-Arab Muslims throughout Islamic history, and some do today. Why are there so many who misunderstand Muhammad’s clear words here?

My research has also highlighted how Muhammad had similar beliefs to that of George Washington, a key founding father of America. In a January 2013 article for the Huffington Post titled “An Unlikely Connection Between Muhammad and George Washington,” I examined how these two great men virtually shared identical opinions on social conduct, modesty, humility, respect, and even hygiene. In making these connections, it seems to me that Islamic values as expressed by Muhammad, and American values as expressed by Washington, are quite similar. Muslims and non-Muslim Americans can look to the example of Prophet Muhammad and George Washington as a way to build bridges of cross-cultural understanding.

Yes, Muhammad was exactly like George Washington. You remember the stories: George consummated his marriage with Martha when he was 54 and she was nine, and she was one of about a dozen wives of the first President; Washington once personally beheaded between 600 and 900 Redcoats; married his former daughter-in-law; declared that he had been commanded to fight against people until they confessed that there was no Constitution but the Constitution and he was the first President — so many similarities. Pamela Geller ably dismantled Considine’s nonsense about Washington and Muhammad here.

Studying Muhammad has taught me invaluable lessons on the fundamental principles of Islam, but more importantly, principles of life itself. His treatment of religious minorities and his basic moral beliefs have encouraged me to further promote dialogue between Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and to improve my own everyday character and conduct. Without a doubt, my research into the Prophet’s life has showed me that he is a role model for both Muslims and non-Muslims and that humanity can benefit from Islam.

Dialogue is great if it’s honest. This article by Craig Considine is not remotely honest. One wonders also how he, as a self-proclaimed Catholic, thinks “humanity can benefit from Islam,” a religion that says he is accursed for believing that Jesus is the Son of God (cf. Qur’an 9:30) and that he should be warred against until he submits (Qur’an 9:29), and that he is the most vile of created beings (Qur’an 98:6). Is it by the virtues of magnanimity and tolerance for which he extols Muhammad on false pretenses in this article? Does he really think those virtues don’t exist outside Islam? Given the abysmal level of general education these days, it’s possible.