Al Qaeda Connections in Turkey’s Corruption Scandal?

The revelations of duplicity in the Turkish corruption investigations have apparently reached Premier Erdogan and his family.  Could these unraveling developments destabilize relations with the Obama Administration over both Iran and Syria?

Yesterday, we posted on the Turkish gas for gold scheme with Iran.   The boxes of funds uncovered by Turkish prosecutors at the state-owned Halkbank resulted in the arrest of its general manager Suleyman Aslan.

Now  there  is more on why Premier Erdogan wanted to quash investigations and prevent a prosecutor from making  arrests; possible al Qaeda connections. Those connections involve a shadowy Saudi billionaire  who  the  US has designated terrorist financier , Yasin al-Qadi.  Also involved was the Turkish intelligence service,  MIT,  and Erdogan’s son Bilal.  They conspired to use Muslim charities to channel  funds to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Al-Nusrah Front.

What is troubling is that Turkey is a NATO member, ostensibly an ally of the US.   Obama placed great trust  in forging a  partnership  with Erdogan dealing with problems in the region.  If these reports are confirmed it raises questions about the wisdom of the Administration’s dealing with Erdogan on Iran’s nuclear program.  US policy opposes Erdogan’s  covert support  of the Al Qaeda’s  agenda in neighboring Syria.

American Enterprise Institute Middle East Scholar, Michael Rubin, in yesterday’s Commentary blog Contentions, and Today’s Zaman columnist, Emre Uslu present the background in articles   Turkey Scandal’s Al-Qaeda Angle  and Yasin al-Qadi and the Erdogan Family.

Rubin in the Contentions blog post notes the al-Qadi/Erdogan connection and Al Qaeda money laundering:

Now it seems that the corruption being exposed also has an al-Qaeda angle that harkens back to the Yasin al-Qadi affair. In that case, Cuneyt  Zapsu, a close Erdogan confidant, donated money to Qadi, a Saudi businessman designated by the U.S. Treasury Department to be a “specially designated global terrorist.” Rather than distance himself from Zapsu, the prime minister doubled down and lent Qadi his personal endorsement.

Fast forward to the present day: According to Turkish interlocutors, there are consistent irregularities in 28 government tenders totaling in the tens of billions of dollars, in which kickbacks and other payments were made, a portion of which Turkish investigators believe ended up with al-Qadi’s  funds and charities. These funds and charities were then used to support al-Qaeda affiliates and other radical Islamist groups operating in Syria like the Nusra Front. Erdogan thought he had his plausible denial, but it seems that Turkish government funds supported the growth of these groups, which are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands and which subsumed the more moderate opposition.

Uslu, in his Today’s Zaman column tells us when the al-Qadi/ Erdogan connections first surfaced:

Saudi billionaire Qadi is a well-known figure within the security bureaucracy of the West. Right after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the EU as well as many other countries froze the Saudi billionaire’s assets. In recent years, the EU and many Western countries have unfrozen his financial assets; however, security services

Last June Mr. Qadi and his close associate Qutb were involved in a traffic accident in Istanbul and taken to a hospital. When they had the traffic accident, the prime minister’s chief of security was with them in the same car. More importantly, the prime minister’s son, Bilal Erdogan, was the first person to visit them in the hospital and “cleaned” the hospital records of the fact that they had had an accident while the prime minister’s chief of security was with them.

Even the pro-government Star daily confirmed an allegation that Qadi had met with the MIT chief. After the meeting, they returned to Istanbul and were involved in the traffic accident while Prime Minister Erdo?an’s chief of security, Ibrahim Yildiz, was with them in the car.

In that piece, I questioned Mr. Qadi’s relations with the prime minister and M?T and stressed the following: “Mr. Qadi may or may not have any relations with any illegal network; that is not important. What is important is that all of these examples create a fuzzy picture for the international community as to whether Turkey has become a center of a range of illegal activities, from nuclear smuggling to money laundering and helping terrorists.” (Today’s Zaman, Sept. 29, 2013)

Uslu tells what stopped Turkish prosecutors from arresting Qadi and Qutb this past week:

The details of the investigation have been revealed to the media. Mr. Qadi and Mr. Qutb are two key figures the prosecutor had asked the police to arrest; however, the police refused to comply with the order perhaps because Ankara did not want them to listen to what the prosecutor had ordered.

It seems that the prosecutor had gotten ahold of evidence that made AKP officials so panicked that they blocked the whole investigation process and created a political crisis that has deeply affected the economy.

Now, that these nefarious al-Qadi/Erdogan connections funding Al Qaeda affiliates are out in the open, one can understand the massive protests and calls for Erdogan’s resignation in Turkey.  Will these damaging revelations in the Erdogan corruption scandals blowback against US efforts in the roiling Middle East?  Could these disclosures of Erdogan family connections with alleged  money laundering via Muslim charities to  Al Qaeda  affiliate, the Al Nusrah Front, upend the scheduled Geneva II discussions  in late January 2014  seeking a truce in the 34 month civil war in Syria?  Stay tuned.

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

Sixty arrested in $2.8 Million Florida Food Stamp Fraud case

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Sonja Isger reports, “A tip from an angry grandmother triggered a two-year food stamp fraud investigation by local and federal authorities that Monday saw warrants issued for 60 people who authorities say cheated the system of $2.8 million.”

“The three men who ran the mom-and-pop grocery, Fajita’s Meat and Fish at 3921 10th Ave. North where the alleged scam took place were arrested last week and face federal charges, according to court documents. Ali Jaber, Hadi Jaber and Daniel Velazquez have run the grocery since 2006,” states Isger.

Investigators say people who qualified for federal food stamp cards went to the market and rather than buying groceries for their families swiped their cards for cash — an illegal use of the cards. The market took a cut, charging a 50 percent ‘fee’ for lying to state and federal authorities about the purchases.

In September Breitbart reported, “Police in [Brooksville] Florida have charged a woman with welfare fraud for allegedly selling her food stamp card on Facebook. Ashley Renee McGinley, 23, was charged in August while being held on an unrelated charge. The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said they received complaints from some of McGinley’s Facebook friends about her advertising the sale, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said.”

She reportedly offered to sell a $100 EBT card for just $50. Police interviewed McGinley who admitted to selling the card to a friend named “Kenneth.” Police determined that was Kenneth Dunham, who later told police McGinley sold him a $200 EBT card for $100.

Food Stamp Trafficking in Florida is a felony. It is also cash business that spawns other crimes within a community. Drugs, prostitution and illegal gambling are all supported in part by Food Stamp Trafficking. It is a growing trend that is being addressed by local, state and federal Law Enforcement agencies.

If you are aware of retail stores that exchange Food Stamp benefits for cash or buy EBT cards you can provide a Tip to the Department of Financial Services by emailing: ReportRetailFraud@myfloridacfo.com.

RELATED COLUMN: Alabama: Five Muslims arrested in ring reselling stolen goods from Kroger, Publix

Turning Point USA names Danny Huizinga Columnist of the Year for 2013

Danny Huizinga Mug

Danny Huizinga

I am dedicated to those next generation conservative writers who understand that their journalistic role is to write the truth and tell the story that no one else is telling. One of the great young organizations drawing budding journalists and video journalists to it is Turning Point USA (TPUSA). This up and coming organization is leading the charge of new conservative writers and videographers in America. TPUSA announced that Danny Huizinga was named their “Columnist of the Year for 2013.”

Huizinga upon receiving the award stated, “I am honored to accept the award. Thank you for your support! I am continually amazed at how quickly TPUSA has grown, and I’m glad to be a (very small) part of that success.”

Huizinga is 21 years old and attends Baylor University.

TPUSA provided the following interview with Huizinga.

TPUSA: What do you like best about being a TPUSA Columnist?

HUIZINGA: I really like knowing that my columns are read by hundreds of young people around the world. I am privileged to share with others in my generation the importance of getting involved, thinking about political issues, and standing up for your beliefs.

TPUSA: Why should others write for Turning Point USA?

HUIZINGA: Turning Point USA has really blown me away by its influence. I distinctly remember talking to Charlie Kirk for the first time a few years back, just when this was getting off the ground. Now, Turning Point USA has turned into an influential, well-known organization that has effectively mobilized young people in an impressive way. Writing for Turning Point USA provides a unique opportunity for aspiring political writers to get published and make a difference.

TPUSA: Why does taking a stand for your values matter?

HUIZINGA: Taking a stand for your values while respecting those who disagree with you honors the great tradition of democratic debate in our country. If you are unwilling to challenge yourself and think critically about an issue, it will be more difficult for your voice to be heard. As Americans, we have both a right and a responsibility to get involved in the political system, contributing our opinions and listening carefully to those on the other side.

To read all of Danny Huizinga’s TPUSA columns click here.

Florida Public Service Commission to take up Smart Meters January 7, 2014

According to Marilynne Martin from Venice, FL, “The Florida Public Service Commission staff has posted its recommendation to the Commission regarding Florida Power & Light’s (FP&L) request to charge for an opt out. In a nutshell, they are recommending the charge be reduced as follows: One Time Fee – FP&L requested $105, Staff Recommends $95; Monthly Fee – FP&L requested $16/month, Staff recommends $13/month.”

“The recommendation does not address the type of meter you will get. FP&L’s tariff just says ‘non-communicating’ meter. This causes two problems. For those objecting for privacy reasons, they can put a digital meter on your home that contains a computer that collects data but does not transmit such data wirelessly to FP&L,” notes Martin.

For those that are getting sick from the meters, it was found in California and Nevada that the digital non communicating meters continued to make people sick. They fought and won the right for an analog meter.

Martin states, “Staff’s report indicates that as of the writing of their report only 35 residents filed objections to the tariff. There are 4.5 million FP&L customers. No serious opposition on record so I fully expect the Commission to approve the staff recommendation and charges will most likely start to occur April 2014.”

The Commission will meet on this docket on January 7, 2014. All Docket Info can be found here http://www.floridapsc.com/dockets/cms/docketFilings3.aspx?docket=130223.

Martin provided the following talking points for those concerned about Smart Meters in Florida:

  • If you are a FP&L customer and don’t have a smart meter, please note that in your comments up front.
  • Not only should this petition be suspended but it should be put on hold pending full evidentiary public hearings on smart meters from a cost, health, privacy and security perspective. In light of the recent NSA scandals and also all the Federal Government concerns and potential mandates on cyber-security for the grid, as well as the fact that FP&L’s own estimates from the recent rate case do not show savings to the ratepayer, it is time to re-evaluate.
  • Opt Out’s alleviate some concerns but not all. What happens to the multi-family dwellings? How does someone with 10-100 meters behind their wall “opt out”? You can’t. What happens to the residents that are getting sick from their neighbors meters or the associated equipment outside their unit on the poles?
  • What exactly is a “non-standard” meter? Those opting out want to retain their analog meters and do not want a non-communicating meter (digital). (This is important as California found that the digital meters were still making people sick because of the dirty electricity it produced on their home electrical lines.)
  • Those opting out should not have to pay a fee to protect their health and privacy. The smart meters cost approx. 5 times more than the analog and their estimated useful life is half. They require more equipment (routers, repeaters, IT maintenance, security, software, telecom fees, etc.) than analogs. The cost is far greater. Weather events will cost more as there is now additional sensitive communication equipment that can be damaged and will need replacement
  • As FP&L admitted in Docket # 130160, smart meters stop communicating. FP&L needs a method to get the meter reads in for the smart meters that don’t work properly. FP&L could use the same programs to get the manual meter reads in for the opt outs. They don’t need to write separate programs.
  • Monthly manual meter reads are not required for those opting out. FP&L could do one of two things. Either do estimated billing based on history or have the customer submit their own meter reading. Once a year FP&L should be coming out to all customers (regardless of which meter they have) to inspect their equipment on our property to make sure it is in good working order. They could do a meter read at that time to verify that the customer was doing proper readings. In addition, customers could also submit digital photos of their meter to support their readings. No need for monthly charges.
  • There is PLENTY of precedent of services be performed for “some” customers and not “all” and no fee is charged. Examples, 1) spanish translations of materials, customers service, 2) brail bills, 3) TDDY services for the deaf, 4) home energy audit.

EDITORS NOTE: For those interested in the installation of smart meters on their homes in Florida may contact the Public Service Commissioners directly. Very important that you put “Comments for Docket # 130223” in the Subject line. Public Service Commission e-mail addresses are as follows:

Commissioner Eduardo E. Balbis: Commissioner.Balbis@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Julie Imanuel Brown: Commissioner.Brown@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Ronald A. Brise: Chairman.Brise@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Lisa Polak Edgar: Commissioner.Edgar@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Art Graham: Commissioner.Graham@psc.state.fl.us

Office of Commission Clerk: clerk@psc.state.fl.us

An Open Letter to Congressman Paul Ryan

chuck wooten

Chuck Wooten, Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret.)

Dear Congressman Paul Ryan and to every single GOP Congressman/Senator that voted for the budget bill just signed by President Obama,

Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed. You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your “bipartisan” budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me. You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.

You might also want to note that for at least 20 years, my brothers-in-arms answered that call of duty EVERY SINGLE DAY, without fail, without complaint, without enough money to sustain our loved ones we had to leave behind while we DID OUR JOB in every corner of the Earth. And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal–with the enemy.

Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation. Your lack of judgement and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening. Congressman, you and every Republican that voted for injuring military retirees have engaged in a complicit, sordid affair with the Democrats who’s objective has always been to dismantle the military. By climbing into their bed on this issue, you have confirmed you are absolutely no better than they and have proven it with your vote.

Congressman Ryan, the audacity which you display is noteworthy, but to unceremoniously snatch earned money from a small group that has added so much more value than the paltry $6B you looked to “save” (which is all smoke and mirrors and you know it), is reprehensible and insulting.

We have, despite the hardships, meager salaries and harsh conditions, have performed with honor and excellence…in silence, which is something most members of Congress have no idea about doing. Our job approval was, is and always be better than yours. We knew our mission and we got it done, then handed it off to a new generation in better shape than we found it.

Your ability to look us in the eye, take money from us (apparently there was ZERO, other source of waste within the federal government that you could have recovered this money from…right, got it), while simultaneously holding your hand out to beg (with passion) for our cash is stunning. Your actions have proven you do not have the tremendous intellect you’ve sold the American people on. I say, with all seriousness, Congressman, what you lack in intellect and spinal rigidity, you make up for in cajones.

I hope you and your cowardly, Republican “colleagues” hear a message from me loud and clear. You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous “representatives of the people” ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.

Chuck Wooten,
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret.)

Authors Note: While I did not write this letter, I second it. Please feel free my military friends to add your name to this letter Chuck Wooten and send it out across your network.

Who is John Beale and why I should be very concerned?

John Beale was just sent to jail for fraud. He was in charge of the EPA. His wife Nancy Kete wrote the Clear Air Act based on this fraud. Using this fraud the EPA successfully managed to close industry after industry destroying the American economy. Example: The lightbulb will now end its success due to Rep Fred Upton’s Energy committee, following this fraud.

Why is this important to you?

Americans have been trained in school under fraud programs like NCLB and CCS, to listen to sound bytes, not connect the dots. This way one issue can be reported without anyone ever following cause and effect. So let’s connect some dots.

Every Florida (American) business is being affected by the EPA fraud perpetrated by liar, John Beale (just indicted and sent to jail for fraud) and his lying wife. These liars lie and Americans are stuck picking up the cost for their destruction.  Just look at the budget from early 1990’s when these man made global warming fraud crippling policies became effective. This Fraud was and is the start and end of our debt problem. Eliminate fraud, eliminate the debt.

Perfect example: Recently we have received several emails from Floridians who have received flood bills with premiums off the charts. These new FEMA and Army Corp of Engineer’s maps are drawn using the fraud of the EPA and IPPC computer models which add 4-20 feet to the height of the ocean causing all of Florida to be a flood zone. Check your state.

As a result, the premiums for Floridians, which will cause loss of homes (the true goal), are based on fraud as well.

John Beale has been in the EPA since the late 1980’s as senior advisory in the office of air and radiation. Beale the highest paid EPA employee, paid by American tax dollars, and leading expert on Climate Change also claims about cow flatulence endangering the planet.  This Grandiose narrative resulted in loss of small farms unable to meet stringent requirements. He also pretended that the planet will burn up unless we bike to work. Now DOT pays more attention to bike paths than crumbling highways.

Beale helped rewrite the Clean Air Act in 1990, and led EPA delegations to the Climate Change Conference in 2000 and 2001. He helped negotiate emissions agreement with India and China. Beale is married to Nancy Kete, who Pres. Obama appointed the National Commission on the BP Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and offshore drilling. She is currently managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation.  Is this why only conservation groups are the beneficiary of BP funds while the people affected get little or nothing?

Nancy Kete, joined the Rockefeller Foundation in January of 2012, as Managing Director, leads the foundation’s global work on resilience (cities), including developing strategies and practices for infusing resilience thinking.  (Nancy wants you to live the ways she desires, not they way you desire. The goal is to change your consumption patterns to suit her strict requirements.)

Nancy has been a diplomat, and a Climate Change negotiator, (WRI). Kete, with 13 years at the World Resources Institute (WRI), first as a director of the Climate Energy and Pollution Program and then as founder and director of EMBARG, a program that catalyzed environmentally sustainable transport solutions to improve quality of life in the cities,  causing rezoning and loss of private property.  ALL based on lies using computer citing the precautionary principle (If I think it can happen then we must regulate for it) while carrying an expensive price tag destroying the American economy.

Dr. Kete provided recommendations on unilateral steps the industry should take to improve safety above and beyond what the regulations would require. (forcing small business to close as they could not comply)   Dr. Ketes, worked for the EPA where she led the development of the acid rain control title of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the first and as of yet most successful application of market instruments for pollution control. (like burning food for fuel causing food shortages resulting in escalating food prices doing nothing for pollution, or regulating wood burning stoves).

Dr. Kete holds a PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering from John Hopkins University. It would be tough to fathom that his wife Nancy Kete did not know about the Million dollar fraud!

Both John Beale and Nancy Kete work directly with the U.N., and contribute to their goals in Sustainable Development (aka Agenda 21), using the fraud in Climate Change and global warming, along with the Trillions of taxpayer dollars that the U.S. has invested in the United Nations scheme.

Her program decided: The West must pay for under developed countries. Closing western industry is the way: NAFTA, GATT, Free Trade Zones, outsourcing anyone???

Today building in Florida followings International Code (ICC) for “Sustainable Building” also based on this fraud.  Hundreds of small construction companies were put out of business because they could not comply with the high cost of new education, permits and fees mandated by the UN, ALSO BASED ON FRAUD.  Why is Florida being forced to follow anything from the UN WHEN FLORIDA MIAMI-DADE CODES WERE THE BEST IN THE WORLD?

Answer:  MONEY and POWER.   Instead of using American companies, Florida is now being sold to HUGE international corporations who can comply with the fraud regulations instead of small American Businesses who can not comply.

Why?

Everything we do, every policy we have is based on the Man Made Global Warming Fraud, designed to make the rich richer by destroying your business and community, while telling you they want to “HELP the Middle Class”.

Yes they want to help the middle class… out of existence.

Just check your flood insurance premium, permits, building, zoning now based on a computer model of oceans rising. The oceans are not rising.  How do we know? We measure using rulers not computers.

So sorry, computers do not control the climate.

Do these fraud policies affect you?

The fraud of man made global warming has:

1.  Cost Americans trillions of dollars outlawing and restricting construction methods forcing the use of international code.
2.  Forced small companies out of business: cars, lightbulbs, energy, fishing and farming etc to name a few.
3.  Destroyed communities: permitting, rezoning, blowing dams, holding back water, ESA, eminent domain, conservation easements
4.  Destroyed wildlife:  Killed over 200,000 head of cattle so far, eagles, birds
5.  Destroyed farming:  with ridiculous regulations, withholding water for farmers. forcing Americans to buy food from uninspected farms overseas bringing disease and bugs.
6.  Confiscated private property and land due to phony charts and computer models – claiming wetlands, wildlands, flood zones, corridors “Greenways/Blueways”
7.  Created phony off limits for land masses with phony conservation schemes while requesting more money – Florida Forever owns over 28% of Florida.  These programs taking land off the tax roles constantly require more money for more conservations programs…Where is the BP money? The bank fraud money?  in your hands, no it is now in the hands of environmentalists with more fraud schemes.  Has it helped you?
8.  Eliminating cheap energy replacing with phony expensive taxpayer subsidized  “green” energy that fails.
9.  Using tax dollars to subsidize fraud “green” sustainable development programs that that follow the Model City Plan of DETROIT.
10.  LYING to the people in order to steal in the form of phony carbon taxation

Connecting the Dots…

  1. Fraud government regulations close small business.
  2. Big Biz must use subsidies (your tax dollars) to force you to buy new overly expensive products that do not work and often cause more harm than good.
  3. Because these businesses fail, the government steps in with your tax dollars, bails out the business and takes over nationalizing that sector of commerce
  4. Big business then repays the legislators with huge donations so they will stay in business.
  5. Legislators bet in the market on your industry failing and their new favored industry succeeding.  Check to see how much money your legislator made this year.
  6. The middle class, YOU, lose your business, job, house, retirement while you are being told you bought houses that you could not afford.  Yes, you could afford that house when you bought it because you were employed. EPA, IPCC, Government agencies, NAFTA, GATT and other trade agreements, continual fraud put you out of business.
  7. With you gone, more profit for the corporation enabling the government to scream “income inequality.” Of course, your layer of income just went to the corporation profit column. With the middle class gone, the CEO gets this money.  The day the IRS changed designations and made many sales companies into W2 employees eliminating “Independent contractors” the handwriting was on the wall.
  8. The middle class is the mid level citizen who had pride in ownership, morality, loved their family, community and was extremely charitable.

  9. With the middle class focused on survival, their energy is fractured so the government adds more regulations; no one notice the excessive government control.
  10. In all your tax dollars have allowed the Fraud to filter into every industry in America, in the world. It has allowed the elimination of the middle class while screaming they want to help the middle class.

Supporting documentation:

NANCY KETES IS THE FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF EMBARG: THIS WAS UNDER HER ORGANIZATION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 

SCIENTIFIC DATA IS MISSING

Jon Stewart recognized the fraud did you?

Did you know … The media is censoring Climate Skeptics

One Judge got it right…A Washington, D.C. federal court judge handed down her sentence this week in the case against the Environmental Protection Agency’s top earner

Green programs DO NOT WORK: Obama pumps over $1B into using carbon to extract oil for uncertain environmental benefits

American Ingenuity prevails: Man finds loophole to fight government tyranny hold on the light bulb

John Beale’s fraud demands investigation into EPA

Leaving Afghanistan

On December 31, the United States is slated to begin removing its troops from Afghanistan. They have been there since shortly after 9/11 in 2001. At this writing, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a security agreement that would permit contingents of U.S. and allied troops there to train and assist its security forces beyond the end of 2014.

Karzai says we have different definitions for terrorists. They were and they are the Taliban. He wants to negotiate with them. On Christmas day they attacked the U.S. embassy in Kabul. No one was injured.

In late December, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, held a Pentagon press conference in which they asserted that the Afghan security forces are capable of “overcoming and, in most cases, overwhelming their Taliban competitors for control of Afghanistan,” but that they “lack confidence.” In addition, they face a political transition in their central government, the outcome of which is unpredictable.

President Obama deemed the Afghan conflict a good war in contrast to Iraq. Since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, it has been in a state of political crisis with constant attacks that kill Iraqis on a weekly basis. On Christmas day, Christians were attacked three times in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 37.

At the heart of the Afghan and Iraq problem is Islam, its long battle between Sunnis and Shiites, and its enduring hatred of Christians, Jews and all other faiths.

We’re in Afghanistan because it was an al Qaeda staging area for 9/11. Had we taken the approach that freed Kuwait from Iraqi conquest in 1990, we would have been in and out in short order. The U.S. led assault on Iraqi forces began in mid-January 1991 and it was over by late February.

Instead, we remained in Afghanistan. There were 630 U.S. casualties in the years between 2001 and 2008, but following Obama’s “surge” they increased to 1,544 between 2009 and 2012. In 2013, there have been 126. The Taliban suffered casualties, but they did not go away. Parked in Pakistan, their main support, they can and will return. Much of Afghanistan’s problems stem from the establishment of Pakistan in 1947.

The National Priorities Project tracks the cost of the Afghanistan conflict, asserting that taxpayers have paid $683,242,655, 879 (and growing) since it began in 2001, calculating that it costs $10.45 million an hour. The Iraq war cost $816,255,519,665.

Neither conflict produced a desired outcome and, combined with Obama’s agenda to withdraw the U.S. from any military role in the Middle East, many Americans are believed to have embraced a neo-isolationism whose roots reach back to the Vietnam conflict and earlier. The reality is that most have grave doubts and concerns about five years of failed foreign policy by the Obama administration that has sided with Islamists.

A recent Pew poll said that 52% believe “the U.S. should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” The problem with that is the prospect of Middle East and African nations in which al Qaeda and other jihadists would gain control and expand their holy war on the West.

In an analysis of Afghanistan after a U.S. withdrawal, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an adjunct assistant professor in Georgetown University’s security studies program, noted recently that “Afghanistan has known some 2,600 years of foreign invasion. The invaders did much “to shape the country’s culture, religion, politics, and geography, and some of Afghanistan’s most critical turning points came as those invaders left the scene.”

There is considerable irony in what occurred when the then-Soviet Union invaded and was eventually forced out by Afghans and jihadists like Osama bin Laden who received considerable aid from the U.S. to drive out its army in 1989. This was followed by its collapse in 1991 and Afghanistan did as well, “into anarchy and civil war.”

Several scenarios were offered by Gartenstein-Ross, but given Afghanistan’s history few hold out much hope for a strong centralized government. As the Taliban say, the U.S. military wears watches while they measure time in decades and centuries.

My own best guess is that the Taliban conflict in Afghanistan will expand. Whether an Afghan army, still in its earliest years, can protect a central government is anyone’s guess.

When jihadists are emboldened enough to try to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria and as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states join together to prepare for or deter a possible conflict with a nuclear-armed Iran, the Middle East holds the promise of a very ugly future. The implications for the U.S. can only be ignored at our peril.

Cover - AfghanistanEditor’s Note: An extraordinary book on our fighting forces in Afghanistan, a tribute to their courage and dedication, is “Afghanistan on the Bounce” by Robert L. Cunningham, a noted photographer of Presidents and heads of state who was embedded with our troops there, photographing all aspects of their lives. If you served there, know someone who did, or are a veteran, this is worth adding to your library.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

American Studies Association (ASA) = Academics Surrender to Allah (ASA)

Five thousand members of the ASA, American Studies Association, would be better identified as Academics Surrender to Allah.  They have declared jihad against the State of Israel.  Why?  ASA president Curtis Marez admitted that there are worse countries than Israel but, he added, “One has to start somewhere!” Can you picture Marez as part of a firefighting team sent to extinguish a blaze in Southern California, and he’ll start “somewhere” in North Dakota?  So they’re boycotting Israel’s universities, which are also attended by Palestinian students, rather than boycotting Palestinian universities that were instituted by Israel but are prohibited to Jewish students – perhaps a study in reverse psychology.

If you ever wondered how Nazism took hold in Germany or if the masses “really knew” what was happening in their country, look at America now. There have already been 50 court cases in 23 states decided according to Islamic Sharia law, and the actions of the ASA clearly expose the many who are willingly Sharia-compliant, eager to abandon civility, justice, and integrity, to join forces with tyranny.  Just in: another 1,000 academics have just joined the crusade.*

Israel’s universities are listed among the top 100 world universities in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer sciences and economics, with the world’s highest per capita rate of university degrees and the world’s highest ratio per capita of scientists, technicians, PhDs, physicians, with contributions in every aspect of life, while being only .02% of the world’s population.  Israel contributes to advances in water shortage, agriculture, space travel, solar power, DNA, and more, for all the world’s benefit.  Her advanced methods of Intelligence benefit America’s security.

Despite attacks from warring Arab neighbors, Israel is the only vibrant, liberal democracy in the Middle East, with the highest average living standards and per-capita income, exceeding the UK.  Israel is the largest immigrant-absorption nation on earth relative to its population, and a trustworthy first responder to countries in peril due to natural disasters.  Foremost in humanitarian programs, there was marked improvement when Israel entered Gaza. The Arab population went from 360,000 in 1967 (under Egyptian rule) to 1.4 million when Israelis withdrew in 2005.  There was progress in social welfare – the Palestinian mortality rates fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990; life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (when the average for Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa was 68).  The infant-mortality rate went from 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000.  Under Israel’s inoculation program, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus and measles were eradicated.  The Palestinians’ standard of living increased, with electricity, running water, gas ranges for cooking, refrigerators, TVs, and cars. Such was Israel’s brutal occupation.

On the other hand, Arabs as a whole and Palestinians in particular offer no scholastic advantage,  so we must conclude that the ASA is guided by other advancements – the “cutting edge” by the People of the Sword.  Palestinians must prolong their false victimization to further demonize Israel for the purpose of delegitimizing, weakening, and destroying Israel altogether.

Israel is not an apartheid nation with its Arab population of 20.7%, despite Arabic rhetoric, so the only conclusion for boycott is unabashed Jew-hatred.  These professors  were schooled by leftist instructors to hate the West, democracy, organized religions like Christianity and Judaism, and are discontinuing school study of our Founding Fathers and documents, destroying our Constitution and Bill of Rights, our proud history and exceptionalism.

The ASA claims a commitment to social justice, against racism, while aware that Israel is home to every nationality and religion, and Palestinians welcome no such mix of people and they brutally mistreat their own women and children. In the name of equality, they act to invalidate the indigenous Jews of the land, and support the usurpers who lay claim to land that was never theirs; they teach their children to hate and detonate themselves for the sake of land acquisition.  With demonic inspiration, the ASA withholds condemnation against Muslims who slowly diminish the rights of Jewish students nationwide, who kill Christians and Jews worldwide, and who would eagerly demolish our American republic.

They are fascists who have already implemented the use of Common Core textbooks to encourage the hatred of Jews, Israel and American values, derived from Judaism centuries ago.  The first monotheistic belief system to appear when barbarism reigned, the Jews introduced 613 Commandments of morality and ethics, creating a civilized society with respect for all life and property to all who accepted it.  Yet those who uphold these laws are the first victims and scapegoats of tyranny – the despised conscience of the world.

The ASA prefers totalitarianism, assuming they will be the surviving top strata to rule the others; Jews and Christians are as unwelcome as the cultures that disappeared before them.  The ASA upholds the rights of Islamic jihadists who wage war against Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, East Timor, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran’s Khudistan Arabs, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Libya, Macedonia, Maronites of Lebanon, Middle East, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia-Chechnya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Yemen.  They endorse the rights of the Muslim Student Union to intimidate, threaten and harm the Jewish students on university campuses.  They employ the Common Core textbooks and their revisionist history, where Islam is whitewashed with a kindness quite unknown in their culture, and credited with the achievements of other cultures.  How contrary it is for Muslims to be recognized for inventing Arabic numerals that were originated by the Hindus, and its responsibility for the death of 270 million innocents over 1400 years to be concealed by the next generation of victims.

Judaism has been in the crosshairs of many warring civilizations, but was never the only one. Just as no nation was considered safe from Hitler, no nation will ever be safe from Islam, yet the boycotts are against the Jews, the first begun by Arabs before Israel became a nation.  If we don’t band together, we will fall separately.  We must recapture our nation and work against the evil forces that produce groups like the ASA.

*Criticism was issued by the American Association of University Professors, the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Zionist Organization of America, American Jewish Committee, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and Stand With Us.  Penn State Harrisburg and Brandeis have officially withdrawn their membership from the ASA.

Thanks Duck Dynasty for the Christmas Gift

Duck Dynasty gave me an unexpected wonderful gift for Christmas; a renewed hope in America. Polling on various social issues confirm that liberals have made significant inroads towards secularizing America into a culture in which anything goes.

The norm on TV is disrespectful kids scolding their parents, cursing, youths sleeping around, the promotion of homosexuality and poking fun at Christians. Traditional principles and values are on the chopping block.

Several months ago, I heard about this cable show, Duck Dynasty, that was kicking American Idol’s butt in the ratings on Wednesday nights. Since the recent controversy surrounding the show, I learned that Duck Dynasty is huge; the highest rated show in cable history.

So what does the show’s popularity tell me? It tells me that instinctively people are drawn to things wholesome and good; traditional principles and values.

I watched a recently produced family Christmas movie. While it was somewhat enjoyable, a subtext of the movie was the female lead feeling hurt over the male lead’s reluctance to ask her to move in with him. Note that marriage was not on her agenda.

Then, I watched my favorites, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “The Wiz of Oz”, “A Christmas Carol” and “The Sound of Music”. There is a reason that millions of people feel their Christmas season is not complete without viewing at least one of these classics. These old movies possess that sappy wholesome intangible something that makes us feel good, safe, warm and happy.

Neither the coarsening of our culture or liberal indoctrination have been able to destroy millions of Duck Dynasty viewer’s instinctive attraction to wholesome tradition family values.

Its-A-Wonderful-LifeSo thank you Duck Dynasty. Thank you for letting me know that the battle for the culture of America is not over. Perhaps, Phil Robertson’s leadership will inspire more Americans to push-back against the tyranny of political correctness.

I still get a thrill hearing George Bailey say in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “Burt do you know me? My mouths bleedin’ Burt! Zuzu’s petals! Merry Christmas!”; Judy Garland as Dorothy singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; the nun singing “Climb Every Mountain” in “The Sound of Music”. Yes, I am just a sappy old fashion Christmas kind of guy.

Thus, I will close quoting Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol”, “God bless us everyone.”

A rebuttal to Ari Shavit’s book “My Promised Land”

my promised land book coverWhen I opened David Hornik’s  FrontPage Magazine article, “Ari Shavit’s ‘Doomed’ Israel”, I felt compelled to answer him, as he had not read Shavit’s New York Times “best seller”, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel.   Shavit’s book is the Winner of the Natan Book Award. On the reverse of the jacket are blurbs extolling his personalized view of Israel by the likes of Franklin Foer, Editor of The New Republic, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, Rabbi Daniel Gordis author and Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem college in Jerusalem, former Newsweek editor and author, Jon Meacham and author Daphne Merkin.  They extol it as “beautifully written”, “full of moral complexity”, “powerful book about the making of Modern Israel”, “passionate and fair minded”.  In the course of his polemic against Shavit’s theme of ‘gloom and doom’ for Israel, Hornik quotes a review by Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse:

However, a review by another of my esteemed authors and commentators, Ruth Wisse, makes me all the more leery of putting any time into the book.

“[E]verywhere in My Promised Land,” Wisse writes, “the techniques of literary foreshadowing are deployed to telegraph impending doom.” And yet, “according to Shavit himself, his fears arise less from what Arab and Muslim leaders intend to do to Israel than from what Israel has done to them.”

Israel, in other words, as a doomed country—as comeuppance for its own sins. Sounds all too familiar.

David Hornik may not have read Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land. I have. I found it morally flawed and in many cases redolent of the peace at all costs mentality of the marginalized left in Israel and their supporters here in the West.  Here is an Israeli leftist intellectual who engages in secular ‘yahrzeit’ memorializing all of the disappeared Arab villages and towns whose residents fled the UN partitioned areas at the behest of the Arab Higher Council warning Arabs to flee to let five invading armies crush the embryonic Jewish nation, the State of Israel.  Nowhere in Shavit’s book does he recognize the enormous toll of Jewish lives in the War for Independence, 6,000 or 1% of the 600,000 Jews.  As one graphic example he does not mention the massacre of  79 Jewish doctors, nurses and others in the April 1948 Mt. Scopus Hospital medical convoy.  His heart bleeds for  the ”massacre” of Lydda when the embryonic IDF was allegedly ordered by Ben Gurion in July 1948 to sweep out the Arab fifth columnists and Jordanian Legionnaires  from Lydda and Ramle after the Arab notables had agreed to surrender.

“Lydda 1948”, a chapter in his book,  becomes an iconic theme that Israel haters in the US and elsewhere used to promote Shavit’s book.  Note  Shavit’s article on “Lydda 1948”  that is published by the New Yorker in the October 21, 2013 issue.  Middle East media watchdog  CAMERA unloaded on Shavit five days later with a broadside of facts about what occurred in the battles for Lydda and who triggered it.   Witness the Margaret Warner interview with him on Friday, December 20, 2013, on the PBS New Hour in the venue of the historic Washington synagogue, at Sixth and I Streets, see here.  All Shavit talks about are the two pillars of ‘intimidation’ and ‘occupation’, that Israel is led by an unworthy government continuing the mantra of ‘woe is me’ Israel is doomed.

One of the more  revealing chapters in Shavit’s book is “Up the Galilee, 2003”, that recounts his journey with Palestinian–Israeli attorney Mohammed Dahla, his co-chair of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel  to visit Sheikh Raed Salah of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in the village of Umm el-Fahem. What I have taken to call Hamas in Israel. Then they visit Azmi Bishara, the traitorous former Knesset member of  the Arab List Balad party at his office Nazareth. Both Bishara and Salah are fervent Islamist enemies of Israel and the West.  Shavit says he “loves” his friend Dahla, a leader of “Israel’s Palestinian Community”.  Shavit concludes:

He is as Israeli as any Israeli I know. He is one of the sharpest friends I have. We share a city, a state, a homeland.  We hold common values and beliefs. And yet there is a terrible schism between us. What will become of us, Mohammed?  I wonder in the dark. What will become of my daughter Tamara, your son Omar?  What will happen to my Land, your land?

Perhaps fellow Israelis, including Hornik may have answered Shavit.  They are no longer buying Ha’aretz, what some have mockingly called  the New York Times of Israel.  Shavit’s colleague at Ha’aretz, Amira  Hass has been the center of controversy with her biased Pro-Palestinian coverage and allegations of radicalization of the newspaper.  Arnold Shocken publisher of Ha’aretz  has been forced to lay off staff for this newspaper of record in Israel because of its biased coverage and other competition. This is perhaps reflection of the free Hebrew version of Israel HaYom backed  by American magnate Sheldon Adelson that  has clobbered  the circulation of Ha’aretz, forced Ma’ariv to lay off its print staff  and threatened  many other Israeli dailies.

Most Israelis don’t harbor for one moment  the gloom and doom theme of Shavit and his book.  They are reinventing our world with their impressive high tech developments backed by savvy venture capitalists from around the globe.  They are producing oil and gas off and on-shore to achieve energy independence  generating royalty revenues and wealth to ensure a future.  Moreover, Israelis are committed to an active national defense of that future despite the existential threats of Iran’s nuclear project.  Why? Because their Jewish faith invented a future. A future embedded in the national anthem of the State of Israel,  Hatikvah,  “the Hope”.  That Promised Land is not Shavit’s promised land of gloom and doom.

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

US Supreme Court is Undermining Science and Society

The Supreme Court has taken up another case based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign of lies that carbon dioxide is the cause of “climate change” and claims about the quality of air in the United States. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists.

At this point in the present era, the Court has made rulings that run contrary to the original, clear intent of the U.S. Constitution and has wrought havoc on our society.

In 1973 it ruled that the killing of unborn babies was protected and millions since then have been deliberately killed. It extended protection to sodomy and same-sex marriage. It is destroying the fabric of our society that has served Americans well for more than two hundred years.

It ruled that the Affordable Health Care Act was a “tax”, enabling the Obamacare to be unleashed with the subsequent loss of health care plans by millions of Americans, often the loss of their personal physician, and the requirement that deeply-held religious opposition to contraception and abortion be negated by a law that requires their beliefs be overruled and denied.

In 2007, I wrote a commentary that was published in The Washington Times. I criticized a Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a “pollutant”, opening the door to the EPA’s rapacious intent to control all aspects of our lives based on this lie that is used to justify its war on coal-fired plants that provide nearly half of all the electrical energy we use daily. “CO2 is not a pollutant,” I wrote, “It exists in the Earth’s atmosphere and every blade of grass and every tree depends on it.” It plays no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.

The Clean Air Act and revisions passed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s. The original regulation of air pollution was a good idea, as were the laws affecting clean water, but the EPA has since used pollution to impose a vast matrix of regulations that do not reflect the fact that the nation’s air and water is now as clean as it ever can be.

Carbon monoxide emissions have fallen from 197 million tons to 89 million tons. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 3l million tons to 15 million tons. Lead emissions fell by more than 98%. Particulate emissions (soot) fell by 80%. The air in the U.S. is considerably cleaner, but the EPA’s assertions continue to be made to expand its regulatory power and to attack the sovereignty of the states.

A case that was recently argued before the Court is another EPA effort to rewrite the Clean Air Act, asserting that it be given authority to regulate the flow of alleged “pollution” between “upwind” states and those who receive particulates and gases under its control. Some 27 states are considered “upwind” and those states along with all others have their own air control laws. In states that are more heavily industrialized and which have a large number of coal-fired plants on which the EPA wants to impose expensive standards that have no basis in fact.

A coalition led by Texas of more than a dozen other states brought a case, Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, opposing the EPA’s regulatory re-write of the Clean Air Act. In August 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EPA which appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Wall Street Journal noted that “The D.C. Circuit only rarely overturns EPA rules, which shows how out of bounds the cross-state regulation is. The Supreme Court should overturn it for violating the federalist intentions of Congress, but there is also the added judicial incentive to show this increasingly rogue agency that it can’t rewrite the law as it pleases.”

The U.S. has been harmed by the many laws whose justification is based on the totally unscientific hoax regarding CO2. During the 101st and 111th Congresses, there were 692 laws introduced containing the term “greenhouse gas” when, in fact, CO2 is NOT such a gas, playing no role whatever in trapping warmth to affect the weather and/or climate of the Earth.

Stringent domestic laws and regulations, moreover, do not take into consideration the role of many other nations whose emissions are far greater than those produced here. However, reducing their emissions will have no effect on the Earth’s climate. The Earth is in what will likely be a lengthy cycle of cooling based on reduced solar radiation. It recently snowed in Egypt and in Israel where snow has long been a rarity.

The Obama administration’s “war on coal” has used the EPA to inflict an attack on the nation’s capacity to provide energy and the EPA has not ceased from using every ruling it has imposed to degrade the nation’s ability to maintain and expand the industrial base it needs to provide for economic growth, an increase in jobs, and the sovereign right of states to determine their own response to the need for clean air. The U.S. is a republic composed of separate republics.

At this point, control of the nation’s air and water quality should be returned in full to the states and the EPA should be eliminated as the threat to the nation it has become. The Supreme Court has played a role in this threat, ruling without any attention to real science, traditional values, and the clear intent of the Constitution.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Marco Rubio: 2013 Loser of the Year?

The ever-colorful, and controversial Tampa Bay Times, has easily called Senator Marco Rubio, their choice for 2013′s loser of the year.

While I don’t agree that Rubio is the loser of the year, I will say that Rubio made a compelling case for himself, and his year was more like that of his beloved Miami Dolphins, who turned out another lackluster football season. Boy, do the Dolphins really stink.

Once thought to be the future of the Republican Party, and the one that could and would beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election, Rubio managed to commit one of the biggest unforced errors in political history.

Rubio was at the top of his game, until the immigration reform debate took form. Instead of offering his own immigration reform bill, one that would encompass his pro-legal immigration position, he nestled into bed with the devil, and his demonic stooges, Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer, and Dick Durbin, and offered Americans a whopping amnesty bill that only served to enrage them, and paint himself as a pro-amnesty hack.

Rubio desperately switched gears into conduct damage control, after realizing the mistake he had made. His own staffers from the very top, to the ones at the state level, were out trying to put out the grassroots fires Rubio started, but to no avail.

Rubio had done irreparable damage to his brand.

Some within Rubio’s political circles believed that this would blow over, but this screw up will transcend far beyond 2013, and possibly affect his chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination, if he decides to run for re-election, or for higher office in 2016.

The Republican Party, which was once considered to be Rubio’s party, is now is now that of the likes of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul.

Now in all fairness, Rubio supports conservatives and conservative causes 95 percent of the time, including his recent showing of how hawkish he is on foreign affairs, and with the recent repeal Obamacare movement.

But while most Americans praise him over his accomplishments and bona fide conservative voting record, his position on immigration reform, and co-sponsoring of the amnesty-lite Gang of Eight bill in the Senate, have become the political anvil permanently strapped to his ankle.

This said, Feliz Navidad!

This column originally appeared on The Shark Tank.

Florida Congressional Delegation votes to defund our Veterans and fund Illegals

Heritage Action for America reports, “The budget agreement crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) would lift the discretionary spending caps to $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015 and increase revenues through an assortment of tax increases (which are labeled fees) in exchange for promises of future spending reductions.”

The deal represents an immediate increase in federal spending — $63 billion over the next two years. This is a significant achievement for President Obama, who believes that government spending is a panacea to America’s economic woes.The deal also relies upon promises of future cuts to offset the immediate spending increases. Amazingly, negotiators moved roughly a third of the deficit reduction ($28 billion in cuts) to 2022. By increasing spending, increasing fees and offering up another round of promises waiting to be broken, the deal represents a step backwards.

Newsmax reports, “Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is urging both parties to work through Christmas if necessary to keep the bipartisan budget deal from harming disabled veterans. Ayotte has filed two amendments she says would pay for the $6 billion lost by restoring cuts to veterans’ retirement benefits, but she said Tuesday on CNN’s ‘The Lead with Jake Tapper’ that her amendments will not be taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.” These amendments failed.

The Florida Congressional Delegation is co-Chaired by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R FL-16) and Alcee Hastings (D FL-20). The following is how members of the Florida Congressional Delegation voted for the Ryan-Murray Budget:

Republican members voting YES:

FL 1 REP. JEFF MILLER
FL 15 REP. DENNIS ROSS
FL 7 REP. JOHN MICA
FL 3 REP. TED YOHO
FL 12 REP. GUS BILIRAKIS
FL 2 REP. STEVE SOUTHERLAND
FL 17 REP. TOM ROONEY
FL 16 REP. VERN BUCHANAN
FL 4 REP. ANDER CRENSHAW
FL 27 REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN

Democrat members voting YES:

FL 9 REP. ALAN GRAYSON
FL 14 REP. KATHY CASTOR
FL 23 REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ
FL 21 REP. TED DEUTCH
FL 18 REP. PATRICK MURPHY
FL 24 REP. FREDERICA WILSON
FL 20 REP. ALCEE HASTINGS
FL 26 REP. JOE GARCIA

The following Florida Delegation members voted NO:

FL 6 REP. RON DESANTIS (R)
FL 11 REP. RICHARD NUGENT (R)
FL 8 REP. BILL POSEY (R)
FL 10 REP. DANIEL WEBSTER (R)
FL 22 REP. LOIS FRANKEL (D)

The following Florida Delegation members DID NOT VOTE:

FL 19 REP. TREY RADEL
FL 5 REP. CORRINE BROWN

When the Immovable Force Meets Jello: The Syrian Civil War

“Remember the war against Franco?

That’s the kind where each of us belongs.
Though he may have won all the battles,
We had all the good songs!”

–”The Folk Song Army,” Tom Lehrer

The United States is depending on a partner that denies to the UN that Syria even carried out a chemical attack (See: “Russia: Aug 21 Syria Chemical Attack Was ‘Staged’”). The Asad regime, which has ruled Syria since 1963 (happy 50th anniversary!), has the backing of Iran and Russia.

What do you think is going to happen? These two countries are going to back them up. That means that the United States ultimately won’t be able to do anything to the Asad regime. If Syria’s regime is backed by these two powers that the United States does not want to challenge, it cannot touch them. And that means if the United States does not want to counter them, Asad’s regime will win (except the Kurds, who are actually becoming extremely competent fighters).

If the Syrian regime–which has Iranian, Hizballah, and Russian supporters–wins the civil war, it will have another card. There are seven rebel forces. They include Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Front, and al-Qa’ida. Six of these rebel forces are Islamists. The other is the FSA, the group that up until now the United States has preferred.

Now, who are the moderates? Answer: First, the moderates are backed by the United States, and Europe can be presented as the hope of infidels, or at least Arab nationalists (former Ba’thists).

Many of their leaders are former members of the professional Syrian army. You would think that is a good thing, since they are professional soldiers, but they are the people who were oppressing the Sunnis for many decades. And the fact that they are backed by the West is now an additional disadvantage for the moderates, and they are representing an ideology that they hate. “Infidel nationalists” plus “Western stooges”–this does not put them at an advantage.

The fact that the Kurds keep winning their battles gives them a chance, but if I were a betting man, I would not place the odds of the Syrian rebels so high–at least not the Kurds.

Why not? Because the United States is concluding that the “moderates” are not going to be influential. So the United States will even side with “hardline Islamists.” Clearly the Obama administration had no trouble working with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, until the Egyptians decided they were going to back the military regime to stop it. In Syria, however, there is no military regime that would be acceptable to the Sunni bloc. As for al-Qa’ida, they are going to have to steal weapons for themselves.

So far there are 2 million Syrian refugees and an estimated 200,000 people have been killed. Basically, this will be a Western defeat and a human tragedy. Out of approximately one million Syrian Christians, only about 100,000 now remain.

At an academic conference, an Israeli professor was standing next to an Egyptian academic, and proudly said (to show tolerance), “You know my institute is called the Begin-Sadat Institute.”

The Egyptian says, “Why Begin?”

In the Middle East the “you give an inch and they take 2 miles” principle works for everything. Poor Syria.

Dedicated to Staff Sgt. Major Shlomi Cohen, Killed on the Lebanese Border, December 16, 2013.

EDITORS NOTE: We welcome Professor Rubin to the team of contributors to our e-Magazine. His perspectives on the Middle East are critical to understanding how our policies, or a lack there of, impact the people in that region.

Government Largess is the Opiate of the People

I attended a round-table presentation given by a local doctor on expanding Medicare to cover ever more Americans. A member of the group during the discussion asked everyone around that table about their personal health care coverage. Everyone said the federal government was at least in part subsidizing their coverage.

I want to use the example of Social Security to explain how we have all become addicted to government largess. With our addiction government control over us has increased to the point that today many are dependent on federal largess to maintain their health, happiness and well being.

Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” I submit to you that, “Government largess is the opiate of the people.”

Government is defined as a “system of ruling or controlling”. Largesse is defined as, “the liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior.” Therefore, government largess is ruling or controlling by the liberal giving to inferiors (the governed).

Let me provide a brief historical perspective on how we got here.

We the people began to learn about government largesse 104 years ago with the founding of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society in New York City on September 12, 1905 in Peck’s Restaurant. An organizational meeting was held and Jack London was elected President with Upton Sinclair as First Vice President. The ISS was established to, “throw light [in America] on the world-wide movement of industrial democracy known as socialism.” Their motto was “production for use, not for profit.”

Production for use, not for profit is the prime goal of government largess.

So how could socialists begin distributing government largesse? First they had to gain unfettered control of production.

On February 3, 1913 Congress passed and the states ratified the Sixteenth Amendment to our Constitution. Congress grabbed control of production via the federal income tax. We taxed our productivity by tapping every American’s wages. With the millions, then billions, and now trillions of dollars that Congress collected, they could entice or even force the strongest American to take the government largesse drug.

Then on April 8, 1913 Congress passed and the states ratified the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution which transferred U.S. Senator Selection from each state’s legislature to popular election by the people of each state.

These two events made it much easier to collect and distribute government largesse as now Senators were no longer loyal to their state legislatures or primarily concerned with state sovereignty. Now U.S. Senators, along with U.S. Representatives, saw the value of spreading the government largesse drug amongst the people in return for votes.

During the Great Depression Congress created the first opiate for the masses and named it Social Security. It was to be a social insurance program run by government, in other words guaranteed government largess for life.

The Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt. He and Congress said this new drug would keep those unemployed, retirees and the poor financially secure. He called it the New Deal. All we needed to do was just pay in and all would be well.

In 1937 the United States Supreme Court in U.S. vs. Butler validated the Social Security Act and stated that, “Congress could, in its future discretion, spend that money [collected from the income tax] for whatever Congress then judged to be the general welfare of the country. The Court held that Congress has no constitutional power to earmark or segregate certain kinds of tax proceeds for certain purposes, whether the purposes be farm-price supports, foreign aid or social security payments.” All taxes went into the general fund.

Testifying before the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives in 1952, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration said—“The present trust fund is not quite large enough to pay off the benefits of existing beneficiaries”—those already on the receiving end, in other words. In 1955 chief actuary believed that it would take $35 billion just to pay the people “now receiving benefits”.

In 1935 under the Social Security program the Congress included the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Act (AFDC).

During the late 1950s many states realized that this act, while created to help widows with children, was being used to subsidize women having children with men they were not married to. Louisiana alone took 23,000 women off the AFDC act rolls based upon their immoral behavior.

In 1960 Arthur Flemming, then head of the Department of Health and Human Services under President Dwight David Eisenhower and a key architect of Social Security, issued an administrative ruling that states could not deny eligibility for income assistance through the AFDC act on the grounds that a home was “unsuitable” because the woman’s children were illegitimate.

In 1968, the United States Supreme Court’s “Man-in-the-House” rule struck down the practice of states declaring a home unsuitable (i.e., an immoral environment) if there was a man in the house not married to the mother. Thus, out-of-wedlock births and cohabitation were legitimized. In very short order, the number of women on welfare tripled and child poverty climbed dramatically. The assault on the family was on and Congress and the Supreme Court were co-pushers of this new government largesse drug called AFDC.

In effect the federal government became the pimp, the homes of single mothers became the brothels and the fathers became the Johns. The children begotten by these women became the next generation of addicts. Just as a baby born to a mother doing crack is addicted to cocaine, so too are these children born with a lifetime addiction to the onerous and destructive drug – government largess.

Then Congress added a new ingredient to the powerful Social Security drug called Medicare on July 30, 1965.

Congress created Medicare as a single-payer health care system. Medicare was for those over 65 years old and was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson called it part of his Great Society program. Congress immediately got more addicts to begin taking this drug.

At the same time Congress added a second even more powerful ingredient to this drug called Medicaid. This new ingredient brought into being an entirely new distribution system – all of the states of the union. Even though this new program violated state sovereignty it was passed anyway, in no small part because Senators were no longer accountable to the State Legislatures but rather committed to pushing government largess.

The states were now helping pay for and distribute this powerful and expensive designer drug. The drug was offered to low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Congress now had more people on the Social Security drug than ever before. Congress had turned a corner – addiction to government largesse was now imbedded in our society.

But Congress was not finished for it kept looking for more clients until we now know that the estimated unfunded liabilities for these four drugs are:

Social Security – $10.7 trillion

Medicare Parts A and B – $68 trillion

Medicare Part D – $17.2 trillion (created in just 3 years)

Our addiction to government largess will cost our children and grandchildren an estimated $95.9 trillion dollars. Ladies and gentlemen, the gross domestic product of the entire world in 2007 was $61 trillion.

I repeat my premise that government largess is the true opiate of the people.

I close with the following quote from a May 26, 1955 Herald-Tribune News Service article:

“Seven Amish bishops appealed to Congress today to exempt members of their church from receiving any benefits of the Social Security program. They are willing to continue paying Social Security taxes, however . . . . The bishops made it clear that no elder of the church would think, today, of applying for Social Security or any other government benefits. They want the law changed, they said, to “remove temptation” from their children and grandchildren.”

Watch this video: Government Gone Wild Seminar: Cradle to Grave