How to Stop a “Toxic Culture of Education” in Florida and Beyond

Joshua Katz is a high school mathematics teacher in Orange County, FL. In this video he talks about how Florida, and the United States, is not focusing on students. High stakes standardized testing, No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top and Common Core are the problems and not the solution. Today education focuses on accountability not students. This creates a “toxic culture.” Rigor replaces relevance in school curriculum. Its all about profit, not student performance.

Katz’s has two solutions: Defund public education give the money back to the taxpayers and parents. Double down on public education – give the resources and control of education curriculum back to the students and parents.

common core math problem

Common Core math problem. For a larger view click on the image.

In the mid 1800’s, Horace Mann captured the potential impact of education on society. Katz warns that in public education “we have yet to realize the potential he saw, and in fact, we are missing the mark by a wider and wider margin.”

Katz states, “We have created a ‘Toxic Culture of Education’ in our country that is damaging students, impacting our economy, and threatening our future. Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, we have embraced a culture of high stakes testing and are perpetuating a false sense of failure in our schools. We have ignored research and data on effective policy making practices in order to serve the interest of private industries that have monetized our students. The impact is being felt in communities, on college campuses, and in our economy.”

The solution lies in a common sense approach to student development, curriculum choice, career exploration, and relevant data analysis. This talk will present a vision of an education system that allows us to embrace our full potential if we only had the courage to ask “Why Not”?

Katz warns, “Stop judging the fish on how they climb trees!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/BnC6IABJXOI[/youtube]

You’ve Got One Wish: You can make the world a better place. What do you do? by Steve Fritzinger

Recently, a friend asked a group of us, “If you had one wish to make the world a better place, what would you wish for?”

Some people gave the standard answers: world peace, the end of hunger, that sort of thing. Not me. You see, I know that wishes come from genies and, in my experience, genies are cruel. If you wish for the end of hunger, a genie might kill everyone else in the world and leave you to scavenge for canned goods in the post-apocalyptic rubble. Technically, your wish would have been granted, but that’s probably not what you had in mind.

Knowing that it’s unwise to trust mysterious, powerful entities that you can neither understand nor control, I was more thoughtful about my wish. I wanted a wish that not even the most malevolent genie could twist into something evil. A wish that was safe from unintended consequences and blowback. A wish that would have good results, not just express good intentions.

While I was at it, I thought, why solve just one problem?  Could I wish a wish that would solve all the world’s problems at once?

It was a tall order, but after due consideration, I hit on the solution. I would wish for a simple, practical, repeatable way to help societies become open, liberal, and economically free. Such societies are able to solve problems for themselves in ways that are unimaginable to genies and other mystic entities. Instead of solving problems one wish at a time, they solve problems in bunches, creating huge advances in human flourishing.

Even without genies, there are plenty of examples of wishes backfiring in the real world. Take vitamin A deficiency, for example. This condition is widespread across the developing world. It kills 670,000 children a year and blinds millions more. Scientists and humanitarians long wished for a grand solution to this scourge. In 1984 they came up with the idea of Golden Rice, a genetically modified strain of rice that contains beta-carotene, which the body can turn into vitamin A. Since rice is a staple of diets in poor countries, turning it into a source of vitamin A could greatly reduce or even eliminate vitamin A deficiency.

Scientists started working to make this wish reality, but after 30 years of development at a cost of over $100 million, Golden Rice has yet to save a single life. For much of its history, Golden Rice was mired in patent disputes. Over 40 international patents control the techniques used to transplant genes from one species to another. Legal wrangling over who owns the rights to what delayed the project for a decade. Those issues were finally resolved when the patent owners agreed to create a patent pool that would allow Golden Rice to move to commercial development unencumbered by licensing fees or the risk of lawsuits.

That wasn’t the end of Golden Rice’s woes, though. When scientists planted test fields of the rice in the Philippines in 2013, environmentalists and skeptics of genetically modified foods denounced the tests and vandalized the fields. They tore up the seedlings and set the project back months. The promise of sparing the eyesight of millions of children wasn’t enough to overcome the fears of what could happen if we allowed “Frankenfoods” in our diets.

The countries that eventually grew into today’s relatively open, liberal, and economically free societies were once also stricken with vitamin A deficiency. Today, that disease is almost unheard of. It didn’t take a genetically modified cereal crop to eliminate it. Blessed with economic freedom, those societies simply grew rich enough that even the poorest people could afford a varied diet with either enough green leafy vegetables to meet their vitamin A needs or, at worst, foods that have been fortified with vitamin A.

While getting rich enough to solve their vitamin A problem, those societies also almost completely eliminated infant mortality, created near universal literacy, transitioned children from labor in factories and farms to schools and created opportunities for happiness unheard of just a few generations ago. These societies have advanced so far that, for the first time in human history, we worry that our poor people are too fat.

In a handful of developing countries, half-steps toward economic freedom are starting to work their wish-free magic. Some public health officials now argue that Golden Rice is not needed in India and parts of China because those countries can afford more of the same varied diets and enriched foods eaten in the developed world. Just like in the developed world, those countries are enjoying the same wide-ranging improvements in quality of life that the developed world has experienced.

Solving all the world’s problems in one stroke is an appealing prospect. The next time I have a wish to make, I’m wishing for the advancement of open, liberal societies and economic freedom everywhere. That should work out much better than my last encounter with genies.

ABOUT STEVE FRITZINGER

Steve Fritzinger is a business consultant in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Public schools are helping to shape and segregate our cities by Jenna Robinson

Do Cities Cause Their Own Sprawl?

“Location, location, location!”

When my husband and I bought our first home back in 2004, we heard that phrase a lot. Since we were young newlyweds with no children, we interpreted it to mean proximity to great restaurants and fun cultural attractions.

But later—after learning the word “escrow” and welcoming a baby—we discovered the real reason: school zones and property taxes. Homes in new, up-and-coming neighborhoods are zoned for terrible, crumbling schools. Homes in a great school zones that are also close to work are too expensive for many young families. Affordable, family-sized homes in great school zones with low taxes only exist in the sprawling suburbs and exurbs.

By now, most of us are familiar with the conventional wisdom on urban sprawl: Evil developers, shameless capitalists, white flight, and selfish soccer moms create sprawl. They do so at the expense of the natural environment and without regard to the dynamic, exciting possibilities of city life or the detrimental effect on our waistlines.

Regular readers of The Freeman are also familiar with the countervailing libertarian argument that zoning laws contribute to sprawl by segregating different land uses. Federal land-use policies have also been accused of promoting sprawl.

But cities and school boards also play a role.

North Carolina State University finance and real estate professor Bartley Danielsen’s latest research finds that many families with young children like to live in hip, urban downtowns—until those children are old enough for elementary school. In Chicago, he found that stroller-to-backpack ratios (a measurement of babies and toddlers to school-age children) in the city were exactly the reverse of those in the suburbs and exurbs. In other words, it’s not the birth of a child that causes parents to seek suburban bliss, it’s that child’s entrance into kindergarten.

Chicago’s low-performing schools, Danielsen concluded, contribute considerably to sprawl around the city. More specifically, parents’ lack of choice drives sprawl. If Chicago allowed parents to choose their children’s schools without regard to location, he argues, many young families would remain downtown and commute to school instead of moving to the suburbs and commuting to work. (Even better, he says, would be building charter schools in the inner city.)

Danielsen’s preliminary investigation into Vermont’s school system, where counties without schools offer vouchers, suggests that choice improves neighborhoods. By assigning schools, school boards are shaping demographic patterns—usually in ways they don’t intend.

A public-school-choice bill making its way through the Louisiana legislature may test the hypothesis further. The bill will allow students who attend failing public schools to switch to higher-performing public schools. The proof of the pudding will be whether parents, to some degree, stop fleeing fashionable cities for remote suburbs.

City councils and county commissions also shape demographic patterns through tax policy. Higher property taxes in cities than in unincorporated areas of surrounding counties encourage citizens to move in order to find more affordable property. Lower taxes and reduced fees for water, sewer, and trash collection combine to save county residents considerable money when compared to their city counterparts.

Even in places where property taxes are relatively low, living in the county is cheaper than living within city limits. Raleigh, North Carolina, provides a case study. Residents and businesses in Raleigh pay $0.9166 per $100 of assessed value. Residents outside the city limits in Wake County pay just $0.5340 per $100. Raleigh’s downtown assesses an extra $.0786 per hundred dollars. Another area close to Raleigh’s center assesses an additional $0.10. Those two extra assessments drive prices up—and demand down—close to the city’s central business district.

The combination of higher taxes and worse schools drives families with children away from city centers, contributing considerably to sprawl.

For proponents of both markets and cities, the public policy implications are clear: Cities can encourage dense growth without resorting to costly regulations or draconian land-use laws. A good start would be scrapping the higher taxes levied on central business districts or areas targeted for redevelopment.

A few policy options exist for school boards. Danielsen recommends building charter schools in inner cities to keep school-aged children downtown. But to some extent that strategy has been tried. Many cities located magnet schools in low-income neighborhoods in the 1970s and 1980s to no effect. Parents were likely prevented from permanent housing choices by the random nature of magnet assignments. The same objection applies to using charter schools to fight sprawl.

A better policy would be to allow parents to choose any school in the district, as long as they provide their own transportation. Such a policy would allow parents to base their housing choices on factors other than school zones, fundamentally changing the housing market. (A law allowing North Carolina students to attend any public school in the state was briefly considered this year. But the “open enrollment” bill was tabled when many districts objected.)

City policies are their own worst enemy. Taxes, school zones, and local land use guidelines are all obstacles to individuals who want to live, work, and raise their families in the city center. For healthy urban growth, cities should scrap the “urban planning” and just let markets work.

ABOUT JENNA ROBINSON

Jenna Robinson is director of outreach at the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Florida becomes Leading Safe Haven for Gun Manufacturers

Florida in particular, and Southern states in general, have become safe havens for gun manufacturers. In response to anti-gun legislation, labor issues and over-regulation in states where gun-making once flourished, like New York and Massachusetts,  manufacturers large and small are finding better places to do business across the American South.

The map below shows the recent relocation or expansion of forty gun manufacturing companies into Southern states. Of the forty companies Florida leads with way with ten companies or 25% of the total.

Guns_South_Map

Map courtesy of American Rifleman. For a larger view click on the image.

49H

John Zent.

John Zent in Gun Culture writes, “In the past six months, three preeminent firearm manufacturers—RugerBeretta, and Remington—announced plans to build new gun factories, and it’s no coincidence that all three chose not to expand at current locations. In fact, the companies publicly stated that moves to the gun-friendly South at least partly hinged on rampant anti-gun legislation in northeastern states where they have been long-time, tax-paying fixtures in the business community. In a Washington Times op-ed piece, Dr. Ugo Gusalli Beretta slammed the hypocrisy: ‘Unfortunately, as we were planning that expansion, Maryland’s governor and legislature voted in favor of new regulations that unfairly attack products we make and that our customers want. These regulations also demean our law-abiding customers, who must now be fingerprinted like criminals before they can be allowed to purchase one of our products.’”

“Significant gun manufacturing continues to occur in the northeast, where major players like Smith & Wesson, Kimber, Colt’s and SIG Sauer appear firmly entrenched. Ruger and Remington, for that matter, still have operations at their original locations. As American Rifleman Editor-in-Chief Mark Keefe pointed out in his “Keefe Report” last July (“Moving: It Isn’t That Simple”), there are many obstacles that stand in the way of gun-company relocation, not the least of which is concern for loyal employees. Nonetheless, one must wonder what the future holds for America’s traditional “Gun Valley” if states there continue on the course of self-destructive legislation that cripples corporate vigor and strips the rights of law-abiding citizens,” notes Zent.

Zent lists the following manufacturers who have relocated or expanded their facilities in the American South:

1) Ashbury Precision Ordnance, Ruckersville, VA
2) Sturm, Ruger, Mayodan, NC
3) Para USA, Pineville, NC
4) FNH USA/Winchester, Columbia, SC
5) Ithaca Gun, Aynor, SC
6) PTR, Aynor, SC
7) Daniel Defense, Ridgeland, SC
8) Daniel Defense, Black Creek, GA
9) MasterPiece Arms, Comer, GA
10) Lothar Walthar Precision, Cumming, GA
11) Knight’s Armament, Titusville, FL
12) Kel-Tec, Cocoa, FL
13) Diamondback, Cocoa, FL
14) Taurus/Rossi, Miami, FL
15) Heritage Manf., Miami, FL
16) Doublestar, Winchester, KY
17) Remington/Marlin, Mayfield, KY
18) Beretta, Gallatin, TN
19) Barrett, Murfreesboro, TN
20) Remington, Huntsville, AL
21) Steyr Arms, Bessemer, AL
22) Wilson Combat, Berryville, AR
23) Daisy Manf., Rogers, AR
24) Bond Arms, Granbury, TX
25) American Derringer, Waco, TX
26) STI Int’l, Georgetown, TX
27) High Standard/AMT, Houston, TX
28) Mossberg, Eagle Pass, TX
29) BPI Outdoors, Duluth, GA
30) Walther Arms, Fort Smith, AR
31) Nighthawk Custom, Berryville, AR
32) Surgeon Arms, Prague, OK
33) Shield/Texas Black Rifle, Shiner, TX
34) Alexander Arms, Radford, VA
35) Jarrett Rifles, Jackson, SC
36) American Tactical, Summerville, SC
37) Glock, Smyrna, GA
38) Core Rifle Systems, Ocala, FL
39) SCCY, Daytona Beach, FL
40) Ares Defense, Melbourne, FL
41) Serbu, Tampa, FL
42) Colt Competition, Breckenridge, TX

Obama Using Radical ‘Cloward-Piven’ Maneuver to Create Chaos at the U.S. Border

Please read the below article on President Obama’s radical Cloward-Piven maneuver to create massive confusion, overwhelm the system and bring chaos to the Southern U.S. border.  The United States no longer has a Southern border with Mexico, it is a wide open lawless area becoming more and more dangerous for those living and working there.  The United States is the only country in the world that doesn’t enforce its border to protect its citizens.

Obama has instigated the arrival of thousands of Illegal Immigrants to enter the Republic, and has no intention of securing the border with a fence that would work.  The massive invasion of Illegal Immigrants could be halted in the matter of days if Obama did what President Truman did after WWII, and President Eisenhower did at the end of the Korean War—they closed the southern border with Mexico, and deported 13 million Illegal Immigrants to help veterans returning from combat duty to obtain employment following their Honorable Discharges.  The President can easily federalize and deploy the US National Guard and/or the US Army Reserve to close the southern border immediately.  The only reason a comprehensive Immigration policy has not gained support in Congress is because the President refuses to seal the southern border.

Obama has changed the US Border Patrol from a Law Enforcement Agency into a babysitting agency.  Border Patrol Agents have been telling the American people that the Obama administration’s policy of open borders is allowing thousands of Illegal Immigrants to enter at will, and that Obama has every intention to unilaterally grant amnesty to ever Illegal Immigrant entering in violation of Federal Law.  For the last 5 years, we have observed the current occupant of the Oval Office violating his oath of office and Federal Laws with regard to Illegal immigration at will.

The Obama administration is now taking the place of coyotes smugglers, by collecting thousands of Illegal Immigrants at the open border, putting them on buses and airplanes, shipping them to various cities throughout the nation, and releasing them to wander at will in the middle of the country knowing full well that they will never appear in court.  Obama previously sent a strong signal in his speeches to the countries and people of South America, that if they sent their Illegal Immigrant children to arrive in the US, they would “never” be deported.  The US Border Patrol is telling the administration and the American people that terrorists, drug smugglers, criminals, human smugglers, Middle East citizens, and Chinese citizens are walking across the open order along with many of those Illegals Immigrants children, posing as their guardians.

Thousands of Illegal Immigrants with contagious disease are not being properly quarantined, they are being allowed to enter the country at will to spread their contagious diseases.  The US had previously controlled and virtually eradicated: tuberculosis (TB), Chagas disease, dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis, plus other contagious diseases, but the Illegal Immigrants carrying these invisible “contagious infective travelers” in the tsunami of 90,000 Illegal Immigrants, entering the United States, are being allowed to enter the country at will to spread their contagious diseases. A government-contracted security force threatened to arrest doctors and nurses if they divulged any information about the contagion threat at a refugee camp housing illegal alien children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.  You can read much more by clicking on the link:

Members of the Obama administration, led by Obama’s appointed Czars, are presiding over one lawless act after another; they perpetrated the illegal Fast & Furious gun running operation to Mexican drug cartels, the illegal gun running operation to Al Q’ieda terrorists in Libya & Syria, the criminal program to have the IRS prevent American Citizens from exercising their basic Constitutional right to campaign in elections, the program to restrict the religious liberty and freedom of speech in the pulpit of members of the US Armed Forces, the criminal intention to prevent the US Armed Forces from protecting the lives of Americans under attack by Al Q’ieda terrorists during The Battle of Benghazi, the senior managers of the VA appointed by the Obama administration destroying 600,000 veterans applications for medical care, and now Obama is asking Congress for $2 billion to provide weapons to anti-American Islamist terrorist fighting in Syria.

CONGRESSMEN: OBAMA USING ‘CLOWARD-PIVEN MANEUVER’: ‘Attempt to flood the border with illegals’ part of infamous socialist strategy

jerome corsiby  JEROME R. CORSI

Jerome R. Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D., is a WND senior staff reporter. He has authored many books, including No. 1 N.Y. Times best-sellers “The Obama Nation”

NEW YORK – Two U.S. congressmen tell WND they believe the flooding of America’s Southwest border with thousands of illegal-alien children seeking government handouts and citizenship is the intended outcome of policies by the Obama administration derived from a strategy by radical sociologists to transform America into a socialist state.

In the 1960s, professors Andrew Cloward and Francis Fox Piven of Columbia University, Obama’s alma mater, devised a plan to provoke chaos by deliberately overwhelming governmental systems and the U.S. economy to the point of collapse, paving the way for state intervention that would ultimately replace America’s free-enterprise republic with a collectivist system.

“I do feel this attempt to flood the border with illegals is a playing out of the Cloward-Piven theory,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

“If you don’t see them bring reinforcements down there to seal the border, that means that, yes, it’s a Cloward-Piven maneuver to flood the country until we get to the point where we are an open-borders country that welcomes everybody, legal and illegal,” he told WND.

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, agreed that Obama – who studied the chaos strategy at Columbia, according to a classmate – “is trying to do a Cloward-Piven thing with the border.”

“Obama follows all the far-left, Leninist, socialist-type stuff,” Stockman told WND.

He said it’s “an open secret Obama is trying to flood Texas with illegals to make it into a blue state,” with a Democrat majority.

“If we lose Texas, and it becomes like California, then the Republicans lose the chance of ever getting a Republican elected president,” the Texas lawmaker warned.

King agreed that one of the aims of the illegal-alien flood is to turn Texas into a Democrat state.

“You or I could shut that thing down in less than a week,” he said. “Instead of busing and flying illegals out of Texas, you fly enforcement people in.”

King said that while the U.S. is spending $7 a mile to defend the border, “we need to take people to plug the leak.”

“It’s the Battle of the Bulge down there, and you send in George Patton and the Third Army to relieve the surrounded 101st Airborne,” King said.

Hurricane-force

A flood of illegal-aliens children enticed by Obama policies favorable to minors has escalated to a “crisis of the federal government’s creation,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has charged.

The nearly 1,000 illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America crossing into Texas each day is being compared to Hurricane Katrina by overwhelmed officials.

“How do you prepare for that?” said Don Ray, the executive director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition. “You can’t have an influx of people like that without having an impact.”

Ray told KRLD-TV in Dallas-Ft. Worth that similar to the aftermath of Katrina, relocation services are in operation.

“In the case of Katrina, most of them were United States citizens or people that were here lawfully, and now you have people that aren’t here lawfully.”

Among the policies allegedly attracting illegal aliens is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows some illegals who came to the U.S. as children to defer deportation.

History lesson

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas.

Stockman told WND his office conducted a study showing that California’s transformation into a Democrat-majority state was directly related to the 1986 amnesty bill passed by Democrats in Congress under Republican President Ronald Reagan.

“After Reagan did this, the illegal immigrants voted Democrat,” he noted. “Still our party thinks, ‘They’re going to love us after we do this,’ but it hasn’t been borne out by the history.”

Stockman criticized former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, now a GOP consultant, for advising Republican candidates to back “immigration reform,” which, as currently conceived in Congress, includes some form of amnesty for illegal aliens living in the U.S.

Fleischer “never ever ran a campaign,” said Stockman, “and yet he’s an expert in campaigns.”

“It’s absurd. We’re the crew taking orders from a guy who’s never been on a boat, yet he’s the captain of the boat – and yet he’s giving directions,” he said.

Stockman sees the Cloward-Piven chaos theory at work in Obama’s foreign policy as well.

“All that blood and treasury – and Iraq is going to al-Qaida,” he said, referring to news Wednesday that a second city has fallen to al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militants.

“And don’t forget Libya. We have the black flag of al-Qaida flying over Libya now, and if Obama had his way, we’d also have the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt,” he said.

Stockman also criticized Obama’s diplomacy in Egypt, saying he “was rude to the Egyptian leader,” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is working with Israel to remove terrorists from the Sinai.

“The whole Middle East is going to become a radical Islamic state,” he said.

Cantor defeat about immigration

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

King said the shocking primary defeat Tuesday of House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia was about immigration.

“The voters stepped up and supported a candidate who has done an excellent job of articulating how important it is to restore the rule of law as a component of American exceptionalism,” he said, referring to tea-party candidate David Brat.

Cantor has expressed support for the principles of Obama’s proposed DREAM Act, which would grant amnesty to illegal aliens who came to the U.S. as children.

“The establishment will try to spin this, but Cantor’s loss reflects a voter rejection of amnesty, and it should put the brakes on any effort to move amnesty legislation in the House,” King said.

Stockman said the “key to Cantor losing was that the conservatives – including talk radio – united behind one candidate instead of what happened in my race where you had different people on our side supporting different GOP candidates.”

He noted the Senate Republican primary in South Carolina in which incumbent Sen. Lindsay Graham won the nomination against six opponents was similar.

“As long as we fight among ourselves, we lose,” Stockman said.

He emphasized that Cantor’s loss “killed immigration (legislation), and we need to keep getting that message out.”

Stockman said that in an interview with the Associated Press, the reporter insisted it was Democrat voters crossing over that defeated Cantor.

But Stockman said a study by his office found that Brat actually received fewer votes in Democrat areas than Mitt Romney did in the 2012 election.

“So, it’s a spin they’re trying to put out here to keep the thing alive,” the Texas congressman said.

King said regarding immigration that House Republicans may “put up a fight” for a time, “but we have telegraphed that we will cave in rather than hold our ground.”

He said it remains to be seen whether or not Republicans will coalesce around a new House majority leader willing to take a strong stand against amnesty.

“I will not support anyone for leadership who supports amnesty,” he declared.

Read more.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Rick Perry Calls for National Guard to Defend the Border

Obama to Pitch Immigration at Citizenship Ceremony

Immigration End Game Revealed: New Law Would Give Illegal Immigrants The Right To Vote, Collect Government Benefits

Progressives: “I Prefer Security to Freedom” by Leonard E. Read

Many people wander unwittingly into socialism, gulled by assumptions they have not tested. One popular but misleading assumption is that security and freedom are mutually exclusive alternatives—that to choose one is to forego the other.

In the United States during the past century, more people achieved greater material security than their ancestors had ever known in any previous society. Large numbers of people in this country accumulated a comfortable nest egg, so that “come hell or high water”—depressions, old age, sickness, or whatever—they could rely on the saved fruits of their own labor (and/or that of family members, friends, or parishioners) to carry them through any storm or temporary setback. By reason of unprecedented freedom of choice, unparalleled opportunities, provident living, and the right to the fruits of their own labor—private property—they were able to meet the many exigencies that arise in the course of a lifetime.

We think of these enviable, personal achievements as security. But this type of security is not an alternative to freedom; rather, it is an outgrowth of freedom. This traditional security stems from freedom as the oak from an acorn. It is not a case of either/or; one without the other is impossible. Freedom sets the stage for all the security available in this uncertain world.

Security in its traditional sense, however, is not what the progressives are talking about when they ask, “Wouldn’t you rather have security than freedom?” They have in mind what Maxwell Anderson called “the guaranteed life,” or the arrangement described by Karl Marx, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Under this dispensation, the political apparatus, having nothing at its disposal except the police force, uses this force to take the property of the more well-to-do in order to dispense the loot among the less well-to-do. In theory, at least, that’s all there is to it—a leveling procedure!

Admittedly, this procedure appears to attract millions of our fellow citizens. It relieves them, they assume, of the necessity of looking after themselves; Uncle Sam is standing by with bags of forcibly collected largess.

To the unwary, this looks like a choice between security and freedom. But, in fact, it is the choice between the self-responsibility of a free man or the slave-like security of a ward of the government. Thus, if a person were to say, “I prefer being a ward of the government to exercising the personal practice of freedom,” he would at least be stating the alternatives in correct terms.

One need not be a profound sociologist to realize that the ward-of-the-government type of “security” does preclude freedom for all three parties involved. Those from whom their property is taken obviously are denied the freedom to use what they’ve earned from their labor. Secondly, people to whom the property is given—who get something for nothing—are forfeiting the most important reason for living: the freedom to be responsible for oneself. The third party in this setup—the authoritarian who does the taking and the giving—also loses his freedom.

Nor need one be a skilled economist to understand how the guaranteed life leads to general insecurity. Whenever government assumes responsibility for the security, welfare, and prosperity of citizens, the costs of government rise beyond the point where it is politically expedient to cover them by direct tax levies. At this point—usually 20–25 percent of the people’s earned income—the government resorts to deficit financing and inflation. Inflation—increasing the volume of the money supply to cover deficits—means a dilution of the money’s purchasing power. Unless arrested by a change in thinking and in policy, this process leads to all “guarantees” becoming worthless, and a general insecurity follows.

The true and realistic alternatives are insecurity or security. Insecurity must follow the transfer of responsibility from self to others, particularly when transferred to arbitrary and capricious government. Genuine security is a matter of self-responsibility, based on the right to the fruits of one’s own labor and the freedom to trade.

Leonard E. Read

Founder and President
Foundation for Economic Education, 1946–1983

Summary

  • True security is an outgrowth of freedom, not an alternative to it.
  • Being dependent, instead of being independent, is a move away from true security.
  • Read’s observation more than half a century ago that increasing reliance on a welfare state for security would produce financial problems seems positively prescient today. Consider our $17.5 trillion national debt as evidence.
  • The real choice is not between freedom and security but between security and insecurity.
  • For further information, see these articles:

“Victims of Social Leveling” by Leonard E. Read: http://www.fee.org/files/docLib/SocialLeveling.pdf

“Big Government—Big Risk” by David R. Henderson: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/big-government-big-risk

“Freedom vs. Security: The False Alternative” by Noah Stahl: http://theundercurrent.org/freedom-versus-security-the-false-alternative/

“Liberty or Security?” by Bas Van Der Vossen:http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2013/06/liberty-or-security/

ABOUT LEONARD E. READ

Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) was the founder of FEE, and the author of 29 works, including the classic parable “I, Pencil.”

ABOUT THE CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM

20140414_Clichesofprogressivism (2)

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: www.yaf.org and www.FEE.org until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Obama Continues His Attack on U.S. Energy

The delay of the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of the way President Obama and his administration has engaged in, not just a war on coal, but on all forms of energy the nation has and needs. Even his State Department admits there is no reason to refuse its construction and, as turmoil affects the Middle East, there is an increased need to tap our own oil and welcome Canada’s.

The latest news, however, is that Canada has just approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, a major pipeline to ship Canadian oil—to Asia.

The pure evil of the delay is compounded by the loss of the many jobs the pipeline—that will not require taxpayer funding—represents to help reduce the nation’s obscene rate of unemployment and to generate new revenue for the nation. That’s what oil, coal, and natural gas does.

Less visible has been the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency that has, since Obama took office on January 20, 2009, issued 2,827 new final regulations totally 24,915,000 words to fill 24,915 pages of the Federal Register. As a CNSnews article reported, “The Obama EPA regulations have 22 times as many words as the entire Harry Potter series which includes seven books with 1,084,170 words.” Every one of the EPA regulations affects some aspect of life in America, crushing economic development in every conceivable way.

The worst part of the EPA regulation orgy is the fact that virtually all of it is based on a hoax. As reported by James Delingpole, a British journalist, “19 million jobs lost plus $4,335 trillion spent equals a global mean temperature of 0.018 degrees Celsius. Yes, horrible but true. These are the costs to the U.S. economy, by 2100, of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory war on carbon dioxide, whereby all states must reduce emissions from coal-fired electricity generating plants by 30% before 2005 levels.”

Citing a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Delingpole reported that the new regulations will cost the economy another $51 billion annually, result in the 224,000 more lost jobs every year, and cost every American household $3,400 per year in higher prices for energy, food, and other necessities.”

This is an all-out attack on industry, business, and the use of electricity by all Americans.

There is absolutely no reason, nor need to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas on which all life on Earth depends because it is to vegetation what oxygen is to all living creatures. It is the “food” on which every blade of grass depends. More CO2 means more crops and healthier forests.

The EPA’s regulations would yield“Less than two one-hundredths of a degree Celsius by the year 2100.

Disastrously, even the Supreme Court—the same one that signed off on Obamacare as a tax—has not ruled against the EPA’s false assertions about CO2. In late June, however, it did place limits on the EPA’s effort to limit power plant and factory emissions blamed for a global warming that does not exist. The Earth has been cooling for seventeen years, but the Court ruled that the EPA lacked authority in some cases to force companies to evaluate ways to reduce CO2 emissions.

As Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of the free market think tank, CFACT, points out, “The Court served notice that the Executive Branch cannot unilaterally write its own laws. This is an important principle. However, the United States still remains fated to suffer most of the economic damage EPA’s regulations will cause. True reform will require congressional action.”

Thanks to the lies that have been taught about “global warming”, now called “climate change”, in the nation’s schools to a generation of Americans, and the deluge of lies about the environment that have been repeated in the nation’s media, too many Americans still do not make the connection between the use of the nation’s vast reserves of coal, oil and natural gas, and their personal lifestyles and the nation’s economic growth.

The attacks on the energy industries by environmental organizations have been attacks on all Americans who turn on the lights or drive anywhere. Their mantra has been “dirty coal” and “dirty oil” along with lies about the way energy industries contribute billions to the nation’s revenue in taxes.

An example of these attacks have been those directed against “fracking”, the short term for hydraulic fracturing, a technology that has been in use for more than a half century and whose development has generated a boom in natural gas these days. Claims about fracking pollution have no basis in fact.

A new book, “The Fracking Truth—America’s Energy Revolution: The Inside, Untold Story”, by Chris Faulkner is well worth reading for the extraordinary way he explains fracking and the facts he provides about energy in America. It is published by Platform Press.

America has huge reserves of coal, oil and natural gas. “This phenomenon of energy abundance and efficiency,” says Faulkner, “makes it almost a certainty that the cost of powering our nation—already a bargain by international standards—is going to become even less of a burden for our economy for many decades to come.” But not if the EPA and other Obama government agencies such as the Department of the Interior have their way.

One example: “According to the American Petroleum Institute, at least 87% of our federal offshore acreage is off-limits to drilling. API commissioned the consultancy Wood Mackenzie to assess the foregone offshore opportunity in specific terms. The upshot: Increased access to oil and gas reserves underlying federal waters could, by 2025, generate an additional 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, add $150 billion to government revenues, and create 530,00 jobs.”

“In fact, since 2007, about 96% of the increase in America’s oil and gas production occurred on private lands in the United States. Meanwhile, oil and gas production on federal lands declined to a ten-year low in fiscal years 2011-2012.”

Who is forcing coal-fired electricity plants to close? The Obama administration. Who is denying access to vast reserves of coal, oil and natural gas on federal lands? The Obama administration. Who continues to lie about “climate change” pegged to carbon dioxide emissions? The Obama administration. And this is happening as China and India cannot build new coal-fired plants fast enough and Europe abandons wind and solar energy.

Who is the enemy of energy, current and future, in the United States? Barack Obama.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia – Bloomberg

In 1776 American Colonists Told the British “To Pound Sand” — Happy 4th of July!

Today America celebrates her 238th birthday. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence whose 56 signers were not professional politicians but ordinary citizens of the day.

Yes, these were simple people including farmers, business owners, lawyers, ministers and physicians and what today we would call grassroots leaders.

People like you and me. The youngest was 26 and the oldest was 70.

Imagine 56 citizens crafting a document as profound as the Declaration without the benefit of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a host of political hacks churning out canned ham political spin.

Declaration of IndependenceFor 238 years, historians have analyzed the lives, motivations and contributions of these 56 patriots.

Notwithstanding their incredible vision and articulation, what has always captivated me most about their achievement was how they overcame what must have been overwhelming fear in the face of adversity. Their unflinching belief against taxation without representation seemingly provided the needed fortitude to confidently confront the Crown and its worldwide empire.

Today we find ourselves once again confronting a ruling class that imposes taxation without representation through the federal income tax code. Included in this system is an IRS enforcement arm that, as in 1776, strikes fear in the heart of every American citizen.

In 1776, the colonists had to make a choice. Continue status quo or tell the British to pound sand. Their courageous decision quite literally changed the course of history.

In 2014, American citizens again have to make a choice. They can allow the continued proliferation of a tax code that has now surpassed 74,000 pages and is rapidly eating away the very economic fiber of this nation. Or, they can tell the ruling class “pound sand” and engage in the campaign to enact H.R. 25, “The FairTax Act of 2013”.

H.R. 25 is in essence, the citizen’s Declaration of Taxation Independence.

It is the only tax replacement plan before Congress that sets forth a fair, simple and transparent form of taxation driven by the citizenry and not by the ruling class of Washington.

By its very nature, the FairTax embodies the principles envisioned and codified in the original Declaration of Independence. Declaration signer and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said, “The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy.”

The FairTax Plan rights the wrongs of the income tax code by providing a tax code that treats every citizen the same – no exemptions, no loopholes for anyone – no prejudice or oppression.

William Burroughs stated this eloquently on the FairTax.org Facebook page yesterday when he said, “The only way to finance government in a free society is by the voluntary choice of taxpayers, and no better way to enact it than by a sales tax. End the income tax, a free people do not have to scurry around proving to bureaucrats how they earned their money.”

If you are not actively supporting the FairTax, we invite you to become a part of what is arguably, the largest grassroots tax reform movement in America. Take one minute to send a message to your Representative and become a part of the greatest tax revolution of our lifetime.

And on this July 4, Happy Birthday America!

RELATED STORY: Found in rare copy of Ben Franklin-owned newspaper, first news coverage of the Declaration of Independence

What Has Happened to Protests in America?

Photo: Murrietta, CA protest against dumping of illegal aliens by feds.

The U.S. began with protests that evolved into a full scale rebellion we call the Revolution. Throughout our history, there have been many protests and those against slavery evolved into the Civil War. War—whether for or against it—has been a prime generator of protests.

On the evenings of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Megyn Kelly of Fox News interviewed Bill Ayers, the leader of the Weather Underground, a group he cofounded in 1969 as a self-described communist revolutionary group. These days he calls himself “a Communist with a small ‘c’”

During the early 1970s the group engaged in bombings to protest the war in Vietnam. During the interview, Ayers insisted that he and others only bombed property and did not kill anyone, although at one point a group he described as breakaway was planning to kill officers, their wives and girlfriends attending a dance at a military base, but instead they were killed when their bombs went off in a New York townhouse. Neither Ayers nor his wife, Bernadine Dohrn ever served time for their bombings. Both entered academia. Ayers taught at the University of Illinois for many years.

obama-nation-free-readAs Jerome R. Corsi reported in his 2008 book, “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality”, he noted that when Alice Palmer, an Illinois state senator decided to run for Congress, “she went out of her way to name Obama as her handpicked successor.” Palmer was a dedicated Communist and admirer of the then-Soviet Union. In 1995, “To get Obama’s state senate race off to a good start, Palmer arranged a function for a few influential liberals in the district, at the Hyde Park home of Weather Underground activists, Ayers and Dohrn.”

Corsi wrote, “Palmer would never have introduced Obama to the Hyde Park political community at the Ayers-Dohrn home unless she saw an affinity between Ayers and Dohrn’s radical leftist history, her own history of far-leftists politics, and the politics of Barack Obama.” Ayers and Obama would serve together on the board of the Woods Fund for three years, beginning in 1999, the year Obama joined it.

Megyn Kelly did not explore the Obama-Ayers relationship. When he campaigned in 2008, it was brushed off as their just being “neighbors” in Hyde Park and it was pointed out that Obama was about eight years old when Ayers was bombing in the name of his leftist revolution. Between then and when he met Ayers in 1995 Obama had grown up in a family of far-leftists and had been mentored in Hawaii by Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA.

It did not surprise me to hear Bill Ayers say on Wednesday evening that he was not proud to be an American and did not consider it an exceptional nation. In both cases, he was reflecting the result of a recent Pew Research poll that indicated that self-described liberals expressed these views.

I recall the bombings of the 1970s. There were lots of them, along with massive marches in Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War. I recall the Civil Rights movement that used marches and other non-violent means to achieve their goals. Earlier the suffrage movement and secured the vote for women.

DC Tea PartyIt strikes me that the present generation of both young and older Americans seem to be devoid of much, if any, rebellion against an intrusive government, except for expressions of it on their blogs and in their tweets. We surely do not need bombings, but only the protest against Obamacare in 2009 managed to evoke a significant turnout in Washington. D.C. Since its passage it has proven to be a nightmare for everyone.

Much has changed from the era of the 1970s and the resistance to the war in Vietnam. The wars that followed 9/11, first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, did not evoke much protest. Initially they were popular. The first Iraq conflict, 1990-91, drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and was so swift and successful that the troops were welcomed home with parades. The 2003 invasion, however, devolved into a sense of weariness as 4,500 casualties and over a trillion dollars seemed to achieve nothing
substantive.

What was different? In the 1960s the leftist teachers unions had begun to exercise increasing control over the curriculums being taught. By 1979, Jimmy Carter signed off on a Department of Education that began operations in 1980. Earlier, conscription for military service was replaced by an all-volunteer military in the 1970s. Those of us that served prior to that understand the value of the draft and the service it required because it forged a bond between a man and his nation. These days, of course, it is a very different military with females, as well as openly gay members.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the economy was robust. The generations being born and coming of age received a relatively poor, but thoroughly liberal education regarding U.S. history and civics. On graduation they could focus on jobs, family, and “the good life.” There was little to protest and even less initiative to do so. Even Bush 43’s Iraq war generated little by way of an organized protest.

The 2008 financial crisis left no room for protest in the lives of Americans because the economy left millions unemployed and/or dependent on a government welfare program. It was a perfect time for Obama to suddenly emerge as a candidate for President. He had a celebrity’s personality and he was black, affording generations of liberals the opportunity to fulfill the promise of equality that had begun in the 1960s. He promised “hope and change.” He delivered years in which one scandal after another occurred.

Still, so many Americans devoted so little time to news of the Obama administration and received such a biased version of it from the mainstream media that they reelected him in 2012. That is indifference to the welfare of the nation. That is an apathetic approach to national politics. That is the failure to distinguish between character and celebrity.

It is a very different America today and one which is sharply divided between liberals and conservatives. It is an America being led by a President who has tossed aside the Constitution and announced his intention to govern with “a pen and a phone.” Such an intention would have been greeted with a huge outcry of rage in the past.

The one issue that is evoking protests these days is illegal immigration and the protest in Murrieta, California that turned away buses filled with illegal aliens may lead to larger and more numerous protests to end this practice and reform immigration starting with more and higher walls on the southern border.

Today protest, except for signing a petition or participating on an Internet chatroom, is all that too many of today’s Americans can manage to perform. We don’t want to see a return to the bombings of the Ayers’ era and we may not fill the streets, but it would be nice if more serious-minded Americans would show up to vote in the November midterm elections.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: ICE can no longer call illegal immigrant children ‘aliens’ 

Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi

Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi by veteran investigative author Kenneth R. Timmerman is a gripping expose, replete with evidence of deception and cover up about who perpetrated the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans; Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications aide Sean Smith, ex-Navy Seals CIA-contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty on 9/11/2012.

dark forces book cover

Broadside Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. Published June 24, 2014

Dark Forces presents a thoroughly researched investigative dossier on the events behind the crime that took the lives of  four  valiant Americans who perished in the attack that night.  Timmerman discloses a major cover-up by the Obama Administration of possible violations of the National Security Act of 1947 related to covert activities in the Libyan rebellion and overthrow of the Qaddafi regime. Those Administration actions opened a literal Pandora’s box spawning  dangerous illicit arms trade with jihadist forces in Africa, the Middle East and even Afghanistan.  Based on his research, Timmerman believes the Administration engaged in a purposeful diversion  about the real facts to deflect inquiries during a critical phase of the 2012 Presidential campaign. That cover up began unraveling with a late night news release by the White House  accusing a US made internet video of  offending Muslim sensibilities triggering the planned Benghazi  terrorist attack. It has subsequently been revealed that former Secretary of State Clinton told the President  that the draft statement “was not credible” nevertheless acquiescing to the deception.

That cover up by the Administration may not be lost on  South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, an experienced former federal prosecutor. His appointment to Chair the House Select Committee on Benghazi was announced on May 2, 2014. Gowdy is charged with conducting  investigations and ultimate Hearings about the Benghazi episode. A few days prior to the publication of Dark Forces, Timmerman personally delivered a copy to Chairman Gowdy.

Praise for  Dark Forces comes from several retired military experts. Col. Richard F. Brauer, Jr. USAF (Ret.), founder of Special Operations Speaks,  endorsed Dark Forces as a “must read” saying that it is “ packed with new and previously undisclosed information. It asks the right questions and provides answers to some that have yet to be asked. If you want to know what the Obama Administration does not want you to know about Benghazi.”  Charles Woods, father of Navy Seal Tyrone Woods killed while defending the  CIA annex in Benghazi said, “it is clear from the facts as described in Ken Timmerman’s account that the lives of my son and three other American heroes could have been saved.” Admiral James A Lyons, Jr. USN (Ret.) praised Dark Forces saying, “he presents clear insight on the illicit transfer to Syrian rebels.”

Dark Forces  is a fast paced factual thriller in which  Timmerman reveals the deaths  of these Americans in Benghazi  was the result of  a deliberate  state act of  terrorism planned and organized  by Iran’s Quds Force.  It is the Islamic Regime’s  equivalent  of  CIA and Special  operations covert force headed by Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleymani.   The Iranian regime allegedly coordinated the Benghazi attack. The group that took credit for the Benghazi attack, Ansar al-Sharia, was trained and equipped by the Quds Force, the overseas expeditionary arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. Both the CIA in Benghazi, the Delta Force and Special Operations troops in Tripoli were actively monitoring Iranian operations in Benghazi. They warned their chain of command – including Ambassador Stevens – that Iranians were preparing a terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. However, they were deceived by a faked kidnapping of Quds Force operatives posing as humanitarian workers by paid Ansar al-Shariah operatives.

Timmerman  said in an interview we published at the New English Review that “in Libya  Iran’s  agenda was primarily to kick the Americans out, to smash any semblance of normality to keep the country from recovering.  They did not want to see Libya become a modern pro-Western Arabic/Muslim country at peace.  So they were really hoping to  perpetuate the violent civil unrest in Libya. Going after our legation, driving the American diplomatic force out of Libya was part of that plan”.

As to why Iran would coordinate attacks with Sunni terrorist groups, Timmerman responded,

“The thing to remember is the Iranians will work with whoever they need to accomplish their goals.  For many years the U.S. intelligence community said because they are Shia they won’t work with Al Qaeda because they are Sunni fundamentalists.  In fact we learned that they did,  in 9/11 and they did  in Benghazi.  They are doing it with Hamas.  They are working with Sunnis in the Taliban.   Iran will work with whomever they need to kill Americans and kill Jews.”

Timmerman’s Dark Forces  questions the recent seizure of Ansar al Shariah operative Ahmed Abu Khattala off the streets of Benghazi  by the FBI and US Delta Force. Khattala recently pled not guilty in a US court to charges of committing terrorism and remains in federal detention awaiting prosecution. Timmerman noted in a Lisa Benson Radio Show interview:

“The FBI was looking only at the surveillance tapes  at the Libyans who were out  in front of the legation and Annex. The Iranians were across the street. They were across the street up in a building observing from a short distance. The Iranians put the Ansar al-Shariah militia force in the forefront.  I think the FBI is going to be very interested to follow the Hezbollah operatives from Lebanon who were there on the ground. They know very well the Iranians who I named in the book because these people are on their radar screen. They have been out killing Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq and now as I reveal in Dark Forces in Libya as well.”

Dark Forces conveys the thesis that the attacks in Benghazi were preventable. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bears responsibility for ignoring those warnings, and preventing a military response. Ambassador Stevens and his security team had repeatedly warned Clinton of the precarious security situation in Tripoli and Benghazi requesting additional resources. Clinton for reasons of her own opposed any military response to the attacks. U.S. Special Forces operators on the ground 9/11/2012  might  have saved the Americans who perished.

Benghazi was the hub of the U.S. covert arms smuggling to Islamist groups in Libya and Syria. The Administration supplied weapons to fight Qaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria knowing full well that many of the rebel leaders were al Qaeda operatives. The White House sent members of the National Security “Staff” (ex NSC) to Libya on operational missions to negotiate arms buybacks from Libyan rebel leaders in an apparent violation of the National Security Act of 1947.  An estimated  2,500 surface to air missiles (MANPADS) went “missing” in Libya. Many of them – upgraded with CIA Technology- fell  into the hands of al Qaeda terrorists.  In an episode in Dark Forces, called John Brennan’s Iron Claw, Timmerman reveals how a former CIA deputy Station chief  in Baghdad  brought evidence MANPADS filtering into the hands of terrorist groups to former CIA Director Gen. Petreaus.  However, a CIA internal investigation was quashed by Brennan, then Obama White House Counterterrorism Czar.  Timmerman in the recent interview said, “If this was going on with John Brennan’s awareness or his approval and there was no Presidential Finding then John Brennan f has a lot to answer for. He should be brought before Congress to give a full accounting.”

Timmerman is the New York Times bestselling author of earlier exposes Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iranand Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs and the Party of SurrenderHis thriller fiction Honor Killing dealt with an Iranian plot to secret a nuclear device into Washington, DC.  St.  Peter’s Bones, is a novel that conveys  the dire  threats to the ancient Assyrian Chaldean Christian community in Iraq driving them  to secure refuge in their diaspora. Timmerman spent 24 days in a PLO-Fatah dungeon as a captive during the First Lebanon War in 1982. That episode did not deter him from returning to Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Israel to report on arms trafficking and state and non-state terrorism. Both he and former UN Ambassador John Bolton were nominated by a former Swedish Foreign Minister for a Nobel Peace Prize their work disclosing Iran’s nuclear program.

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

Iraq: What Now?

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is an al-Qaeda offshoot which now controls a state the size of Jordan, spanning eastern Syria and northern Iraq. On 29 June, it declared this territory an Islamic caliphate, and the group’s emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph. ISIS immediately demanded that other groups swear loyalty to them and rebranded itself as the Islamic State.

Why Does the Caliphate Matter?

The existence of a caliphate is key to both violent and non-violent Islamist groups. They aspire for the creation ofdar-al-Islam (land of Islam), which would institute sharia law and provide leadership, security and unity for Muslims around the world. The caliphate was to be run by one leader, who has historically been seen as a successor to Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. The first caliphate was established in the 7th century, after Mohammed’s death, and subsequently subsumed large swathes of territory in Muslim-majority countries. The last caliphate – the Ottoman Empire – was dissolved in 1924, which continues to be a source of grievance for extremist groups.

Most Muslims will reject the ISIS declaration of a caliphate, although it could attract a new wave of jihadis. This will in part depend upon how key jihadi theologians interpret ISIS’ actions. While most are yet to speak out on it, one who has, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, has rejected the ISIS declaration and labelled them ‘deviants’.

Who is the New ‘Caliph’?

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was born in Samarra, Iraq, in 1971. He attended university in Baghdad, gaining a doctorate in Islamic Studies and History, and formerly served as an Islamic teacher.

There is conflicting information about much else in al-Baghdadi’s past. Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, he is thought to have overseen religious courts in Qaim, northwest Iraq, accusing local citizens of supporting the Iraqi government and coalition troops. He was believed to have kidnapped and publicly executed individuals and even entire families; recruited fighters (mainly from Saudi Arabia) and funnelled fighters from Syria into local terrorist cells.

In October 2005, the Department of Defense announced that it had ‘likely’ killed al-Baghdadi in an air strike (something specifically referred to in a President Bush speech though an assessment deemed faulty by the US by December 2006). Yet also in 2005, al-Baghdadi was also supposedly captured by US forces and jailed. During this time he is thought to have been recruited into al-Qaeda in Iraq, being released in 2009. This contradicting information about al-Baghdadi has yet to be resolved.

Following the death of two Islamic State of Iraq (ISI, which was what ISIS was known as then) leaders in a US airstrike in April 2010, al-Baghdadi became the ISI’s emir, the first Iraqi to hold this position. In April 2013, al-Baghdadi rebranded his group as ISIS, claiming dominion to also operate in Syria. This contributed to theireventual expulsion from the al-Qaeda network in early 2014.

Al-Baghdadi currently has a $10m bounty on his head, making him one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.

Didn’t the West Leave a Safe and Secure Iraq Behind?

President Obama previously claimed to have withdrawn US troops ‘responsibly’ and ‘ended the war’ in Iraq. However, this was not the case – violence in Iraq has remained at a consistently high level, even if media coverage of this violence has not.

There was a time when the prospects for Iraq were more optimistic. The Iraqi insurgency – of which al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI, the group that would eventually become ISIS) was a key component – carried out thousands of deadly attacks in Iraq following the US invasion. Yet in late 2006/early 2007, the US began to work closer with the Sunni tribes (who despised the brutality of AQI), paying them to maintain security locally. This coincided with a ‘surge’ of US forces. ISI was subsequently crushed. With the tribal groups committed to keeping ISI in check, civilian deaths plummeted and the overall security situation improved exponentially.

However, the 2011 US withdrawal from Iraq removed not only a military check against ISI, but a political check on the sectarian leanings in Baghdad. The US had previously acted as a key mediator in Iraqi internal affairs, but troop withdrawal reduced US political leverage. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began to marginalise the Sunni tribes, removing them from security forces and stopping payments to them. Competent military commanders who worked with the US were removed in favour of Maliki loyalists.

With the US military presence gone – and the Obama administration largely disengaged from affairs in Iraq – a fresh wave of sectarianism emanated from the Maliki government. For example, Tariq al-Hashemi, the Sunni Vice President, fled to Turkey after being accused of being a terrorist and was subsequently sentenced to death; approximately 150 bodyguards and staff members of Sunni finance minister Rafie al-Issawi were arrested; several Sunni women were arrested in an attempt to gain intelligence on their husbands; and the army was purged of certain Sunni officers.

Such actions fostered greater resentment, enabling ISI to co-opt a level of support from former Baath party and sympathetic tribal groups. The latter were alienated to the extent that they began to allow ISI greater room to operate. The group was further energised by the jihadist conflict taking place to their west in Syria, in which ISI would begin to play an increasingly decisive role.

In January 2014, an increasingly powerful ISIS took over Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. In June, it took Iraq’s second city of Mosul. A host of other towns fell, as Iraqi troops abandoned their positions in the face of the ISIS advance.

What Does This Have to Do With Us?

As ISIS imposes strict sharia law in the territory it controls, there are obvious humanitarian concerns in Iraq. Yet there are also security and strategic interests at stake.

A)   ISIS already has a focus on the West

Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, British Prime Minister David Cameron and former CIA Director General David Petraeus have all warned of ISIS attempting attacks in Europe and beyond. Indeed, ISIS already has connections to previous attacks in Europe.

  1. The perpetrators of the June 2007 attacks in London and Glasgow had the telephone numbers of ISI members on their mobile phones. One of the plotters – a British doctor – had previously fought in Iraq.
  2. In 2010, a senior ISI operative admitted to Iraqi forces that ISI was preparing to carry out an attack in the West at the end of that year. Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi-born militant, subsequentlycommitted a suicide attack in Stockholm, Sweden. He is thought to have trained with ISI in Mosul for three months prior to the operation.
  3. In June 2013, the Iraqi defense ministry announced that it had arrested a Baghdad cell planning to manufacture chemical weapons and smuggle them into the US, Canada and Europe.
  4. In June 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen whom French intelligence agencies believe joined ISIS in Syria in 2012, shot and killed three people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. His gun waswrapped in an ISIS flag.

ISIS now controls a large amount of territory, from which it can attract new recruits and providing aspiring jihadists with training for attacks both in Iraq and beyond. Such a safe haven developing is clearly a significant security concern.

B)   If we don’t intervene, Iran will be allowed unchallenged influence

If the West remains on the sidelines in Iraq, its strategic competitors will fill the vacuum. China and Russia, for example, are already investing heavily there. Yet it is Iran that has the largest stake in Iraq.

Iran aspires for regional hegemony and to expand its influence in Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon. When the US military was operating in Iraq, Iran was training, arming and funding both Shia and Sunni militias within Iraq in order to destabilise the country. It now aims to stoke sectarian tensions and reduce national cohesion, uniting Iraqi Shiites behind Iran as a political bloc. Iran wants a weak, fragmented Iraqi government comprised of key figures sympathetic to them. The US military withdrawal was a key step toward achieving those objectives.

Any new Iranian offers to mediate disputes should not necessarily be regarded as an act of goodwill, as it is often they who are a key force behind creating these disputes in the first place.

C)   The nature of our previous involvement means we have an obligation

The US and the UK led a military intervention to depose a dictator from Iraq, leading to thousands of jihadists fighting Western forces there. While these jihadists were temporarily defeated militarily by the US ‘surge’, the West became increasingly disengaged from Iraq – militarily and politically. This allowed Maliki’s dictatorial tendencies to come to the fore and his sectarian policies have created huge problems in Iraq. Rather than ignore this, the West have a moral duty to be proactive in helping Iraq shape a secure, democratic future.

Is a military response needed?

ISIS is a hugely ambitious and aggressive group that will not willingly relinquishing its newly claimed territory. Furthermore, the Iraqi military appears incapable of reclaiming it.

Therefore, there is a role for a US-led military response. Since President Obama has ruled out introducing US ground troops, there will need to be a reliance on aerial power. High value targets within ISIS – with al-Baghdadi being the top priority – could be targeted by US drone strikes, as could ISIS supply routes. However, this is dependent on three key factors:

  1. Having the intelligence in place for such attacks. Special Forces are now operating in Iraq, who can help provide some of this intelligence. Yet they will be trying to rebuild relationships lost after the US troop withdrawal in 2011. There will be especially significant trust issues regarding the tribes, who had previously been abandoned by the US and then repressed by Maliki.
  2. That this is done to weaken ISIS, not strengthen Maliki. Opinion in Iraq is increasingly hardeningagainst Maliki staying in his position, and the US should not be seen to be taking Maliki’s side in domestic political wrangling within Iraq.
  3. The US remains committed to assisting Iraq both militarily and politically. Disrupting the terrorist cells in Iraq needs to be done on a regular basis, not just when groups like ISIS get so strong that they control large amounts of territory. So too does the need to build up democratic institutions and harness civil society’s faith in them. At present, very little money is committed to democracy and governance assistance causes in Iraq. The US needs to show greater political commitment to prioritising democracy promotion.

Conclusion

Western disengagement from Iraq facilitated an authoritarian government emerging that was closely tied to Iran. This undid much of the good work of the ‘surge’ and led to the revival of jihadism in Iraq.

Now, ISIS poses not only a great threat to the region, but also the West. As a result, the West must once again deepen its involvement in Iraq both politically and militarily. If it has good enough intelligence, it can carry out aerial strikes against high value targets and against the supply routes between towns that ISIS uses. However, the US cannot be seen to be strengthening an increasingly weak Maliki, and must remain (at best) non-committal on his future.

Iran will remain highly interventionist in Iraq, seeking to shape a government pliant to its objectives – this is something the West must also remain cognisant of, no matter Iran’s overtures about playing a constructive role in Iraq.

This strategic briefing was compiled by Robin Simcox, Research Fellow at The Henry Jackson Society.

For further enquiries, please contact: Davis.Lewin@henryjacksociety.org or call:  +44 (0)20 7340 4520 M: +44 (0)7866 365 567. The strategic briefing is also available to view online.

RELATED VIDEOS:

12th June: Robin Simcox discusses ISIS on Sky News

13th June: Robin Simcox on BBC World News discussing ISIS

13th June: Robin Simcox on BBC News 24 discusses the political context behind the rise of ISIS

19th June: Robin Simcox debates British fighters in Iraq & Syria on Sky News

30th June: Robin Simcox examines developments in Iraq on BBC News

For Too Many, It’s a Very Unhappy Fourth of July

As Americans pause to celebrate the 238th signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it well may be one of the saddest Fourth’s in decades. The six and a half years of the Obama regime has failed to unleash the nation’s capacity to recover from the 2008 financial crisis and has left the nation saddled in debt and dependency.

This is not what freedom is about, nor did the Founding Fathers conceive of a President who ruled with “a pen and a phone.”

As The Wall Street Journal reported on January 13, “The year began with the news that “World economic freedom has reached record levels according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top ten most economically free countries.” What this means is that “those losing freedom risk economic stagnation, high unemployment, and deteriorating social conditions.”

That is a description of life in America today. It is a nation in which regard for Congress and the mainstream media has plunged to new lows.

In February, CNSnews reported that “The debt of the U.S. government has increased $6,666 trillion since President Barack Obama took office on January 20, 2009, according to the latest numbers release by the Treasury Department.” When he was first inaugurated, the debt was $10,626,877,913.08 and as of January 31, 2014 the debt was $17,293,019,654,983.61.” Looking back in time, the total debt of the U.S. did not exceed $6,666 trillion until July 2003, meaning that the U.S. has accumulated as much debt as it did in its first 227 years.

As the year began, the unemployment figures cited by the government were in dispute. One influential Wall Street adviser, David John Marotta, calculated that those not working when the year began represented 37.2% of the labor force as defined by the portion of people who did not have a job, had given up looking for one, and those who had no intention of working for a living. The government calculated the unemployment rate at 6.7%.

Being a native-born American offered no advantage for those seeking work. The Center for Immigration Studies released a study that said that “Since the year 2000 all of the net increase in the number of working-age (16-65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal)” even though native-born Americans accounted to two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population.

Since 2000 more than 17 million immigrants arrived in the country, a time period in which native employment “has deteriorated significantly.” Given the wholesale invasion of illegal immigrants that is occurring, this calls for the enforcement of existing immigration laws and a secure southern border.

Since Obama took office, all manner of government benefit programs have been expanded. They include Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, public housing, and  temporary Assistance for Needy Families. In the fourth quarter of 2011, the Census Bureau calculated that there were 109,592,000 who lived in a household that included people “on one or more means-tested programs.”

Contrast that with 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers and it means that 14,802,00 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered those whose taxes support them by a rate of 1.7 to 1.

There are more Americans, 10,982,920, receiving disability benefits than the individual populations of Greece, Portugal, Tunisia, and Burundi. November 2013 was the 202nd straight month that the number of disabled workers in the United States increased.

We live in a welfare state in which the federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted toward low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. The Cato Institute said that “Congress and state legislatures should consider strengthening work requirements in welfare programs, removing exemptions, and narrowing the definition of work.” Keep in mind that welfare benefits are not taxed while wages are.

This is not to say that people on welfare are lazy. Surveys consistently demonstrate their desire for a job. The reality in America on the Fourth of July 2014 is that jobs do not exist and the cause is Big Government and policies that thwart the creation of new businesses and add costs to those that do. In America, corporations are taxed at a rate higher than most other nations.

Over recent years, the U.S. government has given our taxpayer money to a long list of other nations and even to terrorist organizations such as Hamas, a Palestinian non-state entity, which annually receives $440 million. Others include Mexico which has received $662 million, Kenya which received $816 million, and Nigeria which received $816 million. Pakistan has received $2 billion and Iraq which received $1.08 billion.

As the Fourth of July arrives, we have learned that American veterans are dying for lack of care by the Veterans Administration, conservative groups seeking non-profit status have been targeted by the Internal Revenue Service, and Obama immigration policies have deliberately triggered a wholesale invasion by illegal aliens. We have witnessed the failures associated with the introduction of Obamacare and are learning that it is filled with taxes while destroying what was regarded as the best healthcare system in the world.

As of late June, Gallup polls put the disapproval of the President at 52%. Confidence in the President was only 29% while Congress received only 7%.

It is not a happy Fourth of July in America and far too many Americans—nearly half—still believe the President is doing a good job despite ample evidence that his “transformation” of America has harmed the nation in countless ways.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Open letter to the Saudi Embassy, Washington, D.C.

TO: His Royal Highness King Saud
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037

I just read with interest that the government of Saudi Arabia has deployed 30,000 troops to the Saudi – Iraq border to beef up the security interest because President Obama’s handling of Iraq is a total and utter failure much like his entire foreign policy.

My question to you is this your Royal Highness, who pay 5 cents a gallon for gas. Yes, you guys with your big kufiya’s imported from China wrapped around your heads and the giant black agal’s of black goat fur wrapped tightly around your camel – with steak filled bellies.

Why did you not respond the same way when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990? Why did you stick your necks in the sand and sniff petrol dollar fumes instead of backing up your fellow Muslims in Kuwait with direct military support?

Why did you turn down Usama Bin Laden’s offer to send in 75,000 of his mujaheddin fighters fresh from kicking the Soviet Union’s back side in Afghanistan. You know our military men and women had to all the way around the world over to your camels and desert to save their skin when you could have done it yourself.

Now, I also understand your nation is currently funding the the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) forces. ISIS, the terror army supported by you Saudi Arabia, the CIA and trained by the Pentagon, have now declared a caliphate in the Middle East. It has changed its name to the Islamic State, dispensing with Iraq, Sham and the Levant.

How neat is that?

So the result of the New World Order discombobulated removal of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in January 1991 and again when we went back in March 2003 resulted in:

(1) US military bases being set up in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including the Khobar Towers. On June 25th 2006 a huge truck-bomb was then detonated adjacent to Building #131, an eight-story structure housing United States Air Force personnel from the 4404th Wing (Provisional), primarily from a deployed rescue squadron and deployed fighter squadron. In all, 19 U.S. servicemen were killed at the Khobar Towers plus over 400 wounded.

(2) The wrath of Usama Bin Laden was raised when US troops under orders from the New World Order (UN) set up military bases on Muslim lands. Bin Laden, a man whom was an ally of the United States when we were funding the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan later to be called Al Quaida was getting pissed off. Yes we both hated the Soviet Union and we learned NOTHING from their nation building efforts in 1979. Jimmy Carter was so weak he allowed the Russian invasion to go forward with no fear of US retaliation on Moscow.

(3) Usama Bin Laden was very unhappy with US military troops (as he called us foreign invaders on Muslim lands) declares war (Jihad) against the United States. On August 23, 1996, Osama bin Laden signed and issued the “Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques,” meaning Saudi Arabia.

(4) March 1993. The first attack on the World Trade Center was attempted to try and disrupt world financial markets because of our foreign entanglements on Muslim lands in 1990 – 91. The Muslims may not have attacked us if we let you guys sort-out your own problems. We must trade with foreign nations not bomb them unless they attack us first.

(5) September 11th 2001. The second attack on the World Trade Center resulting in the deaths of over 3,000 American and foreign nationals was successful. We, the United States had absolute Constitutional authority to parachute into Afghanistan to wipe out the terror bases (formerly freedom bases). They were formerly used against the Russian Communists that sprung up when the Soviet Union attacked Afghanistan. Now they were used against us. Why? Because we invaded Muslim lands in 1990- 1991 and stayed instead of flipping the ball into your court Mr. Saudi Ambassador.

So if we the American people would just force our government to follow the US Constitution especially Article 2 Section 8 we may not be in the mess we are in now. No foreign entanglements I believe President Washington had mentioned to our countrymen a few hundred years ago. We are a young country and we are still learning but its cost to us American in lives. With that said and by following the U.S. Constitution maybe and just maybe,

(1) The World Trade Center would still be standing.

(2) The Russians would still be bogged down in an un-winnable war with the Afghan Freedom Fighters (a.k.a Mujahedeen).

(3) Iraq would still be held under a strong arm of Saddam Hussein and Iran would be kept in check. I mean come on where in the Constitution does it say we have to liberate Muslims from Muslims when they invade each other and then install no fly zones? We have no such authority and then we the taxpayers get the bill.

(4) Usama Bin Laden may still be fighting the Russians and bringing chaos to the Russian economy.

(5) Barack Hussein Obama may never have come into power because the American people would not have been politically angry at Bush and the Republican controlled Congress for the unconstitutional invasion of Iraq in 2003.

(6) The unconstitutional Obamacare would never have passed because the Republicans would never have lost control of the House in 2006. But of course they supported invading Iraq and the dumbed down sheeple not looking further ahead than the next episode of American Idol put the Communist Democrats in control of the House as pay back to the unconstitutional decision making of our government. Nancy Pelosi the wicked witch of the East was unleashed upon us and tyranny was shove down our throats. But on a positive note the TEA Party was created and more Americans are buying guns, reading the Bible and the U.S. Constitution than ever before.

So Mr. Saudi guys, 1990, 1993, 2001 and 2003 were bad years for us and it rolled out a lot of bad things for the American people not including all the men and women that died trying to keep your sorry Muslim pitch a tent backsides free. The next time one of your Muslim “I believe in peace nations” invades another “Allah be with you nation” please don’t include us. We are not interested in dying for you any more because when we do it just creates more chaos and economic devastation. Besides you don’t appreciate us anyway.

Have a Happy Ramadan. Good luck at your next beheading and if you have another local stoning on the Embassy grounds invite Harry Reid along to watch it. Perhaps now you know what Israel faces on her borders. Peace be on you.

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Et Tu Jewish Council for Public Affairs?

Shortly after Noon on July 2, 2014, the Washington, DC-based Jewish Council for Public Affairs (Jewish Council or JCPA in the US) put out a statement with the headline, “JCPA Mourns Palestinian Teenager, Calls for an End to Violence”.  The Jewish Council proclaims itself  as “Voice of Jewish America”.  It numbers among constituent members major American Jewish organizations such as the ADL, American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, Jewish War Veterans and many of the local Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs) of Federations.  The JCRC’s have been in the forefront of promoting outreach to non-Jewish communities, in all too many instances, engaging in Jewish Muslim dialogues that have backfired.  Se our January 2011 NER article, “Dialogue with Radical Muslims is Dangerous for American Jews”.

Mohammed Khedair

The late 17-year old Mohammed Abu Khedair.

The JCPA news release drew attention to the discovery of the burned remains of 16 year old Mohammed Abu Khedair in a Jerusalem forest.   CNN reported, that Khedair “was heading from his home to a mosque in the middle-class neighborhood of Shoafat for prayers around 4 a.m. when three men forced him into a car and drove off, according to his father Hussain Abu Khedair. His burned remains were found an hour later.”   Who were the three men who abducted  and murdered Mohammed Abu Khedair is the subject of investigations by Israel’s national Police.  Moreover, why was the Jewish Council compelled to issue this statement within less than 12 hours after news broke and without any investigation by Israeli National Police?

According to CNN, “The Palestinian state news agency WAFA blamed the kidnapping and killing on “settlers,” saying Abu Khedair’s body “was charred and bore signs of violence”. The announcement of the younger Khedair’s kidnapping and murder set off riots by Palestinians in the elite section of Shoafat and throughout East Jerusalem.  Israeli riot police were engaged in pitched battles with rock throwing Palestinians throughout Wednesday, July 2nd.   PA President Abbas demanded that Israeli PM Netanyahu condemn the Palestinian teenager’s kidnapping and death, which Netanyahu had already done. There were calls of “Death to Arabs” by protesters in Jerusalem seeking revenge for the murders of three Jewish yeshiva students whose bodies were discovered buried under rocks in a field north of Hebron not far from the site of their original abduction while hitchhiking home on June 12, 2014.

Rachelle Frankel 7-2-14

Rachelle Frenkel crying over the body of her son Naftali at his funeral Tuesday. photo credit: Flash90)

Tuesday, July 1st, the remains of the three Jewish teenagers, each draped in the blue and white flag of Israel were buried side by side with tens of thousands of mourners attending their funeral and interment at a cemetery in Modiin.  PM Netanyahu, President Peres and  Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon eulogized the victims endeavoring to  comfort the grieving families of  Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship.

President Obama in his statement on June 30, 2014 condemned the senseless act of terrorism that took the three teens, while “urging all parties to exercise restraint to prevent further destabilizing the situation”.  That admonition was directed at both Israel and the PA urging them to restrain from possible reprisals, especially extra judicial violence.

In a call to US Secretary of State Kerry on Wednesday, July 2nd, Netanyahu was reported by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki to have said: “that he had asked for an investigation to find out who was responsible for the despicable murder as soon as possible, that anyone who takes a life will be punished severely.”

The Khedair family was reported by Ha’aretz to have “angrily denied the rumors that their son’s death was some sort of “family honor” killing or connected to an inter-family feud.

“Our family is not involved in any disputes and he was a good boy,” said Mahmoud, a cousin of the dead teen. “This is not a family problem. This was a kidnapping and everyone has to know that.” Young Khedair was characterized by his mother as always “kind” in a CNN interview. He would have graduated high if he had not been murdered.  She said he was always on his computer working with Facebook.  Perhaps his Facebook page might provide some clues of the range of his interests. His murder comes just after the start of the Muslim religious period of Ramadan when Islamic religious fervor is at a peak of intensity.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, US correspondent for The Jewish Press, questioned the unseemly haste of issuing a statement extending condolences to the Khaider family on the murder of their son Mohammed  drawing attention  to the possible that might have been a revenge reprisal for the murders of the three Jewish teens,“Voice of American Jewry: Israel accused in Arab Teen’s Death”.

 JCPA President Rabbi Steven Gutow noted in the statement that, “the circumstances of his death remain uncertain,” the same sentence then takes a sharp turn and places the blame squarely on Israel: “it appears that Mohammed was not a party to nor instigator of the tragic events of recent days and weeks. But he now has paid the ultimate price regardless.”

So although no one yet knows for certain how the teenager died or who was responsible, the JCPA publicly drew a target on the back of the Jewish State. Not content to simply act as judge and jury, the JCPA proceeded to send out the statement to its members across the country, inviting everyone to embrace its judgment – that Israel or individual Israelis are responsible for the Abu Khaider’s murder, and pronouncing the murder a revenge attack.

South Florida Jewish activist, Alan Bergstein, commented, in a forwarded email of the Jewish Press report:

Rabbi Steve Gutow, who founded the political, National Jewish Democratic Council, a rubber stamp outfit for the Democrat Party.  Ditto, the JCPA. Their annual “plenums” reek of Palestinian spokespeople and J Street propagandists to divide the American Jewish community and weaken our links to Israel. It behooves some of their organizational members to come out and denounce the JCPA’s outrageous statement.

Lowenthal questioned why the Jewish Council made this rush to judgment:

The JCPA rushed to put out a public statement less than 24 hours after the death was discovered. And in that statement the JCPA presented itself as judge, jury and sound system with a verdict of guilt for Israel.

Why the rush? It took the JCPA 3 days to condemn the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers. Perhaps that was due to an abundance of caution – one would not want to falsely accuse anyone. If so, why the different standard here?

Perhaps the JCPA’s goal was to present themselves as the “good Jews,” the ones who not only condemn the murder of an Arab but who rush blindly forward with its finger pointed at the “bad Jews,” the Israeli Jews, the ugly, violent Israeli Jews who would do such a thing, and to heck with truth and facts and evidence.

Because if the goal was to help to reduce violence, to help shepherd the masses poised to strike back to a path towards calm, the JCPA statement will only achieve the opposite. The statement will fuel the fire of hatred by anti-Semites who readily believe Israelis should be punished for Mohammad’s death, whether or not Israelis are guilty. And look, here’s an official Jewish coalition, officially blaming Israel! It will also inflame anger towards those whom JCPA claims to represent by supporters of Israel who believe that the Jewish State is entitled to the presumption of innocence at least until strong evidence is produced pointing in the opposite direction.

Et Tu, Jewish Council  of Public Affairs?

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review. The featured image is of Palestinians hurling stones during clashes with Israeli police in Shoafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem July 2, 2014. Photo by Reuters.

Immigrant camp worker: People won’t believe what is going on in America

Obama has stated he will use his executive authority to “fix” the immigration problem in America. In fact he recently stated these illegal immigrant kids who have flooded across our southern border must go back home. We shall wait and see if rhetoric meets action.

In the meantime, we could be facing a serious health crisis at the immigrant border camps. It’s so bad, staff have been threatened with arrest if they reveal the truth.

kid-300x180According to a report by Todd Starnes at FoxNews.com, “A government-contracted security force threatened to arrest doctors and nurses if they divulged any information about the contagion threat at a refugee camp housing illegal alien children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.”

Starnes says, “In spite of the threat, several former camp workers broke their confidentiality agreements and shared exclusive details with me about the dangerous conditions at the camp. They said taxpayers deserve to know about the contagious diseases and the risks the children pose to Americans.”

The fact that we have a situation where Americans are being threatened for telling the truth is in itself disturbing — but is sadly reflective of the progressive socialist, Chicago way of political thuggery, intimidation and coercion.

“There were several of us who wanted to talk about the camps, but the agents made it clear we would be arrested,” a psychiatric counselor told Starnes. “We were under orders not to say anything.” Starnes reports that the sources said workers were guarded by a security force from the Baptist Family & Children’s Services, which the Department of Health and Human Services hired to run the Lackland Camp.

At the immigrant camp, Starnes say “workers were stripped of their cellphones and other communication devices. Anyone caught with a phone was immediately fired. “Everyone was paranoid,” a worker said. “The children had more rights than the workers.” She said children in the camp had measles, scabies, chicken pox and strep throat as well as mental and emotional issues. “It was not a good atmosphere in terms of health,” she said. “I would be talking to children and lice would just be climbing down their hair. You could see the bugs crawling through their hair,” she said. “After we would rinse out their hair, the sink would be loaded with black bugs.”

Of course all of this may seem inconsequential to some folks — like Nancy Pelosi who said there’s not a crisis but an opportunity in all of this. However, we do know our federal government and its Department of Homeland Security has been transporting these illegal immigrants across the country in commercial buses and airplanes. The question is, were the aliens transported before or after delousing, and will the buses and planes now be used to transport the general American public?

Starnes says, “a former nurse at the camp addressed how she was horrified by what she saw. “We have so many kids coming in that there was no way to control all of the sickness – all this stuff coming into the country,” she said. “We were very concerned at one point about strep going around the base.” Both the counselor and the nurse said their superiors tried to cover up the extent of the illnesses. “When they found out the kids had scabies, the charge nurse was adamant – ‘Don’t mention that. Don’t say scabies,’” the nurse recounted. “But everybody knew they had scabies. Some of the workers were very concerned about touching things and picking things up. They asked if they should be concerned, but they were told don’t worry about it.”

The counselor, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Starnes she kept a detailed journal about what happened during her tenure at the facility. “When people read that journal they are going to be astonished,” she said. ‘I don’t think they will believe what is going on in America.”

The counselor received a call from federal agents demanding that she return to the military base and hand over her journal but she refused.

So what happened to the “most transparent administration?” The last thing we need in America is a health crisis, a sort of biological assault on the country.

However, in the world of liberal progressives, the ends justify the means. Apparently, the goal of fundamentally transforming America must happen “by any means necessary.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.