This must disgust you: Clint Lorance denied clemency while disgraced sexual deviant general cuts plea deal

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U.S. Army 1LT Clint Lorance

Every day I wonder what’s happening in our America. Here’s another example. I received an email from Don J. Snyder regarding the plight of Army 1LT Clint Lorance – about whom we’ve written here often.

Here is what Mr. Snyder sent me:

“Col. West, we lost our clemency appeal. I was able to notify Anna (Clint’s mother) as she was about to visit Clint. So she told him. Essentially the Army stood on the investigation and court-martial. I am now turning all our attention to trying to persuade President Obama to grant Clint Lorance a presidential pardon. See the website here for the petition. Will you help us get the 100,000 signatures we need in the next month? I wonder if there would be some way to reach Veterans’ organizations for help? Thank you very much. Don”

We need 100,000 signatures by February 1, so please sign the petition here.

Of course I will help out, but here is what disturbs me. We are releasing Islamic terrorists from GITMO and yet we are holding a young American officer in prison for killing the enemy. And what is frightening and frankly disturbing, the Army withheld evidence in the court-martial of 1LT Lorance because the Army definitively knew about the terrorist actions of several of the Afghans involved. This is no different from the withholding of exculpatory evidence in the case of 1LT Michael Behenna — whom the Army finally released from prison.

What is happening in the U.S Army when we lock away Clint Lorance for 20 years while we dither and hide the whereabouts of deserter Bowe Bergdahl? And what a blatant slap in the face to Clint, that Bergdahl may end up with some $350,000 while Clint sits in the same facility as Nidal Hasan. Where is the outrage from the American people and our elected representatives?

I hear nothing but crickets from all these wannabe Commanders-in-Chief. Well, not a one will get my support if they don’t make a stand right now for this young American.

I share with you Clint’s words expressed to Mr. Snyder — and shared with me:

“I’ve come to believe that all that has happened to me is just my destiny. I believe I am destined to fight to change the army so that soldiers who come after me who serve in combat will know that the army and the country stand behind them and will not turn against them. If I must serve my twenty years here, I will pick up this fight from the day I am released from prison until the end of my life.”

I am astounded by this injustice, and this must be a cause for which an entire country lets its voices be heard. We have a current Commander-in-Chief who wants to open up diplomatic relations with a communist country and an Islamist theocracy, Cuba and Iran. Obama is dead set on freeing as many GITMO Islamic terrorists as possible in order to maintain a campaign promise — and Army 1LT Clint Lorance sits in a prison? Ladies and gents, this is unacceptable.

Lorance was on the front lines, making a split-second decision to protect his men. If you want to see how completely wrong this situation is, let me share how another army officer and paratrooper has been treated in what was a far more sordid and scandalous situation.

As reported by the Washington Post back in June of 2014, ” Disgraced Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair will retire as a lieutenant colonel, three months after he pleaded guilty to having a three-year romantic affair with a subordinate officer. The decision could be one of the final chapters in a sordid scandal that rocked the Army. Sinclair, 51 was accused of forcible sodomy, adultery and other charges, but struck a plea deal and avoided jail time. He was issued a reprimand that effectively ended his career and forced to pay a $20,000 fine.” However, he will still receive retirement benefits – albeit at lower level. Army Secretary John McHugh said “Sinclair displayed a pattern of inappropriate and at times illegal behavior both while serving as a Brigadier General and a Colonel.” Oh, you mean like forcible sodomy?

After his trial, Sinclair said “The system worked. I’ve always been proud of my Army. All I want to do now is go north and hug my kids and wife.” And then what, sir?

Sure, the system worked for BG Sinclair and he gets to go home and hug his wife and kids — while Anna Lorance laments over her son who honorably faced the enemy on the battlefield and killed them.

To anyone reading this post who doesn’t believe Clint Lorance should be free, I can only shake my head in abject disgust. What mother wants her son to join the Army and fight the enemy at the risk of being imprisoned? Ask Vicki Behenna. Even worse, what dad would want his daughter joining the Army knowing that the good ol’ boys seem to take care of each other? I love the U.S. Army but I detest what it’s becoming — a place where a disgraced general evades prison while a young warrior is locked up.

And where exactly is Bowe Bergdahl and that report, Secretary McHugh?

Please sign the petition on Clint’s behalf here.

We need 100,000 signatures by February 1! (Please note: your verification email once you sign the petition may go to your junk inbox, so look for it there. Thanks!)

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

A Proposed Agenda for Congress in 2015 to Defend America and its Ally Israel

It is appropriate at the start of 2015 to take stock and make resolutions to protect against the wide ranging threats to freedom, liberty and free expression now imperiling America and those allies in the West, especially Israel, which share our values. Let us review the situation we face and develop an agenda for Congress and concerned activists to rally around with determination to defeat the enemies ranged against our national interests and those of our ally Israel.

What we are seeing at the UN, here in the US and especially in what Bat Ye’or calls Eurabia is push-back against governments that have abetted mass Muslim immigration and Islamization undermining fundamental Judeo Christian values in the West. Some say Eurabia became a reality in Bosnia in 1992. Bat Ye’or maintains it started during the October War of 1973 when the Euro Arab Dialogue was begun by European Council bureaucrats. This allowed the Saudi sponsored Organization for Islamic Cooperation and Turkish émigré groups to press the EC and OSCE to acquiescence to Shariah blasphemy codes (under existing hate speech laws). We in the US have been blessed with free speech guarantees under our First Amendment with its Establishment Clause protecting freedom of worship and the right to criticize a religion.

The New English Review Press published a collection of interviews in 2012, The West Speaks, originally published in editions of the New English Review. It was a compilation of interviews with many of the heroes of the free speech movement in Europe. They have been threatened with death by Jihadis and prosecuted for warning fellow citizens of what has occurred on the Continent. People like Geert Wilders in Holland, Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolff in Austria, Lars Hedegaard and Kurt Westergaard in Denmark, Lars Vilks in Sweden and Bat Ye’or are among some of those featured in the book. They predicted what is occurring now in Europe – the massed rallies in Germany organized by the Pegida movement, the Swedish Democrats upending temporarily the Social Democrats and outbreak of Mosque fire bombings in Swedish cities, the Danish People’s Party surging to the top and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party now vaulted to the top rank in polls in The Netherlands. Independently we  interviewed both Nidra Poller and Philippe Karsenty in France about the “lethal narratives” of the Mohammed al Dura Affair (with legal actions involving France 2 TV Michel Gurfinkiel) which questioned the future for French Jews given the looming threats of Muslim jihadists who have killed Jews, fire bombed synagogues and attacked Jews for wearing kippots and Stars of David. We also interviewed Paul Weston in the UK, founder of the British Freedom Party, now renamed GB Liberty, who experienced under British law what Wilders had been prosecuted for in The Netherlands – hate speech offenses. These included criticism of mass Muslim immigration and its consequences, the threat of Islamization and accommodation of Shariah courts and creation of infidel free no-go zones in Muslim dominated urban areas.

These developments in Europe have led to actions by the Palestinians seeking unwarranted statehood at the UN. This is directed at Israel verging on what Dr. Phyllis Chesler identified in 2003 as The New Antisemitism, anti-Israelism.

draft Palestinian statehood resolution at the UN Security Council was defeated by one vote despite France’s vote for it and the UK’s abstention. That underlined the message to the two largest Jewish communities in Europe from Israeli NGO leader and author Manfred Gerstenfeld that 40% of the EU’s estimated population of 400 million evidences anti-Israel attitudes tantamount to antisemitism. He suggested that it was time for Jews to leave Europe. It is not lost on many that French Jewish Aliyah to Israel doubled to 7,000 in 2014 over that in 2013 and may likely double again in 2015. We read a statement recently from Danny Cohen, Jewish head of the BBC-TV, certainly not one of Israel’s media friends, saying that he questioned the future for UK and Continental Jews with the rise of these antisemitic attacks.

Some Jews in the UK, Europe and J Streeters in America myopically connect the rising anti-Islam rallies and firebombing of mosques in Sweden reflect the mistaken belief these problems with Muslim immigrants are caused by the fact that Israel, meaning PM Netanyahu, didn’t accept a two state solution that the Obama Administration and Secretary of State Kerry were pushing hard to resolve. Wrong. Those German, Swedish, Dutch and other European push back actions you read about daily are the result of the jihad by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq pushing hundreds of thousands of refugees desperately seeking asylum in the EU. The latest horrors, the hapless flotsam of Syrian refugees adrift in ships abandoned by smugglers  in the Mediterranean Sea only to be saved by the Italian and Icelandic Coast Guards. Germany is going to accept 200,000 and Sweden upwards of 90,000 Syrian refugees from the nearly four year bloody civil war. A war spawned by Sunni Salafist extremists, the Al Qaeda Jabhat al Nusra and the self-declared Islamic State. The US State Department is prepared to accept an allotment of 20,000 Syrian refugees in compliance with UN humanitarian refugee standards under the 1980 US Refugee Act.

The leftist governments in Europe and the US Administration are blind to the doctrinal imperative in Sunni and Shiite Islam to follow the way of Allah, jihad. Sunni extremists are compelled under this doctrine to retake the lands once conquered in the great waves of jihad begun over 14 centuries ago. That wave of jihad captured a broad swath from the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to the heartland of the Sunni and Shiite Near East, Central and South Asia, parts of what is now China and the archipelago of Indonesia and even the Philippines. Those conquered realms cost the lives of hundreds of millions of unbelievers over a millennium removing their religions and cultures, leaving those remnants reduced in status, without civil or human rights, subject to depredations at any moment. These extremists believe that their G-d Allah gave them those conquered lands as a waqf or trust for eternity. Then think of the horrors perpetrated by Islamic State Salafists emulating the barbarity of Mohammed and his companions, the future Caliphs. The Islamic State, equipped with abandoned US and Russian equipment from Syria and Iraq has cut a swath across both Arab states. The Islamic State’s barbaric rampages have involved graphic beheading of American and British citizens along with mass beheadings of Syrian soldiers, crucifying, enslaving and extorting all along their path. Especially vulnerable have been religious minority Christians, Yazidis, Sabeans, Mandeans, Kurds, Shia and non-believing Sunni Muslims, whom they consider infidels. That is why there will never be a peace treaty between the Palestinians and the Israelis let alone between Islam and what we deem “the West.”

And who facilitated this in the West, you ask? How about the CIA and the Eisenhower Administration. They invited the son-in-law of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, Dr. Said Ramadan, into the Oval Office in the summer of 1953, in the delusion that they could combat Soviet Communism threats in the so-called third world through the Saudi sponsored Muslim League. The CIA even helped ex-Nazis and ex-Waffen SS Muslim veterans form a mosque in Munich that the Muslim Brotherhood took over and whose leaders, like Dr. Ramadan and others, sent agents to the US in the 1960s to form the Muslim Student Association and the Islamic Society of North America headquartered in Plainfield, Indiana. These groups and other Muslim Brotherhood fronts were cited as unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Federal Dallas trial that convicted leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Muslim charity that funneled upwards of $36 million to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, a foreign terrorist organization designated by our State Department.

Nothing has changed since the 1950’s. In the 21st Century both the Bush and Obama Administrations have deepened support for the Muslim Brotherhood concept of “democracy” in the countries of the Arab Spring and infiltrated of our government at the highest levels. Both US Administrations wanted to engage Muslim Brotherhood Islamists in dialogue, mistakenly believing that this might result in cooperation and peace at home and in the bloody borders of the Middle East surrounding the Jewish nation of Israel – a nation that, for its own security, has the most powerful military in the Middle East. The late General and Secretary of State Alexander Haig once said: “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.” Israel shares common American values of liberty, freedom, free speech and tolerance of minority citizens. The current US Administration’s agenda is to transform conflict through miltilateralism and avoiding having a steel fist in a velvet glove approach to protecting national interests. The Administration delayed shipping the IDF critical authorized weaponry during the 2014 summer war with Hamas in Gaza.

Israel may now be threatened with Palestinian charges of war crimes at the International Criminal Court at The Hague and a reprise of last week’s failed draft Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council. A resolution which, if adopted, would consign Israel and its citizens to commit national suicide. Remember what happened to pre-World War II Czechoslovakia at Munich in September 1938 when allied appeasement of Hitler and Italian fascist dictator Mussolini dismembered a democracy with a well equipped modern army. By March of 1939, Czechoslovakia was dismembered. The largely German Sudetenland was ceded because of allied appeasement and an enforced agreement imposed on Czech President Eduard Benes. The Nazis marched into Prague signaling the death of democracy in central Europe. The nightmare of Czechoslovakia’s fall to appease Nazi tyranny wasn’t relieved until May 1945 when General Patton’s Third Army freed them, liberating Nazi death camps along the way. Is that what the Administration wants to have occur in the 21st Century at the UN Security Council to ally Israel whose sovereignty is supported by the majority of the American public and the Congress?

The machination against Israel by the Palestinians, the Arab League, members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and EU members at the UN and now the ICC are poised to harm Israel, despite support from Americans, Australians and Canadians. In Vienna there is the appeasement by the  P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, seeking to rein in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s quest for nuclear hegemony providing a shield for its state sponsored terrorism.

The Administration has a dilemma facing them in the UN and Congress over vetoes against the Palestinian  state resolution seeking to dismember and destroy Israel and Iran’s perfection of nuclear capabilities to “wipe Israel off the map of the world,” all while Iran’s Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif have pulled the wool over the eyes of the Administration. President Obama and his National security advisers are seeking to re-establish an embassy in Tehran just like the one they intend to re-open in Havana. Think of it, renewing relations with two oppressive regimes, Communist Cuba and Mahdist Shiite Iran. Iran may already have achieved nuclear breakout and this year may be on the cusp of testing an ICBM for delivery of nuclear warheads to the US. They already have Intermediate range ballistic missiles covering all of Europe with conventional warheads. Shades of the Nazi V-1 and V-2 rockets that rained death and destruction on Britain during WWII.

The US military, as a result of the sequester and other budget initiatives, is unable to put boots on the ground in conflicts where projection of American military power could be effective. Think of the war to “degrade” and destroy the Islamic State, Russian President Putin’s actions in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine and threats to NATO members in the Baltic states. The 114th Session of Congress in January 2015 will have to concern itself with redressing the imbalance in our military security budget. Witness an Army with a field force 440,000, less than we had in 1940 prior to WWII, a Marine force cut to 174,000 or a Navy fleet with less than 306 vessels and aging Air Force fleet with overage B-52’s. Is it any wonder that a recent Military Times survey found that less than 15 percent of active military were pleased with this Administration? The new GOP- controlled Congress may hopefully change that imbalance and enhance our national security.

In a late December 2014 NPR interview with President Obama, he said he might be prepared to use his veto authority on specific legislation passed by the new Congress. Senator Mark Kirk in theSunday Fox interview indicated that 17 Democrats, including New Jersey’s Bob Menendez and New York’s Charles Schumer may have the requisite votes to pass new stronger sanctions legislation against Iran’s nuclear program in view of the Islamic regime fobbing off failed P5+1 negotiations. Those 17 Democratic Senate votes would make such a measure veto proof. This puts President Obama in a difficult situation regarding his engagement of the Islamic regime in Tehran, a regime that has successfully outmaneuvered the P5+1 and Administration and likely has already achieved nuclear breakout. Omri Ceren chronicled this in a Commentary article, “Enabling Iran’s Nukes” saying, “The lies began at the very beginning with American assurances [it] had secured a ‘halt’ in the Iranian nuclear program.” This is a matter of great concern to Israel’s PM Netanyahu who would support such Congressional action on tougher Iran sanctions.

The one bright spot has been the US energy revolution driven by fracking and horizontal drilling technologies that has had a global impact. Iran is feeling the ravaging of its economy due to the loss of revenue from oil and gas production. Given the precipitous fall in world energy prices, due in part to the drop in demand and the vaulting of US energy production to first rank in 2015. That has forced Iran to suggest that fellow OPEC member Saudi Arabia cooperates to cut production. This is an unlikely prospect since the Saudis are unwilling to relent given their $750 billion dollar hard currency reserve cushion. What the 114th Session should also do is take up passage of the Keystone XL pipeline so that the US can export cheap energy to the world possibly contributing to the breakup of OPEC.

So, what can American activists do in 2015? Here are some suggested social media campaigns to alert the media and the newly-organized Congress under the Republicans to the issues involved and possible actions they should consider as an agenda:

  1. Push for enhanced budget initiatives for a strong military enabling the US to support valued allies by projecting power in concert with diplomacy.hashtag  # Congress increase our military strength and preparedness.
  2. Oppose the Palestinian suicide campaign against Israel.hashtag # Defund The Palestinian State
  3. Push for stronger sanctions against Iran’s nuke and ICBMs.hashtag #Pass strong sanctions against Iran’s nukes and ICBMs.
  4. Promote the American energy revolution in 2015. hashtag, # Pass the Keystone XL Pipeline to Export US Energy to the World.
  5. Support the 2014 US Israel Strategic Partnership Act. hashtag # Implement the US Strategic Partnership with Israel Act.
  6. Prevent the possible flood of “humanitarian refugees.”hashtag # Stop UN Abuses of our Refugee Laws.
  7. Complete the House Special Committee investigation into Benghazi.hashtag # Benghazi Truth is on the March.
  8. Build a local dossier on Muslim Brotherhood leaders at the more than 2000 mosques across America.hashtag # Know your local Imams.

Doubtless this agenda of social media agenda may attract activists to join in this battle for our liberty, freedom, and preservation of foundational Judeo Christian values. That would bring hope to embattled Europeans and support for Israel in the war torn Sunni and Shiite extremist Middle East.

This excerpts from speaking notes on February 9, 1941 by Sir Winston Churchill  when Britain was virtually alone should be a call for action:

We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Take Back the Word “Liberal”

A resolution for 2015 by Jeffrey A. Tucker:

For 2015, I would like to pick up an old campaign to take back the word “liberal” for the cause of human liberty. Or perhaps that’s too ambitious. Perhaps it is enough for each of us to do our part not to keep conceding the use of this glorious word to the enemies of liberty. It does not belong to them. It belongs to us.

This is not a tedious argument over definitions; this is about the proper identification of a magnificent intellectual tradition. Liberalism is about human liberty and its gradual progress over the last 500 years. It is not about state control. In the coming year, I’m determined to at least make my own language reflect this reality.

Yes, I know this is an old campaign. It was a cause pushed by F.A. Hayek, Leonard Read, Frank Chodorov, John T. Flynn, Milton Friedman, and countless others.

My favorite case is Ludwig von Mises. In 1927, he wrote a book called Liberalismus. It was an attempt to recast and update the intellectual foundations of the entire liberal movement. To his knowledge, this had not yet been done.

“The greatness of the period between the Napoleonic Wars and the first World War,” he wrote, “consisted precisely in the fact that the social ideal after the realization of which the most eminent men were striving was free trade in a peaceful world of free nations. It was an age of unprecedented improvement in the standard of living for a rapidly increasing population. It was the age of liberalism.”

But by the time the English edition of his book came out in 1962, he worried that the word liberal had been lost. The book appeared under the title The Free and Prosperous Commonwealth. Very soon after, he changed his mind again. He had decided not to give up the great word, not because he was spiteful or belligerent or did not understand that language evolves. He decided that the term could not be given up.

“This usage is imperative,” he wrote in 1966, “because there is simply no other term available to signify the great political and intellectual movement that substituted free enterprise and the market economy for the precapitalistic methods of production; constitutional representative government for the absolutism of kings or oligarchies; and freedom of all individuals from slavery, serfdom, and other forms of bondage.”

Doesn’t that just sum it up beautifully? The core conviction of liberalism was that society contained within itself the capacity for self-management. The social order was self-organized. We didn’t need masters and slaves. Society did not need to be hierarchically organized. Everyone could have equal freedom. This was a radical idea, and it did indeed build the best of modernity as we know it.

Liberalism secured private property. It ended slavery. It brought equal freedom to women. It stopped wars of conquest. It broke down the class and caste systems. It freed speech. It stopped religious persecution. It opened economic opportunities for everyone. It cast moral disapproval on despotisms of all sorts.

It put the consumer in charge of production. It brought education, culture, leisure, and even luxury to the mass of men and women. It lengthened lives, brought down infant mortality, raised incomes, ended plagues and starvation, and ignited the fire of invention that gave humanity the ability to travel, communicate, and cooperate as never before and as one human family. It brought peace.

This is what liberalism did! How can we give up this word? We cannot. We will not.

It is because of liberalism’s great achievements that the term itself became such a prize. We began to lose the word about 100 years ago, when the partisans of state power began to use the excuse of “liberalization” to push their agenda.

Gradually “liberalism” became about using public policy to create opportunities and improve the world, with the best of intentions. The statists’ goals were the same as those of liberalism but the means they used to achieve their goals were completely antithetical and even dangerous to liberal ideals.

Matters became especially intense after the economic crash of 1929. Suddenly the market economy itself was on the hot seat and self-described liberals were forced to choose. Mostly they chose wrongly, and mainstream liberalism hooked up with big government and corporate statism. By the end of the New Deal, it was all over. The word had been stolen and came to mean the opposite of the original idea.

In the postwar period, there was a new coinage to describe people who opposed the political agenda of these new fake liberals. That word was “conservative,” which was a highly unfortunate term that literally means nothing other than to preserve, an impulse that breeds reactionary impulses. Within this new thing called conservatism, genuine liberals were supposed to find a home alongside warmongers, prohibitionists, religious authoritarians, and cultural fascists.

It was a bad mix.

All these years later, this new form of liberalism remains intact. It combines cultural snobbery with love of statist means and a devotion to imposing the civic religion at all costs and by any means. And yes, it can be annoying as hell. This is how it came to be that the word liberalism is so often said with a sneer, which you know if you have ever turned on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. And quite often, the right-wing attacks on liberalism are well deserved. But what does the right offer as an alternative? Not liberation but a new type of party control.

Given all these confusions, why not make another attempt to take back the word liberalism? Again, this is not an argument over the definition of a word. It is an argument about the proper means to build a great society. Is the goal of political life to maximize the degree of freedom that lives in the world, or is it to further tighten the realm of control and centrally plan our economic and cultural lives? This is the critical question.

The other advantage to using the word liberalism properly is that it provides an opportunity to bring up names like Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, Frédéric Bastiat, Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, Albert Jay Nock, Rose Wilder Lane, plus the more modern tradition with Rand, Mises, Rothbard, and Hayek, plus the tens of thousands of people who long for liberty today in academia, business, punditry, and public life generally. Just using the old term in its proper way provides an opportunity for enlightenment.

It’s true that liberalism of the old school had its problems. I have my own issues with the positions of the old liberals, and they include a general naïveté over democracy, too great a tolerance for the mythical “night-watchman state,” and some latent affection for colonialism.

The more important point is that genuine liberalism has continued to learn and grow and now finds a more consistent embodiment in what is often but awkwardly called libertarianism or market anarchism, both of which are rightly considered an extension of the old liberal intellectual project.

Still, even libertarians and anarcho-capitalists need to reattach themselves to the old word, otherwise their self-identifications become deracinated neologisms with no historical or broader meaning. Any intellectual project that is detached from history is finally doomed to become an idiosyncratic sect.

Let’s just say what is true. Real liberalism lives. More than ever. It only needs to be named. It’s something we can all do.

If you agree, there is a statement you can sign at LiberalismUnrelinquished.net.

This post originally appeared at Liberty.me.

ABOUT JEFFREY A. TUCKER

Jeffrey Tucker is a distinguished fellow at FEE, CLO of the startup Liberty.me, and editor at Laissez Faire Books. Author of five books, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events.

Politics Is Violence: Force is a means specific to the state

These are selected passages from a series of lectures given by Max Weber at the end of 1918 to the Free Students Union of Munich University and published the following year. The passages are from the essay “Politics as a Vocation.”

The State

“Every state is founded on force,” said Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk. That is indeed right. If no social institutions existed which knew the use of violence, then the concept of “state” would be eliminated, and a condition would emerge that could be designated as “anarchy,” in the specific sense of this word. Of course, force is certainly not the normal or the only means of the state — nobody says that — but force is a means specific to the state.

Today the relation between the state and violence is an especially intimate one. In the past, the most varied institutions — beginning with the Sippe [clan, kindred, extended family] — have known the use of physical force as quite normal. Today, however, we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.

Note that “territory” is one of the characteristics of the state. Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the “right” to use violence.

Politics as Power

Hence, “politics” for us means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.

This corresponds essentially to ordinary usage. When a question is said to be a “political” question, when a cabinet minister or an official is said to be a “political” official, or when a decision is said to be “politically” determined, what is always meant is that interests in the distribution, maintenance, or transfer of power are decisive for answering the questions and determining the decision or the official’s sphere of activity. He who is active in politics strives for power either as a means in serving other aims, ideal or egoistic, or as “power for power’s sake,” that is, in order to enjoy the prestige-feeling that power gives.

Like the political institutions historically preceding it, the state is a relation of men dominating men, a relation supported by means of legitimate (i.e., considered to be legitimate) violence. If the state is to exist, the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the powers that be.

Professional Politicians

Today we do not take a stand on this question. I state only the purely conceptual aspect for our consideration: the modern state is a compulsory association, which organizes domination. It has been successful in seeking to monopolize the legitimate use of physical force as a means of domination within a territory.

To this end the state has combined the material means of organization in the hands of its leaders, and it has expropriated all autonomous functionaries of estates who formerly controlled these means in their own right. The state has taken their positions and now stands in the top place.

During this process of political expropriation, which has occurred with varying success in all countries on earth, “professional politicians” in another sense have emerged. They arose first in the service of a prince. They have been men who, unlike the charismatic leader, have not wished to be lords themselves, but who have entered the service of political lords. In the struggle of expropriation, they placed themselves at the princes’ disposal and by managing the princes’ politics they earned, on the one hand, a living and, on the other hand, an ideal content of life.

Again it is only in the Occident that we find this kind of professional politician in the service of powers other than the princes. In the past, they have been the most important power instrument of the prince and his instrument of political expropriation.

Politics as Violence

The decisive means for politics is violence.

Whoever wants to engage in politics at all, and especially in politics as a vocation, has to realize these ethical paradoxes. He must know that he is responsible for what may become of himself under the impact of these paradoxes. I repeat, he lets himself in for the diabolic forces lurking in all violence. The great virtuosi of acosmic love of humanity and goodness, whether stemming from Nazareth or Assisi or from Indian royal castles, have not operated with the political means of violence. Their kingdom was “not of this world” and yet they worked and still work in this world. The figures of Platon Karataev and the saints of Dostoyevski still remain their most adequate reconstructions. He who seeks the salvation of the soul, of his own and of others, should not seek it along the avenue of politics, for the quite different tasks of politics can only be solved by violence.

The genius or demon of politics lives in an inner tension with the god of love, as well as with the Christian God as expressed by the church. This tension can at any time lead to an irreconcilable conflict. Men knew this even in the times of church rule. Time and again the papal interdict was placed upon Florence and at the time it meant a far more robust power for men and their salvation of soul than (to speak with Fichte) the “cool approbation” of the Kantian ethical judgment. The burghers, however, fought the church-state. And it is with reference to such situations that Machiavelli in a beautiful passage, if I am not mistaken, of the History of Florence, has one of his heroes praise those citizens who deemed the greatness of their native city higher than the salvation of their souls. If one says “the future of socialism” or “international peace,” instead of native city or “fatherland” (which at present may be a dubious value to some), then you face the problem as it stands now. Everything that is striven for through political action operating with violent means and following an ethic of responsibility endangers the “salvation of the soul.”

ABOUT MAX WEBER

Max Weber (1864–1920) was a German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist. He is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as one of the three founders of sociology.

A Year In Review for Big Government

obamacare 2Last year may have been that inflection point where it all turns around and, although nothing is permanent, I am confident that the tide of big government that has rolled upon our shores may be beginning to recede. A series of electoral and policy failures which have blackened the eyes of big government acolytes piled up in 2014, and the devastating results have made it impossible for the media to hide under the bed. Here are just a few of 2014’s big government low-lights:

  • Big government candidates running under the Democratic Party banner suffered humiliating defeats in the 2014 elections. The Republican Party will now control 54 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate, 247 of the 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, and 68 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers. They will also control both branches of state legislatures in 29 of the 50 states and, incredibly, will control the governorship in 33 of the 50 states, including deep-blue states such as Illinois, Massachusetts and my home state of Maryland.
  • Even the Republican losses to big government Democratic candidates in deep-blue states were extremely close. Big government Democratic Governor Dannel Molloy of Connecticut barely slipped by Republican Thomas Foley and Vermont’s big government Democrat Pete Shumlin hardly survived reelection in deep-blue Vermont, defeating Republican Scott Milne by just over one point. At the federal level, a number of big government Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives barely slipped by their opponents, even in “safe” Democratic congressional districts. Despite winning a series of congressional elections by double-digits, New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter defeated Republican Mark Assini by just one point.  I lost my race to unseat Maryland Democrat John Delaney by only one point in a race Delaney won by 21 points just two years ago.
  • millionaires tax quoteBig government programs are failing at an alarming rate. Obamacare has reached new lows in approval, with just 37% of Americans approving of this legislative disaster. Obamacare costs are projected to rise dramatically in the coming years as doctors drop out of the program and the new penalties and taxes are enacted. Also, the Obama administration’s takeover of the student loan industry is on the verge of collapse as forbearance requests, defaults, and requests for loan forgiveness under Obama administration programs reach catastrophic levels.
  • France, taking a lesson from outgoing Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, instituted a “Millionaire’s Tax,” which was described by one critic as “Cuba without the sun.” Despite warnings from rational economists about its destructive effects, big government French President Francois Hollande pressed ahead with his plans to institute the 75% tax rate. After a near rebellion in the business community, a slap-down by the courts and, as happened in Maryland after their version of the “Millionaire’s Tax,” an abject failure to raise even close to the tax revenue anticipated, the tax expired and will not be renewed. As it turns out, even committed Socialist Francois Hollande’s calculator and abacus cannot make 2 + 2 = 6.
  • jobs obama last two yearsAmerican workers and businesses have finally managed to escape the yolk of big government as it appears that the economy may finally be recovering. But this is now the worst statistical recovery from a deep recession in modern American history. To reach the Reagan or Clinton-era job-production numbers, over ten million jobs would have to be created by the economy in the president’s final two years. Even if the best month of job creation under President Obama was replicated every month for his final two years, he would still be nearly 4 million jobs short. Also, it takes about 4 to 5 quarters to get through the average recession and to reach recovery, while this president took an incredible 16 quarters to reach the level of a “recovery.” President Obama’s big government ideology has managed to produce a labor participation rate (the actual number of people working) which is the lowest in 40 years, all while presiding over a government with the largest number of people ever receiving government assistance.

The good news is that 2016 is approaching and, with the right leadership, this economy is ready to explode. I am confident that the future is bright because the American people cannot be held down for long. Eventually they will rebuild their lives and their futures, in spite of big-government doing its best to anchor itself to their backs.

If you want to know where your member of Congress stands on the conservative spectrum and receive updates on the issues that matter most to conservatives, sign up for FREE HERE.ign

NYC protest signs provided by the Revolutionary Communist Party USA

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Revcom.us poster. For a larger view click on the image.

If you were watching the news broadcasts about the protests in New York City, you undoubtedly saw people carrying signs reflecting their political beliefs. But wait a moment.

Who furnished the signs?

Well, on the bottom of the signs is the name of the sponsor: Revcom.us

If you’re at all curious, just click on Revcom.us and see who provided  those spiffy signs these people are holding up. It’ll only take a second.

Louis Gohmert vs. John Boehner for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

On Sunday morning January 4, Congressman Louis Gohmert announced on Fox News that he is running against John Boehner for Speak of the House of Representatives. THIS IS GREAT NEWS FOR ALL REAL CONSERVATIVES!

Through the years, Judge Gohmert has proven himself as a Constitutional conservative from issues of taxes, culture and national security. In fact Congressman Gohmert is one of the few elected officials to deeply research and fight the Obama Administration on the still unresolved tragedy of SEAL Team SIX shoot down of their helicopter, call sign: EXTORTION 17.

This video was taped off a TV as the network footage has not yet been released. Join, Tom Trento and The United West team for our Monday Jan 5, show (4pm eastern) entitled: “Who is Louie Gohmert and Why He Should be Speaker!”

Please visit www.TheUnitedWest.org

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United Teachers of Dade Political Misadventures and Contractual Follies

Fed and EW

Fed Ingram (left) and Enid Weisman.

United Teachers of Dade: Do as We Say, Not as We Do!

The picture, Fed Ingram’s “cuddle and huddle” with Enid Weisman, M-DCPS Chief Human Capital Officer and Mayor of Aventura, sums it all up as to where the loyalties of Fed Ingram and United Teachers of Dade (UTD) seem to lie: with M-DCPS, not the members.

As I was always told by UTD leadership concerning my exposure of misdeeds by M-DCPS, be mindful of “the integrity of the school district.” UTD seems more mindful of their integrity and not that of the dues paying membership given questionable expenditures of dues money and the recent disgraceful contract ratification.

For the potential detrimental impact of the new contract in terms of salaries, check out the reasonable analysis that a member produced along with a study that concluded that teacher pay in South Florida is among the worst in the U.S.

Teachers were given a 1% stipend that was less than 1% and a supposedly 2% raise that was less than 2%, it seems to make sense.

On top of this, UTD spent $250,000 on losing candidates during the 2014 elections and has launched a lawsuit against the Mayor of Miami-Dade County that seems to lack merit while politically promoting Fed Ingram and Karla Hernandez-Mats at the expense of the membership.

Additionally, UTD is estimated to have spent an estimated of over $300,000 and counting in the ongoing lawsuit brought forth by Geno Perez concerning electoral fraud in the 2010 UTD elections.

Besides Fed and Karla, UTD attorney Mark Richards seems to be the big winner.

As quoted in a Miami Herald article, “This is a scandal that’s falling on the backs of fourth graders,” said Mark Richard, an attorney representing UTD.

How quickly he, and UTD leadership, forgot about, and was silent on, Adobegate at Miami Norland Senior High School, a cheating scandal that netted the faculty almost $250,000- a scandal on the backs of high school students during the 2011-12 school year.

They did not speak out on their member’s behalf whatsoever.

As other county entities request and allocate money for the Value Appeal Board, it is not the mayor’s fault that the VAB is underfunded and understaffed.

Mike Hernández, Mayor Gimenez’s communications director, said the County Commission doesn’t deserve the blame. He said the clerk of courts and property appraiser request funding for the appeal board, and that the county hasn’t denied any funding requests in recent years.

“It’s unfortunate that a life-long educator like the president of the United Teachers of Dade doesn’t understand civics,” Hernández said.

 It’s not like Mr. Ingram does not understand, he does I am sure, but the larger aim was to assist his campaign to lead the Florida Education Association and to put Ms. Hernandez-Mats in charge of UTD as Mr. Beightol explains.

 UTD blames the county mayor and the lack of property tax dollars for the contract that resulted. Their reasoning seems disingenuous as the Miami-Dade County School Board sets the millage rates and has reduced them over the past years without UTD objection.

 Beckons the questions, why was UTD silent then and why not sue the School Board instead?

 Moreover, why isn’t the School Board of Miami-Dade County suing those responsible? Why is the UTD membership footing the bill?

 It appears the Republican-led School Board did not want to sue the Republican-led County Commission, so the school district administration put UTD up to doing their dirty work and UTD happily obliged.

 As UTD does not directly receive property tax dollars, the suit may be dismissed as the union lacks standing.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Hernandez-Mats is listed as a plaintiff as a teacher with children in the school system. She is coded as a teacher, but in reality she is a teacher on special assignment (TSA) and not in the classroom whatsoever as she works out of the UTD building- hence giving credence to politically propping her up as Mr. Beightol asserts.

Should M-DCPS and/or UTD be successful, do not count on the teachers to receive these funds as some other excuse will necessitate the funding being needed elsewhere- lack of funding from the Legislature, health care costs, etc.

Therefore, a few (school district administrators, UTD leadership, and Mark Richards) will benefit on the backs of the many (UTD membership) with the many footing the bill.

Former UTD Executive Board member and retired teacher Ira Paul, who had to leave the union to sue UTD along with M-DCPS, says, “I am not anti-union, I am anti-UTD because they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing.”

It is a sentiment shared by many as evidenced by a decline in membership and what I am hearing from members about lack of representation and questionable contracts.

Police and firefighter unions have high membership whereas UTD has a membership of less than 50% of the bargaining unit, especially less than 50% of M-DCPS teachers are union members.

Then again, police and firefighter unions negotiate better contracts and gain better benefits for their members and represent them extraordinarily well as evidenced by recent controversies.

Father of a fallen U.S. Marine returns condolence letter to President Obama with comments

Steven R. Hogan, father of fallen U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Hunter D. Hogan took the condolence letter he received from Barack Obama and wrote with his own hand the following:

“I wonder how many of these get returned to you!

“Mr. Barrack Hussein Obama,

I am deeply saddened that you are the President of the United States. You sir are an embarrassment to the Oval Office. My son, as well as most Marines I know, despise you and your lack of representation for our military.

Your ridiculous rules of engagement have caused the massive amount of casualties on your watch in Afghanistan. While we watch your media pander to your administration and clearly sweep things under the rug for you, I fully understand Marines die. You have tied their hands & feet!

I am thankful I did not serve under a Comm. in Chief such as you. I am sickened that my son had to. I wonder… I doubt that you will see this, I hope you do though!”

“Steve Hogan”

Kyle Becker, from IJReview.com, writes, “While President Obama boasts of ending the War in Afghanistan, a Marine dad’s letter from 2012 helps put this ‘achievement’ in perfect perspective. The comments on a letter of condolence from President Obama to Steven R. Hogan, posted publicly, tells a much different narrative than the one the White House and much of the news media have trumpeted.”

“In the 13-year war, over 74% of all military casualties have occurred on President Obama’s watch. In addition, a staggering 92% of all Marine deaths have happened under this presidency,” notes Becker.

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For a larger view click on the image.

White House Climate Lunacy

As January 2014 arrived with a blast of cold air ominously dubbed the “polar vortex”, the White House released a video in which the Chief Science Advisor to President Obama, Dr. John Holdren, managed to get on both sides of it, declaring the “extreme cold” to be “a pattern that we expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.” How the Earth is getting both colder and warmer at the same time defies reality, but that is of little concern to Dr. Holdren and, indeed, the entire global warming—now called climate change–hoax.

Earlier, in November 2013, the White House made Dr. Holdren available to social media saying he would answer “any questions that you have about climate change…” As noted by Jim Lakely, Communications Director of The Heartland Institute, the invitation welcomed questions “but only if they conform to the notion that human activity is causing a climate crisis, and restricting human activity by government direction can ‘fight it.’” The answers would have to wait “because the White House social media experts are having a hard time sifting through the wreckage of their ill-conceived campaign and finding the very few that conform to Holdren’s alarmist point of view.”

Sadly, in addition to the United Nations where the hoax originated and any number of world leaders including our President and Secretary of State, Pope Francis has announced that he too believes the Earth is warming. Someone should tell him that it has been in a natural cooling cycle going on twenty years at this point!

AA - John Holdren

Dr. John Holdren

Of course, such facts mean nothing to Dr. Holdren and even less to the President. That is why we are likely to not only hear more about climate change from him, but also discover that the White House intends the last two years of Obama’s term in office to be an all-out effort to impose restrictions and find reasons to throw money at the hoax. Dr. Holdren was no doubt a major contributor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy initiative announced on December 3rd.

This “Climate Action Plan” called the “Climate Education and Literacy Initiative” is primarily directed at spreading the hoax in the nation’s classrooms and via various government entities as the National Park Service so they can preach it to the 270 million people who visit the nation’s 401 parks each year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will sponsor five regional workshops for educators and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, along with the American Geosciences Institute and the National Center for Science Education will launch four videos likely to be shown in schools.

Joining the White House will be the Alliance for Climate Education, the American Meteorological Society, the Earth Day Network, Green Schools Alliance, and others. It adds up to a massive climate change propaganda campaign, largely paid for with taxpayer funding.

The “science” that will be put forward will be as unremittingly bogus as we have been hearing and reading since the late 1980s when the global warming hoax was launched.

When Dr. Holdren faced a 2009 confirmation hearing, he moved away from his early doomsday views on climate change, population growth, and the possibilities of nuclear war. Though warned by William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute that Dr. Holdren had “a 40-year record of outlandish scientific assertions, consistently wrong predictions, and dangerous public policy choices” that made him “unfit to serve as the White House Science Advisor”, the committee voted unanimously to confirm him. They should have read some of his published views.

Regrettably Congress generally goes along with the climate change hoax. Dr. Holdren noted that “Global change research (did) well in the 2013 budget. One can look at that as a reaffirmation of our commitment to addressing the climate change challenge. There’s $2.6 billion in the budget for the United States Global Change Research Program.”

Let me repeat that. $2.6 BILLION devoted to “research” on global warming or climate change. One must assume it is devoted to finding ways for mankind to cope with the non-existent global warming or the threat of a climate change about which mankind can do nothing. It is comparable to saying that humans can get the Sun to increase or decrease its radiation.

In June 2014, Ron Arnold, the executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and Washington Examiner columnist, noted that Dr. Holdren has long held the view that the U.S. should “de-develop” its “over-developed” economy.

That likely explains the Obama administration’s attack on the use of coal, particularly in utilities that use it to generate electricity. In the six years since the policy has been pursued by the EPA, coal-fired utilities have been reduced from providing fifty percent of the nation’s electricity to forty percent. Less energy means less investment in new business and industrial manufacturing, less jobs, and less safety for all of us who depend on electricity in countless ways.

Arnold reported that “Holdren wrote his de-development manifesto with Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the scaremongering authors of the Sierra Club book, ‘The Population Bomb.’” Aside from the fact that every prediction in the book has since proven to be wrong, but it was clear then and now that Dr. Holdren is no fan of the human population of the planet. Like most deeply committed environmentalists, it is an article of faith that the planet’s problems are all the result of human activity, including its weather.

In December 2014, Dr. Holdren expressed the view that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions should be reduced to “close to zero”, adding “That will not be easy.” This reflected the deal President Obama agreed to with China, but carbon dioxide plays no discernable role whatever in “global warming” (which isn’t happening) and is, in fact, a gas essential to all life on Earth, but particularly for all vegetation that is dependent on it for growth.

Dr. Holdren’s continued presence as the chief Science Advisor to the President encourages Obama to repeat all the tired claims and falsehoods of global warming and climate change. It is obscene that his administration devotes billions of dollars and countless hours to spreading a hoax that is an offense to the alleged “science” it cites.

AA - Arctic Ice FreeThe North and South Poles are not melting. The polar bear population is growing. The seas are not dramatically rising. Et cetera!

One can only hope that a Republican-controlled Congress will do what it can to significantly reduce the money being wasted and reverse the EPA war on coal and the utilities that use it to produce the energy the nation requires.

For now, Dr. Holdren will continue to use his influence in ways that confound and refute the known facts of climate science. How does it feel to be the enemy of an environment that Dr. Holdren and others regard as more important than human life?

© Alan Caruba, 2015

General Allen: U.S. must “defeat the idea” of the Islamic State

There is no indication that General Allen has any idea of what he is talking about. What “idea” does he propose to defeat? He probably means that he is going to destroy the idea that the Islamic State constitutes the new caliphate — which is no doubt one reason why the media establishment keeps churning out its endless stream of disingenuous and deceptive “ISIS is not Islamic” articles. But he is part of an Administration that has prohibited examination of the jihadis’ belief system; that is going to hamstring his efforts to combat it.

“Obama Envoy John Allen: No ‘Short-Term Solutions’ for Stopping Islamic State,” by Matthias Gebauer and Holger Stark, Spiegel, December 31, 2014:

In an interview, US General John Allen, Washington’s special envoy for countering the Islamic State, discusses why he believes the recent military campaign has reversed the terrorist group’s momentum but warns the battle to stop its ideology could take years.

General John Allen, 61, has served as special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State (IS) under US President Barack Obama since September. He previously served for three years as the deputy commander of the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Allen uses the Arabic term “Daesh” when referring to IS in order to prevent having to say the word “state”.

No, it’s to avoid having to say the word “Islamic.”

SPIEGEL: President Obama has stated he wants to “ultimately destroy and dismantle” IS. Was it a mistake to set such a maximalist goal that is almost impossible to reach?

Allen: It’s important to have a clear understanding of what we ultimately seek. I don’t believe that the president intended to imply the “annihilation” of Daesh. That is far beyond our thinking in this regard. We want to deny Daesh the ability to have safe havens either in Iraq or, ultimately, in Syria, to preclude its capacity to organize an existential threat to those countries. Annihilation requires a great deal of investment, resources and time. The defeating, dismantling and degrading of Daesh, and ultimately destroying the idea, is the long-term objective. It’s important to understand that what we’re undertaking as a coalition is much bigger, much broader, than simply the military role. The military role is the most conspicuous right now and attracts the most attention. We have five lines of effort that in the end converge to degrade and defeat Daesh: providing military support to our partners; impeding the flow of foreign fighters; stopping IS’s financing and funding; addressing humanitarian crises in the region; and exposing IS’s true nature….

SPIEGEL: Another huge challenge is IS’s propaganda. It was a brilliant move to declare an “Islamic State”. How are you going to deal with this?

Allen: We need not only to expose Daesh for the darkness that it is, but also to celebrate the values within countries that help defeat the attractiveness of Daesh. You asked about “destroying” before: We can only destroy Daesh when we destroy the attractiveness of its brand. When you can defeat the idea, then you have destroyed the organization. We want to build capacity in countries in the region and the Coalition to reduce its attractiveness for recruiting…

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Was the Perpetrator of the Sydney Lindt Café Terror Attack “Mentally Unstable”?

Neither the late Katrina Dawson, 38, mother of three and a rising star in the Sydney bar or regular patrons thought anything out of the ordinary having a morning coffee at the Lindt Café in Martin Place, the heart of the city’s business and financial district. Neither did the other patrons, whether they were regulars, Christmas shoppers or tourists. At 9:42AM Monday, December 16, 2014 a bearded man wearing a head band with an Arabic inscription, clothed in a long white tee shirt entered carrying a blue bag causing terror. He extracted from the bag a pump shot gun and a Hizb ut-Tahrir black flag with the white inscription of the Islamic Shahada, “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” He then asked the terrified patrons to stand against one of the windows with hands pressed against a window facing Channel 7 across the way holding the Shahada flag.  The 16 hour standoff ended when police Swat teams entered early Tuesday, December 16th amidst exploding flash bang grenades and semi-automatic gunfire. This occurred after a sniper reported “hostage down.”

The perpetrator of the hostage taking was self-styled Muslim Cleric, 50 year old Man Haron Monis, who was eventually  shot dead.

Unfortunately Ms. Dawson and Lindt Café manager, 34 year old Tori Johnson, were killed. Johnson had tried to seize the perpetrator’s weapon. Five others were wounded including a policeman whose head was hit by shotgun pellets, the others suffered gunshot wounds. Earlier in the hostage standoff, two patrons and three Lindt café workers escaped when the perpetrator nodded off.

The shock was that this could happen in broad daylight and according to Australian PM Tony Abbott, it was “the worst terrorist incident in 35 years in Australia.” The largest terror event was Australia’s “9/11” that occurred in Bali, Indonesia on October 10, 2002. 200 Australians lost their lives when an Indonesian Al Qaeda affiliate bombed a popular tourist nightspot. Hundreds of Sydneysiders poured out expressions of mourning with memorial floral tributes placed at the Lindt café site praying to comfort the loss of Ms. Dawson and Mr. Johnson and those injured in the explosive shoot out that ended the hostage stand off.

Monis, the perpetrator, was an Iranian national who had been given asylum as a political refugee in 1996 by Australia. He was a self-styled Muslim cleric who ran a so-called spiritual health center. He was notoriously well known to Sydneysiders. He had been the subject of more 40 charges of sexual assault. He was free on bail but facing charges as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, 30 year old Noleen Hayson Pal by Monis’ companion, Amirah Droudis, a convert to Islam who left her Greek Orthodox faith. Monis’ ex- wife was stabbed more than 30 times and lit on fire in the stairwell of an apartment complex in April 2013. Ironically, Monis might have been thwarted from his lethal spectacle in Sydney, had he been remanded to police custody.

Monis had, in earlier years, raised the public ire of Australians for letters sent to the families of Australian soldiers killed in the Afghanistan war, accusing their sons of committing genocide against civilians. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service for this action. One deceased Jewish Australian soldier’s family was told in their letter from Monis that “Jews were no better than Hitler.”

Monis, while originally raised as a Shia in Iran, recanted his sect and allegedly recently converted to become a Sunni Muslim. He could be seen on the streets of Sydney in a Sharia compliant gabila with white turban, and girded in chains parading with handmade posters accusing New South Wales police and prosecutors of violating his human rights. Monis’ lawyer, Manny Conditsis said he may have been “unhinged about the prospect of more jail time” and had “nothing to lose.” Conditsis defended his late client’s allegations of being tortured while in custody, found him extremely fundamentalist but “not a jihadist.” Conditsis contended the only reason that Monis walked free until trial was the alleged poor case the New South Wales prosecutors put on in court.

Monis, in his new role as a Sunni extremist wanted to create a spectacle. He seized the opportunity to carry out his jihad against the innocent patrons and staff at the Lindt Café in Sydney’s financial district. He had nothing to lose; he was free awaiting a court appearance in February of 2015.

After all, if ISIS could behead Muslims and infidels, more recently Christian children, in Syria and Iraq, then Monis could kill his infidels in Sydney’s Martin Place. ISIS had urged local Jihadis down under to follow in the way of Allah.

Tolerant Australians fearful of retribution against the country’s estimated 500,000 Muslims established a ride sharing social media message, #IllRideWithYou. Prime Minister Abbott, who called Monis “mentally unstable,” said:

It was an appalling and ugly tragedy. This is a very disturbing incident. It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation.

CBS Newcited earlier efforts by Australian counterterrorism officials concerned about an ISIS spokesman specifically targeting Australians:

Australia’s government raised the country’s terror warning level in September in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group, also known as ISIL. Counterterror law enforcement teams later conducted dozens of raids and made several arrests in Australia’s three largest cities – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. One man arrested during a series of raids in Sydney was charged with conspiring with an Islamic State leader in Syria to behead a random person in Sydney.

In September, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani issued a message urging attacks abroad, specifically mentioning Australia.

There were the usual cries of “lone wolf” by Australian and US counterterrorism experts and news commentators. Former CIA deputy director, Michael Morell, a CBS news contributor on national security, said social media facilitated the directives from ISIS.

Against this background we reached out to renowned forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel, to present his professional assessment of  the Sydney Lindt Café terror episode. He has been the lead examiner in a range of highly complex and high profile criminal and murder cases, including the Guantanamo military tribunal that convicted Canadian Al Qaeda operative, Omar Khadr.

Dr. Welner is sought out in particular because of his ability to go beyond the customary bromides served up following major disasters and deaths and complex legal proceedings, including terrorist events. Readers are familiar with our recent interview of Dr. Welner on jihadist recruitment in American prisons in the October NER.

Watch this recent CNN interview with Dr. Welner discussing whether mental illness motivated  the Sydney terror incident and the assassination of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn by a convicted felon:

We reflected on Australian Prime Minister Abbott’s depiction of Sheikh Monis as “mentally unstable” and wondered what insights Dr. Welner might have into the evidence now available of the Lindt Café tragedy.

Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon:  Dr. Welner thank you for consenting to this interview.

Dr. Michael Welner

Dr. Michael Welner:  My pleasure, as always.

Jerry Gordon:  Australians are  grief stricken over the tragic hostage standoff with loss of lives and injuries on the  early morning of December 16th at the Lindt Café in downtown Sydney. It was perpetrated by an Iranian political refugee, a self styled Muslim cleric, Man Huron Monis, killed in the police action. Australian PM Tony Abbott suggested the perpetrator Monis was “mentally unstable” was that the case in your professional opinion?

Dr. Michael Welner:  The first thing one has to establish in such questions, is:

1) What is the nature of the crime; and

2) How do the perpetrator’s actions relate to his customary behavior and his customary ideas.

Monis declared his allegiance to and influence by ISIS with the first words of his announced hostage-taking, after calmly sitting with other patrons and staff in the Lindt Café without any remarkable behavior. The hostage-taking had little to do with the Lindt Café and more with what was across the street, Channel Seven. This brought Monis instant hyper exposure that then drew in the coverage of other competing news networks, and with that, international news. Monis’ demands principally related to attention from the Prime Minister and acknowledgment of his actions in the name of ISIS. Sheikh Monis (as he was known by other Muslim elders in Sydney who identified him as such) neither killed, demanded money, nor the release of prisoners, nor his own safe passage. After a long standoff in which he injured no hostages, he began falling asleep whereupon he was attacked by a manager who was himself killed by Monis’ gun as they struggled for it. Police intervening in the ensuing chaos then reportedly killed Sheikh Monis and one other hostage.

In October, Canadian Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot an unarmed Canadian soldier outside a war memorial in Ottawa. Martin Rouleau-Couture ran over an Army officer with his car in Quebec. Both incidents happened soon after ISIS called upon Muslims to take it upon themselves to attack Canadian military and police without seeking the input of others. Both Bibeau and Couture could not get travel permits to leave Canada in order to fight for ISIS in the Middle East. This holiday season, France has seen multiple high-visibility lethal attacks from ISIS loyalists on French Christmas shoppers, again following public calls by ISIS spokespeople for individuals to kill others around them. These incidents reflect killings in which lone killers, without apparent logistic support from an organization, initiated abrupt, murderous attacks. Australia similarly drew exhorting from ISIS spokespeople to Muslims residing there to kill others around them.

Sheikh Monis’ crime, on the other hand, did not kill abruptly. Although his own writings demonstrated a recent pledge to loyalty with ISIS, his was a spectacle crime without murder for many hours. More importantly, Monis’ had a long history of dramatic and attention seeking public behaviors advocating against Australia’s military participation in the Afghanistan conflict. He wrote bitter and angry letters to families of dead Australian soldiers, tasteless to the end of earning him prosecution and conviction. He chained himself in public and claimed to have been tortured by the authorities in connection with his political “peace” advocacy. And so Sheikh (a term meaning a respected elder) at 50 was well known to Australian law enforcement and to media – and had attracted over 14,000 followers on Facebook.

Monis also had a string of sex assault accusations against him by women who claimed he lured them with services that bore no references to his devout Muslim faith. At the same time, less than a year before the Lindt Café hostage incident, he was arrested for collaborating with his girlfriend on setting his ex-wife on fire and killing her. So Monis’ outlandish behavior went beyond the props of whatever Shiite or Sunni garb he donned and touched risk and death to others.

Mental illness is only distinguished as illness because the thinking and behaviors it affects is unwanted and unacceptable to that person when he is in a healthy state.

Monis’ behavior was entirely consistent with a highly attention-seeking personality who reveled in the spotlight that his letter-writing brought him and the platform he assumed that brought him so many followers.

That Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott deemed Monis mentally unstable was intellectually and factually dishonest. Monis neither evidenced any history of psychiatric hospitalization or treatment. Moreover, his criminal history, like the hostage taking, was deliberate, premeditated, organized, and agenda-oriented. A mentally unstable person, especially following the ISIS-Western murderous proxy script, would have walked into an establishment and killed as many as possible before being himself destroyed. Monis’ actions and history in Sydney demonstrated that he assumed the ISIS designation with aims at a show-trial in which he could emerge as a fluent spokesperson for Islamist entitlement to murderous attitudes toward the West. In my professional opinion, Monis was willing to die, but took a risk that he could ratchet up the drama and emerge an even more visible Muslim activist.

The Prime Minister’s use of the term “mental instability,” without specific evidence for same, followed the same marginalizing of Monis as a “self-styled” Sheikh and “self-styled” peace activist. But other Muslims referred to him as Sheikh, and he had many in his ideological cohort, including a devout Muslim girlfriend who lectured in recorded tapes on his website and was willing to engage in femicide in a distinctively Muslim style (immolation) with Monis.

When we otherwise deem behaviors and thinking mentally ill because the rest of us find them unwanted and unacceptable, we use the term “mental illness” the way the Soviet Union once did. Namely, if the state disapproves, it’s mentally ill. While that may serve public policy, it has nothing scientific behind it and is easy to abuse. Worse yet, it stigmatizes the mentally ill because we have more fears of stigmatizing another population.

Gordon:  Monis had a history of prior multiple charges for sexual assault arising from his so-called spiritual healing practice. Some years ago, you published pioneering research into drug-facilitated sex assault, which you pointed out to be a crime of those who were otherwise integrated into the community or socially successful professionals, be they colleagues, business owners, and even health care professionals. What in your opinion motivated his record of violence?

Welner:  Sexual assault in which an offender gains access to victims under false pretense is antisocial behavior perpetrated under cover of law-abiding legitimacy. It differs from those assaulters who dispense with ruses to entrap prospective victims and simply attack or rape targets with weapons or brute force to restrain them. But it is rape nonetheless, and the victim no less violated. The conviction of Jerry Sandusky and allegations against Bill Cosby (if true) illustrate that people can be sexual predators even as they are role models to others.

Sex assault investigation and disposition remains a complex problem, especially when evidence can be eliminated. An articulate perpetrator of bearing can explain away an encounter, particularly when he has a wife or otherwise submissive partner to vouch for his alibi. Alleged victims can be opportunistic and when not, may still be dissuaded by the consequences of their exposure. Even those who stomach the fortitude to endure the skepticism and proving grounds for sex assault complaints are sometimes crushed by prosecutorial decision-making that essentially protects a seemingly respected perpetrator. One such example is the college football star Jameis Winston, who only this week again eluded discipline even as he testified that he interpreted “moaning” as consent.

Avoiding prosecution, for those who are good talkers and have clever modus operandi, proves to facilitate their re-offense. High degrees of recidivism may be seen in such perpetrators. And so Monis’ history of sexual assault may not only reflect his expression of his fantasy life, but an entitlement borne of his success in avoiding accountability for violating others.

Gordon:  We have witnessed many spectacular honor killings that have occurred in the West, including America. Do you consider Monis’ and Droudis’ crime in that category and why not?

Welner:  Wife burning is too common a crime among Muslims to be dismissed as a by-product of mental instability. It is a common misconception that femicide occurs in Muslim cultures because of actual or perceived dishonor, whatever non-Muslims feel about its criminality. However, the “honor killing” explanation is no different from any defense of justifiability – the claim does not make it fact.

Femicide is far more a manifestation of how women are devalued in many Muslim cultures, especially in countries whose legal systems protect perpetrators who claim “honor killing” as a motive. The prevalence of femicide in Muslim societies is in direct relationship to societal attitudes that the lives of women do not matter. In reality, femicide among Muslim households is no more related to “honor” motives than it is the “exploding stove” that is implicated in femicides in which Muslim men cover murders of their wives as accidents. The silence of the international feminist movement to this reality (as well as on human trafficking) illustrates the cowardice of its core.

What is notable about this case, however, is the partnership of a dominant ex-husband with his Muslim-convert girlfriend (Droudis was born Anastasia Droudis, and converted from the Greek-Orthodox church). Just as Monis was a “spiritual advisor” able enough to lure women to being vulnerable to be preyed upon, so he was capable of seducing a recent convert in the form of her absolute loyalty to him to violent criminality toward a rival. That Droudis defends Monis now is testament to her allegiance to him. That Droudis, a woman of no remarkable violent criminality, was implicated as the prime mover in the femicide speaks to Sheikh Monis’ capacity to manipulate.

Charismatic and highly publicized offenders do quite well in attracting females – sometimes especially after they have become notorious. This includes even rapist murderers, in my experience. The Droudis-Monis relationship, after his publicized arrests for highly insensitive letters to the families of fallen Australian servicemen, speaks to this area of penologic and forensic interest.

Gordon:  Monis’ lawyer stated that his client was unhinged about the prospect of serving more prison time for his role in his ex-wife’s murder and thus had nothing to lose. Was that a motivating factor in your professional opinion?

Welner:  Consider the source: Monis’ criminal defense attorney would be expected to portray his client in most sympathetic terms. With that caveat, it is true that a person confronting the possibility of lengthy incarceration is under tremendous stress. A person who is habitually attention seeking will do so in times of trial and lowest esteem.

It is also true that Sheikh Monis’ history, as above, is that of a highly manipulative character. He may also have calculated, quite cleverly, that expressing his allegiance to ISIS would have been diversionary enough, especially if he were party to a show trial following the Lindt Café hostage crisis. The murder trial for his ex-wife would have been swept away and dealt with in abeyance. Given Monis’ history and his actions, I think this is the more likely scenario, especially since he did not kill anyone until a struggle ensued and aimed to resolve the crisis from his end without violence but rather his own international celebrity-seeking. I consider this a street-smart calibration of how the broader media and general public reacts to Islamist threat with peculiar denial and adamant attempts to make the aggressors feel as comfortable as possible.

I am reminded, in this regard, of my experiences in the American criminal justice system. Sex offenders are routinely regarded as the lowest humanity among criminal defendants, and judges have conspicuously less consideration of their civil rights. Murderers are far more protected in my experience. Those who are capital murderers, or those eligible for the death penalty, attract an unusual level of legal talent to defend them or to handle their appeals. But nothing compares to what I have seen with al-Qaeda among the American law community.

Al-Qaeda defendants attract pro-bono defense from the top law firms in the United States. It is the height of tragic-comedy to see how these firms and their Jewish and Christian lawyers, who would be slaughtered by the defendants if they had half a chance, fall over themselves to defend terrorists with every fiber of their being. Some of these attorneys now occupy the most influential positions in the Department of Justice. History will prove that fiascos like the Bowe Bergdahl case happen because of decision-makers with worldviews that are completely at odds with the national security interest. And in that vein, I have counseled sex offender defendants who have approached me, whose guilt was obvious and so I could not help them, that the justice system would show them no compassion — that (with tongue-in-cheek) if they declare allegiance to al-Qaeda (or ISIS) that they will have the most exceptional legal talent doing everything they can to help them regain their freedom. There is something in this whole Sheikh Monis story that reminds me of this perverse state of affairs in numerous Western justice systems. Monis may be the first prominent criminal defendant to have been outlandish enough to commit himself to such a stunt. I am frankly surprised that I have not yet seen it otherwise.

Gordon:  Monis had engaged in street theater in Sydney garbed in Sharia compliant gabilas trussed in chains saying that he had been tortured while in custody. Is that typical behavior for someone convicted of violent crimes?

Welner:  No it is not. Violent crime carries with it a variety of motivations, from financial predation to revenge to sexual opportunism, for example. Violent criminals are not typically driven to call attention to themselves. Such a personality is one whose attention-seeking has been useful enough to him in other instances to have reinforced this behavior, particularly during times in which he otherwise faces substantial life challenges.

Gordon:  Monis and his companion Droudis had been engaged in a campaign of scurrilous letters sent to the grieving parents of Australian soldiers killed in the Afghanistan conflict. Were they motivated by Islamic doctrine or self promotion to draw attention to a reprehensible cause and for what gain?

Welner:  There are many ways for one to express opposition to the Australian military role in Afghanistan, and many Muslims and non-Muslims do so. For those motivated to write, there are an endless supply of media outlets and other public forums in which their ideas can be aired and can influence others. The fact is that these letters were likely far less obscene than what one finds in the comments sections of relevant news articles published on the internet; or, what folks tweet. Furthermore, considering Monis was hoping to influence others, the quality of his correspondence would never have influenced their recipients.

Compassionate appeals to mourning families to reconsider their politics would never have resulted in criminal prosecution. Americans recall Cindy Sheehan and how her grief was massaged by antiwar activists, along with Ms. Sheehan’s own pathological need for the public eye, into photo-ops to embarrass the President waging war. But even a man like Monis, sophisticated enough to tout himself as a peace activist, used the vector of his contact with grieving families to mock and to maximize their pain. What gives?

It was, in my professional opinion, the stunt of having engaged grieving parents that was more important to Monis than the letters and their content. It was all about the spectacle.

Gordon:  Droudis and Monis also sent a letter to the parents of a fallen Australian Jewish soldier likening him and all Jews to Hitler. Is this a reflection of primal Islamic Antisemitism or morally reprehensive behavior to attract notoriety?

Welner:  It is neither. Jews are, sadly, reflexively defensive to others who draw parallels of Jews and especially Israel’s behavior to that of the Nazis. The comparisons require complete ignorance of history, which most Jews do not have, at least of this generation. However, Jews are afflicted as a general rule with self-doubt. Leftist Jews in particular identify with their aggressors the way a very sick rape victim blames herself for the attack.

No doubt some leftist Jews in Germany during Hitler’s rise did as much to the end that they convinced themselves, at least until they were in line waiting to be gassed, that Nazism had some basis in legitimate grievance. And more recently, the capitulationist attitudes of some Israelis, even in the face of thinly-veiled and sometimes undisguised Palestinian irredentist desires to exterminate every last Jew from the area, reflect the same pathological self-doubt.

Nazi-comparison imagery is routinely utilized by Palestinians, their advocates in the Arab World, among anti-Semites in the European-dominated intellectual circles and even among those self-loathers in Jewish intellectual circles who seek the approval of the aforementioned. It transcends hatred. Rather, this is done because invoking Hitler is an effective rhetorical device to manipulate the self-doubt tic that is the sad pathology of the psyche of so many Jews in positions of intellectual and political influence, including in Australia.

Gordon:  Australian and US Counterterrorism experts say it is difficult to monitor the behavior of what some call lone wolves but we choose to call Islamikazes. Is that a legitimate excuse or does it constitute evasion of responsibilities to monitor Islamic radicals in Western countries?

Welner:  It is difficult to monitor the activities of a person who keeps his own counsel. That is why ISIS does just as William Pierce did when he popularized the idea of the lone wolf among American white supremacists. He advocated the “leaderless resistance” among those who did not share news of their violent criminality with others, and therefore would create no witnesses. I once interviewed Joseph Paul Franklin, who was the template for Pierce’s writings on the topic, for many hours and so I understand the mentality of the lone wolf well.

Monis had long associations with Islamist groups. He was indeed on the radar of responsible intelligence agencies as far back as 2007. But he dropped off. So the argument that an intelligence service is incapable of tracking radicalized persons is false. What is happening, however, is a strong push among intelligence services, particularly those who are influenced by infiltrators from the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in the United States, to reclassify seditious Islamist organizations as peacefully motivated, and with it removing their adherents from scrutiny.

The Edward Snowden revelations made it clear that the United States and Western countries have massive capabilities to monitor the activities of private citizens, and that they do. It is true that the decision of a solitary actor as to when to strike is harder to track. But other cases such as the Boston Marathon bombings, in which the United States was reliant upon Russian intelligence to solve a crime on its own soil, introduce the question of whether intelligence agencies miss what they refuse to look at. The current mayor of New York famously dismantled the NYPD anti-terrorism monitoring of local mosques, a component of an NYPD that many American intelligence professionals quietly acknowledged as the most effective anti-terror intelligence unit in the United States. So the facts are that a certain evasion is taking place.

What is unclear is how meaningful that evasion is. If terror incidents happen that could have been avoided, this idea gains traction. Until that happens with greater frequency, however, we will not know whether we are witnessing an evading of intelligence responsibilities or our leaders are simply assuming a lower profile in intelligence gathering.

With that said, the readiness to die for the cause of Islam is different from Kamikaze tenets of selfless loyalty to Japan, where it originated. Islamist self-destructiveness is cultivated among young males, sexually repressed and manipulated with promises of 72 virgins. This is precisely why Islamist self-destructiveness and ISIS recruitment have been more successful with late adolescents and young adults. That is an age of conflicted sexuality and faith, and of vulnerability to messianic indoctrination of ultimate reward. It is another reason why I do not experience the 50 year old Monis as suicidal for redemption or gratification’s sake. He obviously was partaking of this world, or he would not have earned himself the sexual assault charges. And those of devout faith do not behave this way. So while he may well have been devout, his was the faith of other pontificators like Anwar al-Awlaki and Osama bin Laden, who were old enough to have relegated beliefs about 72 virgins and martyrdom to a yen for hookers when one had freedom of movement and pornography when holed up in Pakistan.

Gordon:  Former CIA deputy director Mike Morrell, who is a CBS news contributor on national security, points to possible direction by ISIS though social media as a probable cause for Monis’ behavior. Do you agree with his assessment and if not, why?

Welner:  Sheikh Monis himself made it clear from the outset that he was acting at the behest of the ISIS movement. To argue otherwise is to essentially adopt the position that when Maj. Nidal Hassan was running around Ft. Hood yelling “Allahu Akbar,” he was merely clearing his throat.

Gordon:  What suggestions do you have for the New South Wales, Federal Australian police and US federal and local law enforcement counterterrorism echelons to prevent a possible repetition of a similar event?

Welner:  Canada has demonstrated sage policy in this regard. Denial of the presence and influence of terrorism, and its recruitment within the Muslim community, has to end. Canada is able to respect its very free and vibrant Muslim population while holding it accountable for actively resisting rejectionists aiming to get a foothold. Seditious Islamist groups who masquerade as peaceful interlocutors have no standing with the Harper government, unlike in America, where CAIR bullies media and lawmakers alike.

It is also imperative to engage the national Muslim organizations to collectively denounce domestic terrorism as unwanted, embarrassing, and reflective of Islam in a humiliating way. If the Muslim communities vomit out the terrorist element from within, because of how it creates suspicion of Muslims as a whole, public safety is maintained.

To say that terrorism is not part of Islam today is an obvious lie. It is out of control overseas, and even in many parts of Europe, but it doesn’t have to be seeding in the United States or in Australia. For Islam itself to denounce it with ferocity, as has happened in Egypt since Morsi’s ouster, would properly marginalize terrorist elements and prevent their gaining influence.

This is no different from how we deal with racial hatred toward blacks in the United States. No one is dishonest enough to pretend that racial hatred of whites toward blacks does not exist. Rather, this prejudice is so forcefully denounced that there is a huge social disincentive to be open to racist attitudes, whatever one’s vulnerability. Islam in Australia and in America has to deal with its terrorist adherents in the same way.

In order to do that, however, governments cannot pretend that Islamist terrorism does not exist, or is relegated to the “mentally unstable.” It is noteworthy, for example, to point out that the Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt, even as its loyalists maintain high positions of influence in the White House and State Department. The EU has removed Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations. Yet Europe’s lawmakers are under no illusions; they, like localities across Syria and Iraq, have opted for surrender out fear of the Islamist bully. This will only accelerate the foothold the terror organizations gain in their countries, be they through formal presence or more ideological foothold among rejectionist populations who refuse integration and demand governance by Islamic law.

Gordon:  Given your development of the Depravity Standard, how would you rate Monis’ crime, and why?

Welner:  The Depravity Standard would appraise the Monis hostage taking in comparison to other kidnappings. Apart from the timing of events, to seize as many as possible, the Monis crime distinguishes itself for its intent to terrorize – referencing the risk of destruction elsewhere – and carrying out a crime to show off. Otherwise, there are comparable cases, for example that in the Nariman House in Mumbai in 2008, that manifested far more evidence of depravity.

The Depravity Standard, which appraises the severity of a crime to inform criminal sentencing and release decisions, is informed by 25 different examples of intent, actions, attitudes and victimology. The items being researched are incorporating public opinion across a variety of demographics to refine the weight that would be attached to crimes such as the Sydney hostage taking, relative to other kidnappings. We invite your readers and all members of the general public to contribute to shaping future sentencing by participating in the Depravity Standard survey research, at www.depravitystandard.org. Your voice counts and this landmark project figures to influence future major crime justice, as well as even knotty issues such as those before the international criminal courts.

Gordon:  Dr. Welner thank you for presenting your professional views on the Sydney terror episode.

Welner:  You’re welcome.

EDITORS NOTE: This interview and column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Sheikh Man Haron Manis: long assuming the stage even before Sydney Lindt Café terror. Source:  AAP Image/Dean Lewins.

How Conservative are Florida’s Republican members of Congress?

The Heritage Action Scorecard measures votes, co-sponsorships, and other legislative activity to show how conservative Members of Congress are. Heritage Action identifies upcoming legislative fights and the Heritage Foundation outlines the conservative policy positions. Key votes encompass the full spectrum of conservatism, policies large and small. Heritage Action updates the scorecard weekly when Congress is in session, ensuring the scores reflect the latest activity. Updated scores help conservatives hold their Members of Congress accountable.

How did Florida’s Republican members of Congress do on the Heritage Action Scoreboard?

According the Heritage Action Scoreboard Representatives Bilirakis, Southerland, Young, Webster, Buchanan, Crenshaw, Diaz-Bilart, Jolly and Ros-Lehtinen each received scores below 60%. No Democrat received a score above 15%.

The average score for Senate Republicans was 63% and for House Republicans 61%.

As the 114th Congress is sworn in we will be watching this key indicator and bench mark scorecard of conservatism in the U.S. Congress.

The 10 Most Important Jihad Stories of 2014

Over at PJ Media I recap ten of the year’s low-lights:

Here are the most significant advances made by Islamic supremacists this year.

10. The abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian jihad group named the Congregation of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad and better known as Boko Haram (“Western Education Is Sinful,” or “Books Bad”), disgusted and horrified the world last May, and even provoked a Michelle Obama hashtag, by abducting over three hundred schoolgirls and selling them into sex slavery. Shekau even published a video in which he gloats about the abduction, telling the girls’ grieving families:

I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah….There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.

Shekau had a point: the Qur’an really does allow for the owning of sex slaves. Muslim men can take “captives of the right hand” (Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 33:50). It also says: “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war” (33:50). 4:3 and 4:24 extend this privilege to Muslim men in general, as does this passage:

Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive, and they who turn away from ill speech, and they who are observant of zakah, and they who guard their private parts except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed (Qur’an 23:1-6).

None – absolutely none – of the extensive international coverage of the abduction discussed the justifications for this practice within the Qur’an. This refusal to deal with the root causes only ensured that the practice would happen again, and it did later in the year, when the Islamic State pressed Yazidi and Christian women into sex slavery.

9. Britain’s capitulation on Muslim rape gangs

Britain’s Birmingham Mail reported in November that Birmingham’s City Council buried a report about Muslim cab drivers exploiting non-Muslim girls back in 1990.

A researcher, Dr. Jill Jesson, drafted a report on this issue. But, she explained,

the report was shelved, buried, it was never made public. I was shocked to be told that copies of the report were to be destroyed and that nothing further was to be said. Clearly, there was something in this report that someone in the department was worried about.

Authorities were worried because Jesson’s report illustrated that virtually all of the exploitative cab drivers were “Asians,” the British media euphemism for Muslims, and their victims were “white,” i.e., non-Muslim. The exploitation of these girls stems from Qur’an-based religious beliefs, but British officials were terrified because stopping this exploitation would appear “racist.”

Jesson elaborated:

There was a link between the sexual abuse of the girls and private hire drivers in the city. I thought at the time I did the work that there was an issue with race. Most of the girls were white. I was asked to take this link out, to erase it….Every time a news item has come on about sexual grooming of young girls and girls in care, and the link, too, between private hire drivers, I have thought “I told them about that in 1991 but they didn’t want to acknowledge it.”

“The sad part of this story,” Jesson concluded, “is not the suppression of evidence but that the relevant organisations have failed to address this problem.”

Indeed so – and that is because of its racial and religious aspects. British authorities persist in seeing this as a racial issue, when in fact these cabbies only preyed upon these girls because they were non-Muslims, and thus eligible to become “captives of the right hand” and used as sex slaves.

But the fact is they see it as a racial issue, and their anxiety to avoid “racism” led them to cover up these cases and allow thousands of girls to be victimized for 23 years. The officials responsible for this should be arrested, tried, and imprisoned. The race-mongers on the current British scene, such as far-Left smearmongers like Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate and Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama UK, have been denounced by opinion-makers and policymakers from all points on the political spectrum — and should be tried also if their complicity in this behavior is found to have risen to criminal culpability.

Instead, British authorities looked for scapegoats. The BBC reported in November that “the police watchdog is to investigate 10 South Yorkshire Police officers over the handling of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham,” where 1,400 British non-Muslim children were gang-raped and brutalized by Muslims, and “several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”

These managers are the ones who are really responsible for this, along with opinion-makers such as Lowles and Mughal who created the culture in which people cower in fear at charges of “racism.” These ten police officers who were being investigated were just being set up to take the fall; they originated neither the police policies nor the cultural climate that led to the abandonment of these 1,400 abused children to their fate. Those who created the climate in which those who knew about this hesitated to speak out, for fear of being called “racist,” are the ones who ought to be put on trial — Lowles and Mughal and their ilk. These police officers, if they did cover up the activities of these rape gangs, are just the symptoms of the problem, not its cause.

8. The Bergdahl trade

The British weren’t the only ones capitulating. When he announced on May 31 the exchange of five Guantanamo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan since 2009, Barack Obama declared that the swap was “a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.” However, as ever more damning information came to light about both the deal and Bergdahl himself, it became increasingly clear that the prisoner exchange was actually a reminder of Barack Obama’s unwavering commitment to appeasing and aiding jihadis.

The freed jihadis included, according to the Associated Press, “Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence”; “Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden”; and “Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001.”

What could possibly go wrong?

Even more disturbing were the questions swirling around Bergdahl himself. Former infantry officer Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served with Bergdahl, wrote in the Daily Beast that “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.” Refuting reports that Bergdahl got separated from his unit while on patrol, Bethea declared: “Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not ‘lag behind on a patrol,’ as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”

By the year’s end, the results of the investigation of Bergdahl’s conduct have – as the most pessimistic among us could have predicted – not been released.

7. The Islamic State beheadings

Bergdahl was one of the few captives of jihadis to come home alive. The Islamic State shocked and appalled the world as it carried out a series of beheadings of hostages and other prisoners, including Americans James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Peter Kassig, and Britons David Haines and Alan Henning.

The White House response to these atrocities took on a clockwork predictability. Obama might as well have had a form ready for the next one: all he would have had to do would have been to fill in the blank and then take to the airwaves to say that the latest bloodshed had nothing to do with Islam.

In Kassig’s case, Obama seized on the hostage’s at-gunpoint conversion to Islam to assert: “ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”

“Least of all”! As if it were possible that the Islamic State’s actions represented Buddhism, or Methodism, or Christian Science, or the Hardshell Baptists, or the Mandaeans, to greater or lesser degrees, but the most far-fetched association one could make, out of all the myriad faiths people hold throughout the world, would be to associate the Islamic State’s actions with…Islam. The Islamic State’s actions represented no faith, said the president, least of all Islam – as if it were more likely that the Islamic State were made up of Presbyterians or Lubavitcher Hasidim or Jains or Smartas than that it were made up of Muslims.

Yet anywhere that people read the phrase “when you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks” (Qur’an 47:4) as if it were a command of the Creator of the Universe, the fatuousness of Obama’s claim is revealed anew. The truth will out; indeed, it is already abundantly out. We can only hope that not too many more will have to feel the blade at their necks before Obama and the rest can no longer avoid taking realistic and effective action.

6. The Oklahoma beheadingOn September 21, the Islamic State’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, urged Muslims to murder non-Muslims in the West. “Rely upon Allah,” he thundered, “and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling.” He also addressed Western non-Muslims:

You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms. You will pay the price when this crusade of yours collapses, and thereafter we will strike you in your homeland, and you will never be able to harm anyone afterwards.

Five days later, Jah’Keem Yisrael (formerly Alton Alexander Nolen) beheaded one of his coworkers and was shot while in the process of trying to behead another in Vaughan Foods, a food processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma. No one made the connection between his actions and al-Adnani’s call, despite the fact that Yisrael’s Facebook was full of admiring material about the Islamic State, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The beheader even had a graphic photo of a beheading captioned with another Qur’anic beheading verse (8:12) on his Facebook page.

Authorities did not classify his action as terrorism.

5. The Canadian jihad strikes

In October, Canada experienced two murderous jihad terror attacks in three days. Ahmad Rouleau, a convert to Islam, hit two Canadian soldiers with his car, murdering Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Then he led police on a high-speed chase, during which he called 911 and explained that he was doing it all “in the name of Allah.” The chase, and Rouleau’s jihad, ended when he flipped his car and then, brandishing a knife, charged police, who shot him dead. One of Rouleau’s close friends said:

It was a terrorist attack and Martin died like he wanted to. That’s what happened….He did this because he wanted to reach paradise and assure paradise for his family. He wanted to be a martyr….The caliphate called all the Muslims on earth to fight. He listened to what they had to say and he did his part here.

Two days later, another Muslim, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, went on a shooting rampage in Ottawa, murdering military reservist Corporal Nathan Cirillo and engaging in a gun battle inside Canada’s Parliament building. He had threatened to strike “in the name of Allah in response to Canadian foreign policy.”

Islamic State spokesmen Al-Adnani told Muslims in September to murder non-Muslims with any weapon at hand, or anything that could be used as a weapon: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.” Zehaf-Bibeau found a bullet. Rouleau found a car.

In reality, what motivated him was blazingly obvious, but it was the one thing most Western government officials and all of the mainstream media have determined to ignore, and so the search was one for some other remotely plausible motive that could be sold to a public that is increasingly suspicious of what the government and media elites are telling them. Toronto’s Globe and Mail quoted a friend of Zehaf-Bibeau saying, “I think he must have been mentally ill.” It was a refrain we would increasingly hear in connection with jihad attacks as the year went on.

Meanwhile, the denial and unreality regarding the jihad threat took other forms as well…

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Obama faces Veto Dilemmas at the United Nations and 114th Congress

As 2014 was closing a vote on a draft resolution introduced by the Jordanian UN Ambassador at the Security Council hit what may be a temporary speed bump for PA President Abbas. He is striving g to impose a draconian solution to the long simmering dispute on the Jewish nation of Israel. The draft resolution failed to achieve the requisite 9 votes, losing by one vote.  The US and Australia voted no.  Five others abstained including the UK, Lithuania, South Korea and Nigeria. France, Luxembourg, Russia, China, Jordan, Chile, Argentina, and Chad voted in favor of the draft resolution. The draft resolution sought to fix a one year deadline for negotiations on declaration of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem based on the infamous War 1949 Armistice line. What fabled Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban deemed the “Auschwitz line”.  The draft resolution would require the end of the alleged ‘occupation’ of the West Bank by Israel losing its control over the Jordan Valley approaches and protection of over 350,000 Israelis in both Samaria and Judea.

Virtually on the announcement of the vote, PA President Abbas, now serving in the tenth year of an elected four year term, signed 20 UN covenants including the Rome Treaty making it eligible for observer status at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. That would enable it to bring a charge of war crimes against Israel. This will confront the ICC with a choice between recognition of anti-Israel issues versus international law matters. Further, the unilateral move by Abbas will likely cause the incoming GOP led Congress to consider retaliatory legislation further consternating Administration diplomacy in the region.  Israeli PM Netanyahu countered saying:

The one who should fear the International Criminal Court at The Hague is the Palestinian Authority, which is in a unity government with Hamas, a declared terrorist organization like ISIS that commits war crimes.

We will take steps in response and we will defend the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world. We will repel this latest effort to force diktats on us, just as we have repelled the Palestinian turn to the UN Security Council.

 US UN Ambassador Power blasted the PA vote because it precluded consideration of security guarantees outlined in UNSC Res. 242 for Israel to have defensible borders.  She noted in her remarks, “The deadlines in the resolution take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.” The State Department director of its press office, Jeff Rathke, criticized  the PA saying:

 We are deeply troubled by today’s Palestinian action regarding the ICC. Today’s action is entirely counterproductive and does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.

Palestinian Resolution reprise Veto

Besides the ICC ploy, the PA was anything but supine. The change in the non-permanent membership of the UNSC might afford them another opportunity to re-submit the draft resolution, possibly obtaining the requisite 9 votes.   As former US UN Ambassador John Bolton in a Wall Street Journal op Ed published today, “The U.N. Vote on Palestine Was a Rehearsal,”   wrote, “An influx of new Security Council members means a likely ‘yes’ vote – and a veto dilemma for Obama.” Obama, as we have noted previously in Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic interview gave a broad hint that the US might abstain.

Bolton notes in his WSJ op ed the elements of this dilemma that may shortly face the Administration:

A firmer U.S. strategy might have prevented the dilemma from arising. The White House’s opening diplomatic error was in sending strong signals to the media and U.S. allies that Mr. Obama, wary of offending Arab countries, was reluctant to veto any resolution favoring a Palestinian state. Secretary of State John Kerry took pains not to offer a view of the resolution before it was taken up. Such equivocation was a mistake because even this administration asserts that a permanent resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict requires direct negotiations and agreements among the parties themselves.

No draft resolution contrary to these precepts should be acceptable to the U.S., or worth wasting time on in the diplomatic pursuit of a more moderate version. This American view, advocated for years and backed by resolute threats to veto anything that contradicted it, has previously dissuaded the Palestinians from blue-smoke-and-mirror projects in the Security Council.

Bolton addresses how the reprise could shortly occur:

Several factors support a swift Palestinian reprise. First, they obtained a majority of the Security Council’s votes, even if not the required supermajority of nine. In today’s U.N., the eight affirmative votes constitute a moral victory that virtually demand vindication, and sooner rather than later.

Second, the text of Jordan’s resolution was wildly unbalanced even by U.N. standards—for example, it demands a solution that “brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967,” and calls for “security arrangements, including through a third-party presence, that guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine.” A few meaningless tweaks here and there and several countries that abstained could switch to “yes.” Third, on Jan. 1 five of the Security Council’s 10 nonpermanent members stepped down (their two-year terms ended), replaced by five new members more likely to support the Palestinian effort.

Consider how Wednesday’s vote broke down, and what the future may hold. Three of the Security Council’s five permanent members (France, China and Russia) supported Jordan’s draft. France’s stance is particularly irksome, since it provides cover for other Europeans to vote “yes.” The U.K. timidly abstained, proving that David Cameron is no Margaret Thatcher; the abstention signals that a more “moderately” worded resolution might be enough to flip London to a “yes.”

Washington cast the only permanent member’s “no” vote, which is characterized as a veto only when nine or more Security Council members vote in a draft resolution’s favor. Will President Obama now have the stomach to cast a real veto against a U.N. Charter majority backing the Palestinians? Is this the point where the “liberated” Mr. Obama allows a harsh anti-Israel resolution to pass?

Happy New Year, Jerusalem.

He notes the lineup of new rotating non-permanent members in the UNSC that could tip the vote over the required 9 votes:

Three “yes” votes came from Jordan, Chad and Chile, which all remain Security Council members in 2015. Two additional supporters, Argentina and Luxembourg, have been replaced, respectively, by Venezuela (no suspense there) and Spain. Spain narrowly won election in October, defeating Turkey after three ballots. Madrid might be expected to support Washington, but not necessarily, given recent EU hostility to Israel and the appeasers’ argument to soothe wounded Muslim feelings about Turkey’s loss by backing the Palestinians.

Only Australia joined the U.S. in voting “no.” Its successor, New Zealand, would either have abstained or voted affirmatively, according to Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

South Korea abstained, but its replacement, Malaysia, is a certain affirmative vote. Angola, taking Rwanda’s seat, is an abstention at best. While abstainers Lithuania and Nigeria remain, Nigeria’s Boko Haram problem could easily move it to “yes” as an olive branch to the Muslim world. And Lithuania, as a new member of the euro currency union, could well succumb to arguments for EU solidarity, especially if Britain also surrenders.

Bolton notes in conclusion:

The Obama administration can only prevent what it dreads by openly embracing a veto strategy, hoping thereby to dissuade pro-Palestinian states from directly confronting the U.S.

And if that fails, the veto should be cast firmly and resolutely, as we normally advocate our principles, not apologetically. As so often before on Middle Eastern issues, a veto would neither surprise nor offend most Arab governments. If the Administration had courage enough to make clear that a veto was inevitable, it would minimize whatever collateral damage might ensue in Arab lands. But don’t hold your breath.

Iran Sanctions Veto

However, this is not the only veto dilemma facing the Administration in 2015.   On Tuesday, December 30, 2014, Reuters reported  that Undersecretary of The Treasury for Finance and Terrorism, David Cohen issued new financial sanctions “against nine targets who Washington says have helped Tehran avoid existing sanctions or commit human rights abuses.”    The IRNA news agency noted these comments by an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham saying: “At a time negotiations are underway with P5+1, such a move raises doubts about America’s intentions and violates the good will principles” “This action is for mere publicity and will have no bearing whatsoever on our commercial policies,”

Just prior to the onset of Republican control of the 114th Session of Congress on January 6, 2015, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk gave an interview on December 28, 2014  on Fox News Sunday following statements by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham that new sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program may be brought up for an early vote.

That followed an NPR interview with President Obama that he might be prepared to use his veto authority on specific legislation passed by the new Congress.  Kirk in the Sunday Fox interview indicated that 17 Democrats, including New Jersey’s Bob Menendez and New York’s Charles Schumer may have the requisite votes to pass new stronger sanctions legislation against Iran’s nuclear program in view of the Islamic regime fobbing off failed P5+1 negotiations . Those 17 Democratic Senate votes would make such a measure veto proof. This puts President Obama in a difficult situation regarding his engagement of the Islamic Regime in Tehran. A regime that has successfully outmaneuvered the P5+1 and Administration and likely has already achieved nuclear breakout. Omri Ceren chronicled this in a Commentary article,“Enabling Iran’s Nukes” saying, “The lies began at the very beginning with American assurances had secured a ‘halt’ in Iranian nuclear program.”   This is a matter of great concern to Israel’s PM Netanyahu who would support such Congressional action on tougher Iran sanctions.  Watch the Fox News interview with Sen. Kirk.

Iran is feeling the ravaging of its economy due to the loss of revenue from oil and gas production.  Given the precipitous fall in world energy prices, due in part to the drop in demand and the vaulting of US energy production to first rank in 2015.  That has forced Iran to suggest that fellow OPEC member Saudi Arabia cooperates to cut production. This is an unlikely prospect since the Saudis are unwilling to relent given their $750 billion dollar hard currency reserve cushion.

We shall shortly see whether President Obama will issue vetoes at the UNSC against a reprise of the Palestinian draft resolution and another against tougher sanctions legislation passed on a bi-partisan basis in the new Republican controlled Congress against the Iranian nuclear program.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.