Dinesh D’Souza: Obama ‘a master at stirring up envy, resentment and hatred’


For a larger view click on the image.

Dinesh D’Souza gave a powerful historical analysis of how America has, in the eyes of Democrats, become the evil empire, the enemy of mankind. Democrats, since the 1960s, have fundamentally changed their view of America and have since then worked relentlessly to fundamentally change America.

The view of America held by Democratic Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy was that of a great nation that was doing good for all of mankind. That fundamentally changed, according to D’Souza, during the 1960s. Democrats went to the streets in the 1960s not only to protest against the Vietnam War, they went to the streets to protested against America and all it stood for.

Democrats side with America’s enemies because they believe, to this day, that America is the bad guy and those who oppose America are the good guys.

This unique speech is both informative and essential to an understanding of why Americans are facing a cultural and political war like no other since the American Civil War. D’Souza notes that President Obama did not start this fundamental transformation, rather he is a product of it.

Please watch and listen carefully to what Dinesh D’Souza is saying:

EDITORS NOTE: The video of Dinesh D’Souza’s, author and producer of the documentary film “America”, was given on September 6, 2014 at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego, California during a Gala Even to the Combat Veterans For Congress. The featured image is courtesy of The Blaze.

ISIS one mile from Baghdad: May Obama be cursed with nightmares of the Americans we lost in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden recently proclaimed we would “chase ISIS to the gates of hell” — well, it seems they’re going to be a bit delayed, as they’re at the gates of Baghdad right now. Perhaps those almost 1,500 American troops — boots on the ground — will be allowed to leave from behind the gates of the U.S. Embassy and compound to fight — oops, that would be combat, and Obama said that’s not allowed. So could we be on the verge of seeing a 21st century version of the last U.S. helicopter taking off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon as the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong breached those gates?

map isis one mile from bagdad

For a larger view click on the map.

And you must understand this would be the third U.S. Embassy that would have been evacuated in this year! First Libya, now it seems we’re doing the same in Yemen, and Baghdad could be next. I remember transiting through Baghdad as we moved in to take up our positions at Taji AB, just north of the city.

But it’s not just ISIS at the gates. The al-Qaida in Syria affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, is joining forces with ISIS — so much for those Obama air strikes to “degrade” ISIS.

As reported in the UK Independent, “Isis fighters are reportedly just one mile away from Baghdad as reports emerge of al-Qaida militants bolstering their ranks in Syria. According to the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, Isis was approaching the Iraqi capital on Monday morning. “The Islamic State are now less than 2km away from entering Baghdad,” a spokesperson said. “They said it could never happen and now it almost has. Obama says he overestimated what the Iraqi Army could do. Well you only need to be here a very short while to know they can do very, very little.”

I suppose this is something else that will sneak up on the Obama administration? It’s clearly evident — well, except to the mindless progressive socialists — that Obama’s political agenda and narrative is far more important to him than the security of the American people or the precious blood many of my warrior brothers and sisters shed in Iraq. Just last year at the UN General Assembly, it was B. Hussein Obama who spiked the football in his speech and took a personal victory lap before the world over his acclaimed achievement of ending the war in Iraq and bringing all US troops home — looks like he never consulted with the enemy about their perspective on the matter.

But we can all expect Obama to just blame the U.S. intelligence community — or maybe he’ll blame ISIS for not playing along.

The Independent says “Isis fighters were also battling Government forces in a key town 25 miles west of Baghdad – Amiriyat al-Fallujah. According to a BBC correspondent, fighting had calmed by Monday afternoon but a standoff continued along the main road to nearby Fallujah, which is under Isis control. US air strikes overnight targeted other Isis positions in Anbar province, the Pentagon said, and in Syria four more oil fields controlled by militants near Raqqa were hit on Sunday.”

“American officials called the attacks “successful” but the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed mostly civilians were hit and a grain silo was destroyed.”

Folks, this is what happens when you’re just dropping bombs with no targeting assets on the ground to enable precision. I love the pretty fighter jet tapes that are being released, but all I’ve seen are a truck here and a truck there being brilliantly blown up.

According to the Independent, “The news comes amid reports of an emerging alliance between ISIS forces in Syria and Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front. The group is the Syrian offshoot of al-Qaida and has been fighting against the Assad regime in the civil war. Despite months of clashes between its forces and Isis (also known as Islamic State) militants, the two groups appear to be forming a loose coalition in parts of the country to fight increasing attacks by the US and its allies.”

“Al-Nusra’s official spokesperson, Abu Firas al-Suri, threatened the coalition nations with retaliation on Saturday. “These states have committed a horrible act that is going to put them on the list of jihadist targets throughout the world,” he said. “This is not a war against al-Nusra, but a war against Islam.”

Ok, so I just have to ask, is this guy al-Suri a high school or college teacher of the “religion of peace?” Now, does anyone believe we should take the enemy at his word and realize that his reality must become our own? So now please remind me, who are these “moderate” Islamists who are going to fight ISIS again?

“Al-Nusra and Isis leaders are now holding war planning meetings together, a source told the Guardian, although no formal alliance has been confirmed. The reports follow growing defections from other Islamist groups to Isis, which is seen as better organised and equipped to create an “Islamic State” straddling Iraq and Syria. A loyalty pledge was reportedly made by al-Nusra in June in the town of Al-Bukamal near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, and the two groups have fought together against Government forces.”

People follow winners and in the eyes of those in the Islamic world, ISIS is kicking arse, and they want to be a part of that. Here in America we have a loser – and just so you know, winning presidential elections through deceit, media manipulation and nefarious voting actions doesn’t make you a winner, just a progressive socialist.

I’m waiting to hear the excuses when Baghdad potentially falls — which is quite possible within this week. May Obama be cursed with nightmares by all those who lost their lives in Iraq. The “Lie of the Year for 2013″ was Obama’s “You can keep your doctor.” The Lie of the Year for 2014 should be “ISIS is the jayvee team.” But the greatest lie has to be, “al-Qaida has been decimated and is on the run.”

Leaders take responsibility, not credit, and winners don’t need to lie.

RELATED ARTICLE: ISIS Within 1 Mile of Baghdad, Escape Routes Closed – The Clarion Project

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. The featured image is courtesy of the Associated Press and UK Mail Online.

‘Blatant nonsense’: Media hyped walrus climate scare stories debunked

Walrus Key Points:

  • Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford: Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover – ‘The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science…this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.’
  • ‘The Pacific walrus remains abundant, numbering at least 200,000 by some accounts, double the number in the 1950s’
  • ‘Dating back to at least the 1604, there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haulouts.’ – ‘Walrus haulouts are not unusual and have long been recognized and islands have been set aside for such gatherings.’
  • Walruses known to migrate away from ice in late summer & fall: “In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.”
  • AP’s own reporting debunks unprecedented walrus claims:  The AP reported on 40,000 walruses in a haulout just 7 years ago in a single location.
  • Walrus stampede deaths drop dramatically from 3000 in 2007 to 50 in 2014?: AP: 2007: ‘3,000 walruses die in stampedes tied to Climate’
  • Walrus stampede deaths benefit polar bears: ‘Stampeded remains of 100 walruses fed up to 185 polar bears’

Climate Depot Special Report

The October 1, 2014 Associated Press article linking the walrus gathering to melting sea ice, lacks historical perspective and contains serious spin that would lead readers to erroneous conclusions about walruses and the climate. [Update: Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford weighs in: Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover – ‘The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science…this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.’ ]

First off, walruses are not endangered. According to the New York Times, “the Pacific walrus remains abundant, numbering at least 200,000 by some accounts, double the number in the 1950s.”

The AP article titled, “35,000 walrus come ashore in northwest Alaska”, claims “the gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed.” The AP even includes the environmental group World Wildlife Fund, to ramp up climate hype. “It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said Margaret Williams, managing director of the group’s Arctic program, by phone from Washington, D.C.Pacific Walrus_Davi

But the AP is recycling its own climate stories on walruses. See: 2009: AP: Walruses Gather as Ice Melts in the Arctic Sea (Sep 17 2009) Also see fact check on “melting” Arctic sea ice. See: Paper: ‘Myth of arctic meltdown’ : Stunning satellite images show ice cap has grown by an area twice the size of Alaska in two years – Despite Al Gore’s prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now

The media and green groups are implying that walrus hanging out by the tens of thousands is a new phenomenon and due to melting Arctic ice. But dating back to at least the 1604, there have been reports of large walrus gatherings or haulouts.

Excerpt: “Walruses became only really known in Europe after the 1604 expedition to the Kola Peninsula of the ship “Speed” of Muscovy Company, commanded by Stephen Bennet. On the way back to England the Speed reached what some years before a Dutch expedition had named “Bear Island”. The crew of the Speed discovered a haulout numbering about a thousand walruses on the island’s northern coast.”

According to a National Geographic article in 2007, walrus populations were not endangered. See: “While scientists lack a firm population estimate for the species, researchers have encountered herds as large as 100,000 in recent years”

Even the green activists group, the WWF, admits walrus ‘hangouts’ of tens of thousands are not unprecedented.

A 2009 WWF blog report noted: “WWF Polar Bear coordinator Geoff York returned on 17 September from a trip along the Russian coast and saw a haul out there with an estimated 20,000 walruses near Ryrkaipiy (on the Chukchi Peninsula).”

AP’s own reporting debunks walrus claims

Are 35,000 walruses gathering in “haulouts” on the shoreline with many be stampeded to death really that unusual? The answer is No!
The AP reported on 40,000 walruses in a haulout just 7 years ago in a single location. See: AP 12/14/2007: “40,000 in one spot” – “As a result, walruses came ashore earlier and stayed longer, congregating in extremely high numbers, with herds as big as 40,000 at Point Shmidt, a spot that had not been used by walruses as a “haulout” place for a century, scientists said.”

As climate blogger Tom Nelson noted in a December 28 2007 analysis:  “Are you saying that that spot *was* used as a haulout in earlier years?” Nelson wrote.

Nelson noted the media reported that “Walruses are vulnerable to stampedes when they gather in such large numbers. The appearance of a polar bear, a hunter or a low-flying airplane can send them rushing to the water.”

Nelson then asked: “Are stampedes ever caused by the appearance of researchers or low-flying research planes?”

Walrus stampede deaths drop dramatically from 3000 to 50?

The October 1, 2014 AP article notes with obvious concern for the walrus species: “Observers last week saw about 50 carcasses on the beach from animals that may have been killed in a stampede…”

Fifty walrus carcasses? That number is a significant improvement from 2007 when there were a reported 3000 dead walruses discovered from the late summer and fall on the Russian side of the Arctic, according to the AP’s own earlier reporting. See: 2007: ‘3,000 walruses die in stampedes tied to Climate’

Are walrus stampede deaths declining in recent years? It is difficult to say based on reports, but a high of 3000 deaths in 2007 (for a whole season) to a low of 50 deaths in 2014 for a single location, but it does not  appear to be an alarming trend. Why does the AP fail to put any historical perspective on their climate scare stories, especially when the AP’s own reporting from 7 years ago calls into question their claims?

The next issue is whether or not sea ice extent is critical to walruses in late summer and fall. According to this report, ice extent is not critical. As Nelson noted in 2007:

“When I read this in the (2007) ‘walrus’ Wikipedia entry, I’m also not convinced that lack of summer ice is necessarily a big deal.”

2007 Wikipedia entry: “In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.” [Note: This line has been omitted from the Wikipedia entry in 2014]

Walrus stampede deaths benefit polar bears

In addition, a 2007 WWF post inadvertently noted that the carcasses of stampeded walruses may actually be a great benefit to polar bears.

“Last fall some 20,000-30,000 animals were piled up there. No one has actually counted them all, but the Vankarem residents are certain the number is growing…In early winter, when the ice is re-forming and walruses leave the beach, up to 100 carcasses remain behind. These blubbery animals offer a perfect meal for wandering and hungry polar bears…In mid-November, a truck driver alerted the patrol to bear tracks on the beach. The wave had begun. For the next three weeks, bears making their way along the coast stopped to graze on the carcasses at this so-called “feeding point” instead of proceeding to the village. At one time alone, Sergey and his team counted 96 bears feeding on the walrus. In total they estimated that 185 bears had been circulating with a six mile radius around the village.”

The stampeded remains of 100 walruses fed up to 185 polar bears!

But despite the easily accessible historical data on walruses, the WWF and the AP and other media in 2014, continue to spin the haulouts as evidence of “climate change.”

Margaret Williams, WWF’s managing director of the Arctic program said in a September 18, 2014 article: “The massive concentration of walruses onshore—when they should be scattered broadly in ice-covered waters—is just one example of the impacts of climate change on the distribution of marine species in the Arctic.”

Is the WWF correct? Should walruses be “scattered broadly in ice-covered waters”? Not exactly. As Tom Nelson noted on Twitter, (Tom Nelson‏@tan123) “If walrus haulouts are a new thing, why was this walrus haulout sanctuary established in 1960”

According to the Alaskan government, walrus haulouts are not unusual and have long been recognized and islands have been set aside for such gatherings.

Excerpt: “The Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary (WISGS), protects a group of seven small craggy islands and their adjacent waters in northern Bristol Bay, approximately 65 miles southwest of Dillingham. The WISGS includes Round Island, Summit Island, Crooked Island, High Island, Black Rock and The Twins. The WISGS was established in 1960 to protect one of the largest terrestrial haulout sites in North America for Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens).”

The Alaskan government report noted that numbers of 14,000 walrus haulouts in a single day were not unusual.

“Each summer large numbers of male walruses haul out on exposed, rocky beaches. Round Island is one of four major terrestrial haulouts in Alaska; the others are Capes Peirce (Togiak NWR), Newenham (Togiak NWR), and Seniavin (near Port Moller). Male walrus return to these haulouts every spring as the ice pack recedes northward, remaining in Bristol Bay to feed they haul out at these beach sites for several days between each feeding foray. The number of walrus using the island fluctuates significantly from year to year. However, up to 14,000 walrus have been counted on Round Island in a single day.”

Hunters have relied on large hangouts of walruses. This report details how walruses were “predictably present” and made for “clean and efficient butchering.”

Expert: “Qayassiq was especially important for walrus hunting because it was accessible in good weather; walruses were predictably present on the beach during the preferred fall hunt; and the beach is rocky, not sandy, promoting clean and efficient butchering. Hunting on haulouts was a highly organized activity.”

Update: Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford weighs in: Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover – ‘The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science… this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.’ – Large haulouts of walruses — such as the one making news at Point Lay, Alaska on the Chukchi Sea (and which happened before back in 2009 — are not a new phenomenon for this region over the last 45 years and thus cannot be due to low sea ice levels. Nor are deaths by stampede within these herds (composed primarily of females and their young) unusual, as a brief search of the literature reveals. At least two documented incidents like this have occurred in the recent past: one in 1978, on St. Lawrence Island and the associated Punuk Islands and the other in 1972, on Wrangell Island (Fay and Kelly 1980, excerpts below)… Here is how the WWF is spinning this recent gathering at Point Lay:

We are witnessing a slow-motion catastrophe in the Arctic,” said Lou Leonard, WWF’s vice president for climate change.”

Crockford Summed it up: “As you can see, this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.”

Related Link: Tom Nelson’s 2007 report: About those walrus stampedes – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2007

Google currently shows about 14,000 hits for “walruses stampedes”.

Excerpts from a typical scare story, along with my comments:

The giant, tusked mammals typically clamber onto the sea ice to rest, or haul themselves onto land for just a few weeks at a time.

Ok, so it’s not unusual for them to haul up on land. Google shows a lot of pictures of them on land.

As a result, walruses came ashore earlier and stayed longer, congregating in extremely high numbers, with herds as big as 40,000 at Point Shmidt, a spot that had not been used by walruses as a “haulout” for a century, scientists said.

Are you saying that that spot *was* used as a haulout in earlier years?

Walruses are vulnerable to stampedes when they gather in such large numbers. The appearance of a polar bear, a hunter or a low-flying airplane can send them rushing to the water.

Are stampedes ever caused by the appearance of researchers or low-flying research planes?

Sure enough, scientists received reports of hundreds and hundreds of walruses dead of internal injuries suffered in stampedes. Many of the youngest and weakest animals, mostly calves born in the spring, were crushed.

Biologist Anatoly Kochnev of Russia’s Pacific Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography estimated 3,000 to 4,000 walruses out of population of perhaps 200,000 died, or two or three times the usual number on shoreline haulouts.

Were anecdotal reports of “hundreds and hundreds” used to come up with the estimate of 3,000 to 4,000? How much actual counting was done? What’s the baseline number of annual stampede deaths? Is anyone checking that any animals found dead were killed in stampedes, rather than dying from some other cause?

No large-scale walrus die-offs were seen in Alaska during the same period, apparently because the animals congregated in smaller groups on the American side of the Bering Strait, with the biggest known herd at about 2,500.

So when a walrus herd of 2,500 is panicked, stampede deaths are not a big deal, but when the herd reaches tens of thousands, we can expect lots of stampede deaths?

It seems to me that more walruses worldwide may die from hunting than from stampedes. Note an excerpt from this Sea World link:

As the Pacific walrus population grew, annual subsistence catches by indigenous Arctic peoples ranged from about 3,000 to 16,000 walruses per year until about 1990, and then decreased to an average of 5,789 animals per year from 1996 to 2000.

A related paragraph is here:

Pacific walrus meat has been used for the past 40 years to feed foxes which are kept on government – subsidised fur farms in Chukotka. One estimate made by natives was of an annual kill of 10,000 – 12,000 walruses per year, but this may have been overstated. Recent investigations have found that much of the meat is left to waste and that there are no markets for the resultant fox furs. Fox farming operations in Chukotka are currently in decline due to economic recession. Local unemployment caused by the general economic situation and the closure of the farms has however led to a recent increase in illegal head-hunting.

Some more background information is in this 2007 WWF post:

Last fall some 20,000-30,000 animals were piled up there. No one has actually counted them all, but the Vankarem residents are certain the number is growing.

In early winter, when the ice is re-forming and walruses leave the beach, up to 100 carcasses remain behind. These blubbery animals offer a perfect meal for wandering and hungry polar bears.

As soon as the walruses departed, the polar bear patrol spent several days working to collect the remains of walruses killed in the stampedes. Using a tractor, they carted the carcasses six miles west of the village, anticipating that the bears would come from the west in the fall. In the end, they scattered some 80 walruses around selected sites — and then they waited.

In mid-November, a truck driver alerted the patrol to bear tracks on the beach. The wave had begun. For the next three weeks, bears making their way along the coast stopped to graze on the carcasses at this so-called “feeding point” instead of proceeding to the village. At one time alone, Sergey and his team counted 96 bears feeding on the walrus. In total they estimated that 185 bears had been circulating with a six mile radius around the village.

My comments: Eighty-100 dead walruses out of 20,000-30,000 hauled out on land seems quite low, if Kochnev’s estimate of 3,000-4,000 total stampede deaths is correct (remember, his estimate is based on a population of maybe 200,000, many of which are not hauled out in huge herds).

Also, if polar bear numbers are so threatened by global warming, what are 185 of them doing within six miles of the village?

When I read stuff like this, I’m also not completely convinced that walruses are threatened with extinction:

…researchers have encountered herds as large as 100,000 in recent years…

When I read this in the “walrus” Wikipedia entry, I’m also not convinced that lack of summer ice is necessarily a big deal:

“In the non-reproductive season (late summer and fall) walruses tend to migrate away from the ice and form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops.”

In the same entry, when I read this, I’m not convinced that polar bears really need year-round sea ice in order to feed successfully.”

Polar bears hunt walruses by rushing at beached aggregations and consuming those individuals that are crushed or wounded in the sudden mass exodus, typically younger or infirm animals.

Some video of polar bears successfully hunting walruses is here and here. I don’t see any ice in that first hunting scene.

Republican Governors like Rick Scott are Saving the American Dream!

Governor Rick Scott of Florida turned around Florida with sound economic principles, and is one of those celebrated Republican Governors. Let’s face it, without a vibrant economy, strong jobs and a healthy middle class… America fails! The Republican Governor’s success across America broadcasts hope for our nation, especially when compared to the federal out-of-control debt ticking towards $18 trillion, jobs dissolving into disability checks and freedom hanging in jeopardy. Florida is a pivotal contest for Republicans, which is why Governor Scott is under a deceitful attack by the failed ex-Governor Crist/Obama Team.

Let’s be honest, Crist has to cover-up his miserable record: The second largest increase in unemployment, 828,000 private sector jobs loss, $5.2 billion in added debt, $3.6 billion deficit, raising taxes by $2.2 billion, raiding the budget and devaluing home prices by 47%. Since then flip-flopper Crist has undergone a massive identity crisis by changing parties like changing clothes. He lost as an Independent against Marco Rubio who quipped the “next change by Crist will probably be going to Cuba.” Instead of Cuba, Crist was next seen embracing President Obama at the DNC convention which marked his current change to democrat.

While Governor Scott tenaciously fights to lower taxes and refreshingly named his budget: “Your Money Tax Cut Budget.” Governor Scott’s excellent command of the checkbook, reversed the “Crist sinking ship” by impressively adding almost 700,000 jobs, $500 million in tax cuts, 4.8% decreased unemployment to 6.2%, cut 3,000 regulations, over $1 Billion to Florida’s environment, 40 tax cuts, teacher incentives, cut government waste, paid down a $4 billion debt and created an attractive tax-atmosphere to welcome businesses to the sunshine state … and the list goes on!

rga map

Red states have Republican governors.

Voters Need to Know Why Freedom is in Jeopardy!

Billionaire environmentalist, Tom Steyer, in a New York Times article on May 22, 2014 revealed a new left-wing-campaign-gimmick to commit $100 million to defeat candidates who question global warming. He further projects “We want 2014 to be a pivotal year for climate to be a wedge issue in policial races.”

Mr. Steyer’s scheme seems misguided due to his claim at the American Renewable Energy Institute that “only .5% of the super-sophisticated people” in the United States believe in global warming. He might have to resort to magic to swing his 95.5% non-believers … or it’s just a staggering waste money.

In the world of reality, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity called out Steyer for “bankrolling candidates … whose efforts are leaving hard-working Americans without work, without economic security and without hope for the future.” Wake up voters, false gimmicks to destroy Republican principles will lead to the collapse of America – not “The American Dream.”

Governor Scott works hard and wins!

Yet critics blame Scott for issues that are beyond his purview! For example, it’s clear that Governor Scott objects to Common Core through his 2013 Executive Order against a curriculum funded by federal non-profits. Using strong words against the Federal government’s un-constitutional authority to unilaterally set academic standards for Florida Scott states: “Floridians will not accept government intrusion into the academic standards that are taught to our students.” Yet dissenters vow to disregard Scott’s successes and are prepared to walk-the-gang-plank for a single issue that has already swung towards Florida state and local standards. The voting public is well aware that Charlie Crist is salivating over this Common Core confrontation and waiting in the wings to re-install the federal Obama/Crist Common Core standards.

My bet goes with Governor Scott’s solid state’s rights record and outspoken policies against federal-anything! The best option for Floridians against Common Core is to keep running-the-ball towards sharpening the best and most creative standards for kids! Scott will support his state and Crist will support the feds – it’s a no brainer!

Another raging battle is the emergence of All Aboard Florida’s fake fanfare as the first private passenger train in the world! Henceforth, the claim of private has morphed into a Federal Rail Association $1.8 Billion loan. It’s difficult for Governor Scott to speak against free enterprise due his hard-work on a pro-growth, pro-jobs platform in Florida. Let’s hope the final resolution to this controversey will be denial of the FRA massive loan (a loan of this magnitude has never been granted). Or, the powerful legal team will triumph against the trains following California and Nevada defeats.

Scott is not promoting the 2009 White House vision for a European-style national train network to “phase out cars and fossil fuels,” as specified in the All Aboard Florida’s Transit Oriented Development scheme. Instead Governor Scott doubled tourism in Florida and aims his transportation budget towards highways/airports. A vote for the Crist platform = a vote for the Choo-Choo!

Governor Scott is particularly sensitive to medicaid expansion and, as a kind-hearted man, chose to back the poor and elderly heightened by a personal family challenge. Governor Scott, using republican principles, only backed the Medicaid expansion after the federal authorities agreed to fully privatize medicaid and only the three-year period the Feds agreed to pony-up 100% of the total cost. In the meantime, under the radar, Governor Scott focuses on cancer research, healthcare workforce shortages and extra care for alzheimers patients. It’s clear from Goveror Scott’s record that he will support free market solutions to healthcare reform in Florida.

Charlie Crist has flip-flopped three times on his healthcare position but as part of the Crist/Obama Team he’s a steadfast Obamacare supporter!

The Left Lies!

The heavy-handed Left-Wing machine has already run dishonest ads against Governor Scott regarding water pollution, big sugar and “pleading the fifth” accusations. They can’t win with their ideas, so they tell lies.

The joke is that those so-called Scott “corporate polluters” turned out to be Obama supporters. In fact, the Chairman of Duke Energy, who appeared at 2012 Democratic National Convention, along with greenie Tom Steyer, all had ties to billions in stimulus funds. Scott never plead the fifth and was exonerated!

Voters can be sure the Crist/Steyer/Obama Team will bolster third-party candidate Adrian Wyllie to swing the election to Crist – this is what they do! Voters need to consider what’s at stake in Florida as the gateway to South America, globalism, chinese Panama Canal imports, immigration and the 2016 presidential election.

The National Republican Governors and Governor Scott have a proven track-record of success and will continue the fight to Save the American Dream, as Freedom is the only answer!

The U.S. is Becoming a Weaker Nation

The news that the U.S. Air Force, joined at long last by some of the Arab nations most threatened by the Islamic State (ISIS), began bombing their headquarters and military sites in Syria was long overdue, but welcome. It took time because Obama had originally dismissed ISIS as a threat.

It no doubt took time to get Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia to team with the U.S., but missing from the action is Turkey that borders Syria and Egypt. Turkey has become increasingly Islamist, but appears determined to stay out of the war with ISIS. By initially refusing to provide arms to Egypt, Obama drove it into the waiting arms of the Soviet Union, but has since reversed its policy and is seeking to woe Egypt back as an ally.

In a September 23rd column, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal opined that “…every President gets things wrong. Mr. Obama is not exceptional in those respects. Where he stands apart is in his combination of ideological rigidity and fathomless ignorance. What does the President know? The simple answer, and maybe the truest, is: not a lot.”

Cover - Russia-China AxisObama’s combination of ideology and ignorance is analyzed in an extraordinary book by Douglas E. Schoen and Melik Kaylan, “The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership.” It provides a fact-filled look at his failure to provide leadership to a nation that other nations have looked to for leadership and protection since the end of World War II.

Indeed, in addition to the ISIS videos of Americans and others being beheaded, it has taken the outspoken criticism of retired U.S. generals to mobilize public opinion to support a return to the battlefield. It is a battlefield that Obama has fled at every opportunity, pulling out all of our troops from Iraq and planning to do the same in Afghanistan.

In the September 14th issue of Defense News, General John Michael Loh, retired, a former Air Force vice chief of state and Air Combat Command commander, said, “ The right solution is neither exclusively boots on the ground airpower. The right solution is a one-two punch: a massive air campaign followed by a ground force offensive to defeat ISIS. If executed the way airmen and soldiers have worked together in the past, most notably in Desert Storm, the result is not just a decisive victory, quickly and with few casualties, but the basis for deterrence of any ISIS-like movement in the future.”

“The Russia-China Axis” delves deep into the failure of both the Presidency and Congress to address the threats to our nation around the world. “As China and Russia beef up”, the authors note regarding our military expenditure, “Congress is set to cut nearly $1 trillion from the defense budget over the next ten years” and while the full brunt of those cuts is a ways off, the military is already taking it on the chin thanks to the cuts negotiated during the sequestration of January 2013.”

Citing the warnings of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, “What he and others have found so far is alarming; impaired combat-troop readiness; inability to modernize equipment and weapons and technology systems; and the need, potentially, to slash as many as five of the Air Force’s tactical aircraft squadrons.”

“Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns that the effects of sequestration alone will leave the United States with our smallest ground fighting force since 1940, the smallest naval fleet since 1915, and the ‘smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force.’”

While the headlines of the strikes against Syrian ISIS locations are exciting, in addition to our Defense Secretaries, we need to pay heed to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who has said, “We would go from being unquestionably powerful everywhere to being less visible globally and presenting less of an overmatch to our adversaries. And that would translate into a different deterrent calculus and potentially, therefore, increase the likelihood of conflict.”

While the U.S. cuts its defense spending, Russia and China have been increasing theirs. Moreover, while nuclear weapons can be found in nations like North Korea, a self-declared enemy of the U.S. Iran is intent on creating its own nuclear capability, the U.S. has not only reduced its nuclear arsenal (Obama wants no arsenal) and has entered into negotiations that no observer believes will result in any cessation of Iran’s intentions.

The authors of “The Russia-China Axis” warn that “The U.S. retreat from the nuclear playing field is not just apparent in offensive capabilities; the American missile-defense shield that protects our homeland and our European allies is gravely deficient as well.”

The authors assess that “America, worn down by a decade-plus of wars, has become inner-directed, even isolationist.” This is a repeat of history prior to and following World War I. Following World War II, America was the only nation with the power to hold off and wear down the former Soviet Union’s ambitions to spread communism worldwide. Under Vladimir Putin, Russia is seeking to regain its influence in Eastern Europe and has, of course, invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea.

This has all happened while Obama has been President. He has already announced that the U.S. will not put “boots on the ground” in Iraq and will leave Afghanistan next year. Telling the enemy what you intend to do militarily is a profoundly stupid thing to do. And this is a President who has resisted even his closest advisors regarding the need for action.

Plainly said, we need to survive the last two years of Obama’s second term in office. We can do so to some degree if the Republican Party can gain control of the U.S. Senate and expand it in the House. The November midterm elections have never been more critical.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

America’s Education Battlefield

The 2010 introduction of Common Core, a set of requirements for what elementary and secondary school children should know in math and English language arts, has turned schools in one state after another into battlefields as its complexity and other factors led to protests against it. Even so, by mid-2014, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that very nearly half of those asked about it hadn’t even heard of it. A number of states, such as Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have withdrawn from it.

Schools today are often under fire for one reason or another. Ever since the 1960s when teachers unions began to secure more and more control, formerly the responsibility of individual and state school boards, Americans have been engaged in efforts to improve the elementary and secondary education systems. Many have elected to home school their children. Others have pushed for school choice to permit their children to attend a school that was clearly doing a better job than the one to which their children were assigned.

As youngsters settle into their classes, there are a number of trends worth noting.

Perhaps one of the most interesting trends is the expansion of online classes into K-12. As Ashley Bateman noted in a recent issue of School Reform News, “In 2013 ten million students of all ages participated in more than 1,200 massive, open, online courses offered by more than 200 universities.” Of value to self-motivated students in particular, online classes are sure to find a larger audience of students who have grown up in the virtual world of game playing.

Another trend was noted by Marcy C. Tillotson, an education reporter for Watchdog.org. It is the increasing demand for more and more data about each student who worry that things done at a very young age like a schoolyard fight or emotional problems will follow them into college when they have long outgrown the problems or behaviors of childhood. Parents want to know what data is being collected and who has access to it. As often as not, they cannot find out.

Increasingly, school choice, a parent’s right to enroll their child in a selected public school, a private or a parochial choice, has become an issue that makes it into state legislature’s where some support and some forbid it. In Louisiana and Texas, for example, school choice programs and scholarship credits have gained support as a political issue. In Florida, the teachers union has initiated a lawsuit “to eliminate school choice for many low-income students and effectively kill a program to help students with autism and other special needs.” In North Carolina, its Supreme Court rendered a decision that permits more than 2,000 low-income parents to send their children to schools of their choice.

Attention to the quality of teachers, as opposed to letting tenure keep poorly performing ones in the classroom, is a growing trend. Last year in California, a first of its kind teacher quality lawsuit was decided in favor of the education reforms that brought it, striking down tenure and a similar lawsuit has been announced for New York.

As Ms. Tillitson reported, “Vergara v. California struck down state laws that required teacher layoffs based solely on seniority with no regard to teacher effectiveness, gave teachers permanent status after two years on the job, and made it difficult for school administrators to dismiss ineffective teachers.” As this trend expands to other states, a major complaint regarding poor performance will be addressed.

At the heart of the issue of teacher quality are the programs that prepare them to teach. As Ms. Tillotson noted, “A week after a California judge ruled on a case involving teacher tenure, dismissals and layoffs, the National Council for Teacher Quality released its annual report on another fundamental problem, the poor quality of teacher preparation programs. The report found that, as a whole, the programs need improvement. “Only a quarter of the programs expect aspiring teachers to be in the top half of their college’s academic pool. On a 125-point scale, the NCTQ ranked most programs as earning fewer than 50 points.

Increasingly, the quality and content of various educational programs are being questioned and challenged. One example is the College Board’s Advanced Placement U.S. History Framework (APUSH) and the questions about who wrote the curriculum that is taught to 500,000 students in more than 8,000 high schools every year.

When Larry Krieger, a retired College Board-praised teacher and Jane Robbins, a senior fellow at The American Principles Project asked the College Board who was the author or authors of the program, all they got as a reference to a web page listing 19 college professors and teachers who served on two College Board committees but where not listed as authors, but as “Acknowledgements.” Kreiger and Robbins call the history program “biased, poorly written, and ineptly organized”; one that “has raised alarms from state and national leaders.” We keep hearing about the importance of “transparency” but apparently the College Board does not think it applies to them.

It has long been known that U.S. schools tend to perform more poorly than those in other nations. Joy Pullman, a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News reported that “According to two recently released studies, the schools middle-income families send their kids to are not as good as parents think.”

“A national study,” wrote Ms. Pullman, “found U.S. students whose parents have college degrees perform worse than peers from comparable families in other countries. In the United States, 43 percent of such children tested ‘proficient’ in math on an international test, compared to 71 percent of comparable students from Poland, 68 percent in Japan, and 64 percent in Germany.” Overall, U.S. students performed better than those in only six countries.

Not surprisingly, Ms. Bateman has reported that “Accepting federal mandates in exchange for funding is the crux of the problem” of ever-growing educational bureaucracies at the state level. “States report that 40 percent of the paperwork burden they deal with is to comply with federal regulations,” said Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation.

When one considers how much in tax revenue is collected for the purpose of educating our youth, one would hope for better results, but fortunately there are many individuals, parents, and organizations seeking to improve the quality of education and our schools are going to remain battlefields for many years to come.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Oklahoma Beheading Raises Questions About Prison Conversions and American Muslim Leadership

On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, Alton Alexander Nolen, a paroled former felon and Muslim convert aka Jah’Keem Yisrael was charged in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, Court with a first degree murder in the alleged beheading of 54 year old Colleen Hufford. He was also charged with the attempted murder of Traci Johnson, both on Thursday, September 25th on the premises of Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma. Earlier on Thursday Nolen had been suspended by the Vaughan Foods Human Resources Department because of arguments with Johnson and others, allegedly involving, possible racial and religious matters. Nolen, according to a report from his home town newspaper in Oklahoma, may have been fired for misogynist arguments with female workers about stoning women under Islamic Sharia law. Nolen was overheard invoking alleged “Arabic expressions” in his barbaric attacks that took the life of Hufford and stabbing of Johnson. If not for the shooting of Nolen by Vaughan Foods’ Chief Operating Officer, Mark Vaughan, a county reserve police officer, Nolen’s attack could have resulted in a possible mass killing episode. Police and FBI Investigation of Nolen’s social media revealed grisly beheading videos of American and British captives by the Islamic State, formerly ISIS. There were expressions of hatred towards unbelievers invoked by Qur’anic verses cited by Nolen.

Jacob Mugami Muriithi, Oklahoma City Nursing home worker. Source: The Oklahoman

Nolen’s act was not an isolated event in Oklahoma. On Friday, September 26th, Jacob Mugami Muriithi, a Kenyan Muslim immigrant, was arrested for threatening with beheading a fellow Oklahoma City nursing home worker on September 19th. Muriithi was arrested with bail set at $1 million on a terrorism compliant and currently is being investigated. According to an Oklahoman news report the unidentified woman:

said Muriithi identified himself as a Muslim and …he “represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians,” the detective told a judge in the affidavit. The two had not worked together before. The woman said she asked him why they kill Christians and he replied, “This is just what we do.”

Nolen attended Friday services at the same mosque as convicted 9/11 perpetrator, Zacarias Moussaouithe Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (ISGOC). Saad Mohammed, Oklahoma CAIR chapter Board Chairman indicated that Nolen began regular attendance in May 2014. While Mohammed found Nolen fairly quiet, he said, “He was a little odd, a little strange in the way he carried himself. But we [at the mosque] never made anything of it.” The current Imam at the ISGOC Imad Enchassi, is a Palestinian immigrant who lived through the Sabra and Shatila Refugee Camp massacre in Lebanon. Breitbart reported: “both [Oklahoma]  CAIR Director Adam Soltani and ISGOC Imam Enchassi claimed just days prior to the beheading that Muslims and their children had been receiving death threats from Oklahoma residents; going as far as to say that Muslims and their children were under threat of being beheaded and were no longer safe in Oklahoma.”

The former Imam at the ISGOC who encountered Moussaoui in 2001 was Suhaib Webb, a Caucasian Oklahoma prison convert to Islam. Two days prior to 9/11, Webb participated in a fundraiser for Atlanta radical H. Rap Brown with late Al Qaeda operative, Anwar Al- Awlaki two days before 9/11, September 9, 2001. Webb ultimately moved to Boston to become Imam at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) controlled by Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, Muslim American Society. The ISBCC had as trustees,Yusuf al Qaradawi, notorious Anti-American and Anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood preacher living in exile in Qatar and convicted terror financier Abdulrahman Alamoudi serving a 23 year term in a federal prison for funneling money for the assassination of a Saudi prince. Boston Marathon bombers, the late Tamerlan and surviving brother Dzhokhar Tsarneav, the latter awaiting trial in Boston, attended the Cambridge mosque of the ISBCC. Webb has returned frequently to the ISGOC to give sermons. According to a Daily Caller report, Webb published an apology for demonizing ISIS following the beheading by Nolen. Dr. Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance characterized Webb in a Boston Jewish Advocate article in 2013 as someone who, “teaches vicious hatred and calls for young Muslims to engage in Jihad against non-Muslims in order to establish a global Islamic state.”

Given this background we interviewed noted forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist, who is renowned within legal circles for his work on many of the most sensitive and complex cases in America and beyond. Because his ouvre includes eight mass killing or attempted mass killing cases, defendants implicated in terrorism, risk assessment, and engagement of cross cultural issues, we decided to reach out to him on the Oklahoma beheadings of this week. He is known to readers of the New English Review for the Omar Khadr military tribunal in Guantanamo, in which his work, including a videotaped interview, obliterated fraudulent claims of US torture of a teenage detainee and coercion of his confession; his testimony on risk assessment of future Jihadism had meaningful impact on both a jury picked by Khadr’s own attorneys, as well as the Canadian government. In addition to other terrorism-related cases and casework involving al-Qaeda, he has written on terrorism and its integral dependence on mass media.

Dr. Welner, who pioneered peer review to enhance the integrity of forensic consultation, is architect of the Depravity Standard, an evidence-driven inventory of a crime’s intent, actions, attitude, and victimology for application to criminal sentencing, release decisions, and war crimes tribunals. This fascinating research to essentially standardize how evil is distinguished in crime also includes protocols in which the general public, including all who read this, can directly participate in shaping future criminal sentencing, at www.depravitystandard.org. He is a key contributor to crisis mental health reform legislation before Congress, HR 3717 sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, and inspired a recently passed landmark law in Illinois requiring transparency and videotaping of competency examinations.

Jerry Gordon

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

Dr. Michael Welner

Dr. Michael Welner:  Thank you for inviting me.

Gordon:  Alton Alexander Nolen is a former convicted felon and Muslim convert aka Jah’Keem Yisrael. He is suspect in perpetrating an alleged beheading and attempted murder of co-workers at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma. The Imam of the Oklahoma City Islamic Center who encountered him during his parole suggested that he was a “little weird.” How might Nolen’s criminal past and alleged instability coupled with his Muslim conversion make him a recruit to commit such barbarity in sympathy with ISIS?

Welner:  In my professional experience, murder that reflects an ideological influence, which is what I would call this, is committed far more frequently by recent converts or recruits. It is an expression of bonafides by someone seeking greater prestige among the admired group. And it may be someone who is nominally affiliated or unaffiliated altogether. Leaders and more hard core adherents are content to rely upon such individuals as cannon fodder to set an example for others.

As for the depiction of him as “a little weird,” that is a non-specific finding. Were he not to have been “a little weird,” he would not have gotten himself fired from Vaughan Foods. It’s not investment banking.

I am reluctant to yet call him a recruit to ISIS. I think it is more accurate to say that at this point, there is clearly an unspecified segment of the American Muslim population that deeply identifies with ISIS. Some identify enough to travel overseas and to fight for ISIS when they would not do so for the United States military. Others would send their children to do the same. Still others admire them and support their missions and actions. To the end that ISIS has encouraged export of sectarian attacks on non-believers here, there are and will continue to be those who answer that call as a spiritual imperative.

This was an attempted mass killing. Mass killers are premeditated killers. Mass killers identify with being violent and destructive. That typically precedes their adopting any number of self-righteous causes.

The variant for each mass killer is the point at which they decide that the day has come for them to undertake a fantasized mass killing. In this case, Jah’Keem Israel was fired. That is a commonly identified trigger to mass killing in a person harboring deep identification with destructiveness as an expression of manhood.

In cases such as this, his spiritual journey is an ingredient in his justification of killing a complete stranger who had nothing to do with his firing. He beheaded the poor victim – we call that a “signature.” Amping one’s self up on righteous justification with one ideology or another is no different from the self-serving contempt of Elliot Rodger with which he intoxicated himself before decimating Isla Vista, California in May 2014.

Gordon:  Jacob Mugami Muriithi, a Kenyan immigrant and self-identified Muslim had independently and prior to Nolen’s action at Vaughan Foods, threatened a fellow nursing home worker in Oklahoma City with beheading allegedly saying that ”ISIS  kills Christians.” Why in your view should both of these events concern Americans?

Welner:  I am not yet concerned about this particular story as an American problem, so much as it is now an American Muslim problem. Belligerents and co-workers who feel an entitlement to being homicidal have been a problem in workplaces for decades. Non-violence policies in workplaces correctly involve police when such incidents happen, and those who make serious threats are appropriately held accountable.

What ISIS has demonstrated is that it has tapped into a tremendous reservoir of spiritual bloodlust among Muslims worldwide. Death by beheading is no more death than by an automatic weapon. However, beheading as trophy collection is a relish for dehumanizing others that the Depravity Standard research (www.depravitystandard.org) has demonstrated to be reflective of depravity in crime. Beheading is disseminated and celebrated among populations that now dominate the landscape of many Muslim countries illustrates in these populations, how Islam defines its ideals. If that is not the case, then it is up to the Islamic leaders of those countries to fight ISIS and to disown it for religious sacrilege – rather than merely to oppose it for political threat. That is not an American problem; that is a choice of the Muslim world to either choose the 7th century or choose another era which can accommodate their Muslim beliefs and statecraft.

Since pockets of the American Muslim community – the numbers of which are not identified for public awareness – do identify with this barbarity, the challenge will be to American Muslims: How do you define yourselves? Are you here for pluralistic coexistence or to foment Sharia and a Sharia society as you have in an inexorably decaying France, for example? Vehement opposition to the subversives must come from the American Muslim community first and foremost.

The dominance of the influence of American Muslims seeking pluralistic coexistence over the voice of rejectionist Muslims must be supported as a matter of Department of Homeland Security policy. If that does not happen, the belligerence and intensity of American Muslims who are rejectionist of separation of church and state will come define the identity of American Islam as it has elsewhere.

I am not as impressed with the ISIS threat to America as a practical matter. The Islamist students at American universities, as was suspect Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are far more capable threats right now. The infrastructure exists within the United States to prevent malevolents from carrying out large scale terrorist attacks. The bigger threat to America is not from these combatants, but from America’s unwillingness to deploy simple public safety maneuvers.

It is difficult, for example, to defend a policy of allowing ISIS combatants to return to the United States when the very nature of their militancy is to destroy others around them who do not believe. The policy that shut down the infrastructure for detecting and intervening in violent planned activity in those specifically poisonous mosques that exploit freedoms is a greater threat than those who identify with sectarian murder. Dismantling fundamental public safety measures in order to pander to those who provide cover for subversive Islam is a problem that is far greater than ISIS is or will be.

Prisons are a useful bell weather of ISIS influence. Nidal Hassan, of course, recently pledged to ISIS from prison. I believe Muslim violence against non-Muslims will increase in American prisons if ISIS is influencing relations between the religions in a meaningful way.

Gordon:  Nolen had allegedly become a Muslim convert while incarcerated in a State of Oklahoma Department of Corrections facility. How might Nolen’s exposure to theocratic radicalization materials during conversion contribute to his criminal acts?

Welner:  If Nolen acted in the name of Islam, his evolution in prison is only part of the story. Malevolent and dominant alpha-inmates with their own Jihadist dreams can be all the more poisonous than even radical clerics and their materials, especially if they have access to the inmate or set an example that others admire. Any assessment of Nolen should probe the origins of his influence to Islam beyond mere investigation of a cleric.

Similarly, even if he did not access reading materials, this does not mean there was no external influence. It only signifies that he preferred being preached to rather than to read.

Gordon:  As witnessed by the Oklahoma case of suspect Nolen, Islam is the fastest growing faith in US prison populations. The 2010 Census found upwards 15% of US prison populations (approximately 350,000) were Muslims. That is in contrast to 2.6 million Muslims nationally, according to the 2010 US Census. What in your view contributes to the high rate of Muslim prison conversions?

Welner:  Religion is an altogether therapeutic contributor in prison. For people whose rejection of rules and order, or whose alienation, is tied to their arrests and antisocial history, attachment to a higher power is constructive. If prisons were to be the most religion-dominated communities in America, there would be a decline of prison violence and of criminal recidivism.

Islam has been very aggressive about spreading itself in prisons in America and really, all over the world. There are many reasons promoting its spread in American facilities. For many with substance abuse histories, the rigorous abstinence disciplines one from habits that otherwise handicap. For others with no paternal role models and fragmented social supports, the submission and order organizes and grounds one as a first step to functioning in a manner transferrable from confinement to the community. These are good things to even support and reinforce, in my opinion. If someone chooses prayer, it is a safer world.

Prison also distinguishes itself with a disproportionate population of black Americans. The disenfranchisement of many black Americans from Americana is cemented by incarceration and its lifelong consequences. The Nation of Islam fed off that alienation and provided black liberation/black nationalism as the antidote to many prisoners. Islam appeals to the same black alienation from Americana today, which is weaker in some segments and even stronger in others.

Because many clerics ministering in prison are not merely alienated from America themselves, but militantly so, those on a path of religious discovery are as vulnerable to being misguided as teenagers in a madrassa.

It is no secret that radicalization after conversion to Islam is a huge problem in prisons in the West, including the United States. Part of the problem is the willingness of jails and prisons to employ and to provide access to clerics who are radicalized. Allowing access of radicalized rejectionists to people who are disaffected, vulnerable, and under control of the state is a dereliction of the “corrections” and “rehabilitation” role of incarceration. See also: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/02/19/michael-welner-omar-khadr-and-the-jihadism-that-lurks-in-our-prisons/

This is only part of the problem, however. In some facilities, the reverse occurs –  imams who are invested in America are forced out by senior and dominant prisoners who prefer their Islam with a heavy dose of rage.

But Islam is also a sanctuary against native pressures of prison to enlist in gangs. The gangs are organized around predatory and criminal goals, and pressure others to choose allegiances. Muslims in prison, however, have achieved enough of a critical mass, and a willingness to be violent if bothered, that even the worst of gangs do not mess with them. A person might be advantaged with this protection as a lesser sacrifice than to opt for gang membership.

Still others may identify themselves as Muslim to avoid certain responsibilities, target their housing, to secure certain schedules, or even to get access to a preferred diet. Folks inside are just trying to work the angles, and if that meant identifying themselves as Baha’i, they understandably would.

Christianity is still the dominant religion in prison custody. It does not forcefully engage the criminal mindset in a way that organizes behavior in a pro-social way. Nor does it have the intimidating bearing that Islam can muster in prisons. So it loses ground. For some people, Jesus loves you and Jesus forgives is not enough, especially to those who have no conscience to care to be forgiven.

There is tremendous potential for prison ministries of all faith in prison. But charismatic influence is particularly vital to penetrate the mindset of criminal deviance. Why? Because a person who answers to no one and knows no greater power than himself and no greater need than his own will only grow from respect for a higher power. Charismatic ministry, whatever the faith, can penetrate that self-absorption.

In that regard, religion can be the opiate of the prison masses. Like any drug, however, it can be misused by the dealer and by the user. That is the nexus of the Islam-prison dilemma in America and indeed prisons around the world today.

Gordon:  There have been several cases by Oklahoma Correctional system Muslim plaintiffs requesting access to halal foods brought under the Federal Religious Land Use and Incarcerated Persons Act of 2000 that were generally found in favor of prisoners. Do you consider those legal victories at both lower and appellate court levels empowering radical Muslim prison conversions in Oklahoma and elsewhere?

Welner:  I don’t consider these lawsuits relevant to conversions at all. Prisoners brings suits for all kinds of reasons and other prisoners know this. Some prisoners bring lawsuits to keep themselves mentally occupied, others to be as much of an annoyance to the state as can be. Anyone incarcerated would understandably bring a lawsuit to secure halal foods in prison, simply to curry favor with other Muslim prisoners.

It is true that being devout has been demonstrated in Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels’ research to be associated with rejectionist alienation and criminal recidivism among young Danish Muslim prisoners. However, there is no evidence that availability of halal food engenders radicalism, any more than lack of availability.

Gordon:  You have provided prosecution testimony in a GITMO military tribunal regarding Canadian Afghan, former al Qaeda teen age fighter, Omar Khadr. What were your evaluation of terrorists like Khadr and the likelihood of their recidivism following so-called re-education programs and release from incarceration?

Welner:  Success is dependent upon the quality of the re-educating imam. He has to be forceful enough and has to have street credibility. In this regard, former radicals hold potential, so long as they are not essentially double agents.

Aside from that, a personal support system that rejects radicalism is helpful. So do probation conditions that allow for re-incarceration in order to disincentivize radical activity. Becoming materially invested in integration into general and secular society, such as vocationally, is helpful. So is developing one’s own family with all the responsibilities of a parent, among other things.

Not surprisingly, these elements often contribute to decline in criminal recidivism in general.

Gordon:  What were the attitudes towards Western host countries that you found based on third party research of incarcerated Muslim criminals?

Welner:  Research of the Guantanamo detainees demonstrated that those with greater exposure to the West, including those educated at Western universities, are more hostile to the West.

This speaks to how American universities fail to take responsibility to an active allegiance to the American brand that subsidizes public and private institutions. Freedom is not free, and freedom that is not defended by more than just the United States military is destined to be eroded.

Gordon:  Why have the social media messages of ISIS resonated with foreign Muslim recruits to its cause both here and elsewhere in the West?

Welner:  Because they are designed to. Social media has no purpose for any organization other than promotional. Social media is the vector to the young, by the young, and that is exactly the space that ISIS is occupying right now.

ISIS knows its audience, knows its constituency, knows what they want to see and knows what they will be responsive to. Most importantly, what ISIS wants (crash-test dummies, support staff, stage props, and those to defend the cause until the United Nations defends them more formally) is responsive to agitprop, which resonates with the young and the restless. Whereas professors on American campuses can fill idealistic minds with propagandist drivel, social media likewise captures the same vulnerable demographic on their down time.

When young Muslims from the United States join ISIS, it represents a failure on the part of our government to convey the extent, breadth, and depth of America’s contributions to the Muslim world. That message was marginalized by the short-sighted and self-interested political class because it means more to them to demonize George Bush than it does to aid the United States to defeat Islamism and tyranny of Arab leaders toward their own people. This is an utter failure of the State Department and Department of Education to represent our overseas interests domestically. It is also a tragic failure of the Obama Administration to use the public relations monolith they created, with far more effective social media tentacles than ISIS could ever have, to advance the global appreciation of America’s goodness.

What would be credible and appropriate would be to underscore how many American lives under both Bush and Obama, be they soldiers or contractors, have sacrificed to free the Arab world and create opportunity and institutions. Then, the young and restless Arabs and Muslims would be enlisting in the U.S. Military to defend those advances from being rolled back by ISIS attack. Consider the attitude of Europeans who fondly recall America for the war we fought on their soil, in thousands of graves in cemeteries across the pond marking those sacrificed to rid them of tyranny that crushed their freedoms as well.

Our nation did an exceptional job of making this message clear with Gulf War I and the war in Kuwait. No Kuwaiti-American, for example, would ever think to fight for Saddam Hussein in Gulf War II, given that legacy. Why, then, when the United States has rebuilt Iraq and stabilized it for a long period, lavished resources on Jordan, politically opposed the regime of Bashar Assad, lavished foreign aid on Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and Gaza, and propped up the Palestinian Authority, is the legacy of the United States reduced to our apology after apology? Until this changes, seditious anti-American elements here will only gain motivation and momentum.

Defeating ISIS’ influence on American minds comes from making it clear how much the United States has done for the Muslim world. Conveying the message the other way around only reinforces the sense of entitlement nurtured by ISIS to destroy America and the West.

If the Obama media-promotional complex could deploy every single American superstar of film and sport to sell Obamacare, they could figure out a way to bring rightful national loyalty among Somalis and Syrians alike to the American brand that elected Obama in the first place.

Gordon:  What can correctional systems do to screen materials to prevent radicalization of federal and state inmates?

Welner:  Correctional institutions have the necessary apparatus to screen communications and contraband. The risk, however, does not derive from materials. It derives from inmates who identify with violence and who are deeply alienated, who are then further alienated by the influences they encounter in prison, including religious figures they look up to. Imams do not have to direct them to go out and kill. Those who are implicated in violence against innocent people who gave them no provocation are inspired to destructiveness and adopt Muslim grievances as a pretext to ghoulish murder and enslavement.

If correctional officials work collaboratively with a clear-eyed Department of Homeland Security, they can collaboratively stifle the seeding of radicalism in the same way that gangs are regulated behind bars. Obviously, there has to be a zero tolerance policy for imams who reinforce alienation from America and our pluralistic way of life. They can and should be fired in the same way that drug toting corrections officers are kept out of prison. Surely there are enough moderate elements to staff our prison with imams who provide pacifist and pluralistic guidance. And if American Islam does not have such talent, cultivating institutions that produce such talent should be where federal grants and Qatari money are going, rather than to meaningless conferences in which sycophants congratulate each other for sitting down for dinner together. The problem is not with America – it is already a nation of exemplary tolerance and as it relates to Islamists in America, forbearance.

It is easy enough to identify the most pernicious influences behind bars. They can be isolated from influence in the same way that gang leaders are. Correctional policy in America has to engage Islamist radicalization in the same way it successfully deals with gang infrastructure, especially that which has one foot behind bars and a support system outside.

Feckless leadership in European prisons has demonstrated what happens when these challenges are not handled proactively. In numerous Western countries, Great Britain being an example, radical Muslim inmates run the prisons. There is no will to influence the creeping sepsis into the submissive England, which is reduced to becoming a police state with cameras on every corner, haplessly watching its slow but defiant transformation in plain sight. Europe teaches us how life in our prisons, and how we handle homeland security inside prisons, are a window to the direction in which public safety is headed.

Gordon:  Thank you Dr. Welner for highly informative interview.

Welner:  My pleasure.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.

Critics were right about Obama’s incompetence

During the past six years, some Republicans and conservatives have described President Obama and his administration as totally incompetent. I have harshly criticized those who would use such incendiary language because it showed total disrespect for the office of the presidency. Though I still think this language is totally inappropriate, I have come to agree with the point they were trying to make: this administration is in way over its head. Obama and his team constantly lie to the American people (IRS, Benghazi, illegal immigration), they put the interests of others before the interests of Americans, and they are obsessed with the notion of being “liked.”

Two weeks ago, President Obama told us that he “intends to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) without putting American boots on the ground.” Everyone who follows politics and foreign policy knew Obama was lying. This is what his former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, had to say, “There will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy… I think that by continuing to repeat that [there will be no boots on the ground], the president in effect traps himself.”

Obama refuses to admit the obvious simply because of the upcoming mid-term elections. His liberal base would defect en masse from Democratic candidates all across the country if he actually told the truth.

Then again, this is the same president who has constantly lied to those in the country illegally about giving them amnesty by executive fiat. He has now promised to do it after the elections in November. Remember, one of the main tenants of liberalism is “intent.” Obama will argue that he didn’t “intend” to put boots on the ground, but circumstances on the ground changed. He “intended” to give illegals amnesty, but if Republicans take over the senate, he can’t.

As a U.S. Senator and a candidate for president in 2008, Obama was a very harsh critic of Bush’s war in Iraq. Yet, in six years as president, he has continued the Bush doctrine in foreign policy (attempting to spread “democracy” around the world).

According to the London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), “Since becoming president in 2009, Obama has launched over 330 drone attacks in Pakistan alone; Bush only launched 51 in four years.” When you add in Yemen and Somalia, according to this same report, the total jumps to 390 drone attacks and have killed more than 2,400 people (273 of whom were innocent civilians).

Many Democrats called for Bush to be tried as a murderer and a war criminal. So what does that make Obama?

This administration thinks that everyone is “entitled” to be in the U.S., whether they entered legally or not. They are providing five-star accommodations for illegals, while American citizens are increasingly homeless, more likely to be unemployed, and less educated.

In essence, Obama and his administration actually think he was elected to be president of the world. They think they and we Americans should be willing to sacrifice our own standard of living to provide relief to those around the world who are less fortunate than us. Not even Jimmy Carter displayed this level of arrogance and disdain toward his own country and its people.

We are not responsible for the problems of the world. How do you justify allowing illegals into the country under the guise that “they are just looking for a better life in America” when Americans are looking for the same thing – in their own country?

In the 1980s, Cuba unlocked its jails and dumped the worst of their worst into the U.S., which led to the drug cartels wreaking havoc in Miami. Now we are allowing the most unskilled illegals to enter into our country from Central America and wreak havoc on the inner cities as well as the suburbs.

As president of the world, Obama really believes that we should have no borders, even if it jeopardizes our national security. Our intelligence community has already publicly and privately admitted that terrorist from the Middle East have already entered into the U.S. from Mexico.

Obama really thinks the sheer strength of his magnetic personality will get Iran to give up its nuclear program, get Putin to return U.S. traitor Edward Snowden to the U.S. and cause Bashar al-Assad to leave the presidency of Syria.

In trying so hard to be liked, world leaders don’t fear or respect him. As Niccolò Machiavelli said, “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

Obama is neither.

The War against ISIS, Syrian Opposition and Middle East Christians: A Discussion with M. Zuhdi Jasser, Walid Phares, John Hajjar

President Obama’s eve of 9/11 speech in which he declared “war” on the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, contained a commitment to arm and support so-called moderate Syrian opposition to assist in “degrading and ultimately destroying” the Salafist Jihadist self-declared Caliphate. That commitment Obama made clear did not include any a commitment to put US “boots on the ground.” Instead his plan relies on air attacks, training and support of Iraqi military forces, Kurdish peshmerga and Free Syrian Army contingents.

Watch the President’s national televised address outlining his ISIS strategy:

coalition of 10 regional Sunni countries are considering joining, although in what capacity is unclear. Turkey, a major NATO member rejected participation. During a US Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on September 16th Chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Defense Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented testimony on plans for combating ISIS. Dempsey didn’t rule out  prospects that US troops might be engaged in combat roles against ISIS under, what White House press spokesman Josh Earnest called ”hypothetical conditions.” In response to the President’s request, The House of Representatives on September 17th passed a measure approving the President’s plan to train, arm and equip the Syrian Opposition by a vote of 256 to 153.

President Obama may have been referring to the Free Syrian Army. But which Free Syrian Army (FSA)? One group is the Free Syrian Army, with a Supreme Military Command in Erdogan’s Ankara that purportedly sold American Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were barbarously murdered by ISIS. Those graphic beheadings deliberately conveyed on videos aroused American public opinion demanding action that prompted Obama’s televised address to the nation.

Dramatically, one leader of the “moderate” Syrian opposition Dr. Kamal al-Labwani, a veteran Syrian secular opponent of the Assad regime living in exile in Sweden, surfaced in Israel coincidental with President’s ISIS strategy speech, at the annual International Counter Terrorism (ICT) Conference in Herzliya. Labwani’s attendance at the ICT conference may reflect the outreach by the other FSA led by the Syrian Opposition Coalition headquartered near embattled Aleppo composed of ex-Assad military including Alawites, Christians and Sunni tribal leaders currently battling ISIS inside Syria. Ilana Freedman estimates through her sources that there could be as many as 50,000 Syrian opposition fighters in this “other FSA.”

Perhaps, Dr. Labwani’s visit to the ICT conference in Israel may have also discussed possible mutual interests regarding covert support of the FSA military command and indigenous Sunni tribes’ opposition to ISIS and the Assad regime. If the case, one can only hope that might include linking up with Syrian Kurdish resistance forces, despite earlier differences.

While these positive efforts were going on in support of secular democratic opposition in Syria against both the Assad regime and ISIS, an event occurred at a gala in Washington on the evening of 9/11 sponsored by a new group, In Defense of Christians. The disruption during a speech by US Texas Sen. Ted Cruz indicated the extent of infiltration in America by a cabal composed of Middle East Christian Clerics and wealthy elites beholden to the Shiite nexus of the Islamic regime in Tehran, and Assad in Damascus. John Hajjar of Middle East Christians in America (MECHRIC) had warned of this cabal in a series of articles prior to the 9/11/14 evening event in Washington.

Hajjar’s warning was crystallized by the disruption of a speech by Texas US Senator, Ted Cruz, who was booed off the stage by some in the audience when he said “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.” He strode off the stage saying: “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, Then I will not stand with you. Good night and God bless.”

Watch this You Tube video of Sen. Cruz’s speech disrupted by audience hecklers at the In Defense of Christian gala:

During the day on 9/11/2014, five Middle East clerics, who attended the In Defense of Christian evening gala, went to the Obama White House for discussions about the status of Middle East Christians.

Against this background, the Lisa Benson Radio Show with Zuhdi Jasser and this writer as co-host held a discussion on these issues with Walid Phares and John Hajjar.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser

M. Zuhdi Jasser:  Welcome America to the broadcast of the Lisa Benson Show.  The only show on Salem Radio Network solely dedicated to protecting the American homeland, the West and its closest ally Israel. Week after week the Lisa Benson Radio Show on National Security Matters provides accurate, measured and intelligent information. My name is Zuhdi Jasser. I am the President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy dedicated to fighting on the frontlines in the war against political Islam, Islamism and the war of ideas, I call the battle for the soul of Islam. I am proud to be sitting in for Lisa and I am joined by my co-host and good friend Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast. Today we have a jam packed show.

Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon:  This is going to be an extraordinary program. Interesting that this week has been packed with commemoration of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 with events all over this country. As a witness to 9/11, I know what the feeling was like on that day when those towers in lower Manhattan fell with thousands killed across this country also in Washington and in Shanksville. We published an interview with a 9/11 survivor in the New English Review, Ms. Deborah Weiss, formerly a lawyer in New York in which she told her harrowing tale of living next door, trying to get to work in a building adjacent to the twin towers and being displaced for well over a year. She became interested in what caused 9/11; conducted her own self study, moved to Washington and became an effective advocate against political Islam. That is an important bridge for many of us in this country.

Jasser:  This is so important as we get further from 9/11 and many people say well maybe we shouldn’t be as obsessed about it. Yet the Middle East has changed immensely to the worse in many ways as there was the hope for freedom, an Arab awakening which has turned into an Islamist movement to fill the vacuum. The sad thing is we talk to students now beginning junior high and others were not alive on 9/11 and see interviews  with some in college that barely have any idea what happened on 9/11; it’s frightening. Yet you wonder why our policy seems to be more like 9-10-01 rather than where they should be today in a world that is more threatening than ever. We have Muslims serving in ISIS in the thousands; more than ever have been radicalized in the past year alone. So when you look at national security from the domestic or global front the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 really hits home for the need to remind Americans as we do every year about the threat that continues.

Gordon:  That’s correct. In a presentation I gave early in September, I asked one of those millenials, an eighteen year old in the audience, if he knew what 9/11 all about and the answer was he didn’t. At the end of the session he said he was grateful for our discussion about the entire event, the background and the rise of Islamism currently in this world. We have a situation before us that we believe may be more dangerous in some respects than what we had, as you pointed out, just prior to 9/11. We were ignorant. We are supposed to be knowledgable about it currently but the answer is we are really not. We do not understand how a group as barbaric as ISIS could arise so rapidly now estimated by the CIA at well over thirty-one thousand adherents. They are flocking to this self-declared caliphate stretching across both Syria and Iraq nearly the size of the country of Belgium.

Jasser:  As the American public starts to see all of the different fronts, it becomes overwhelming. We have seen both from the left and from the right moves towards more non-interventionism or more appropriately  neo-isolationalism. We are just sort of war weary and it has become more of a political issue than one of security. As we try to awaken Americans to the threat complex as it is from the Taliban to the Brotherhood to Al Qaeda to ISIS to more of the Arabists with the Assads and the Mubaraks who are now the el-Sisi, I think the problem is simple. It is about the surge of an ideology filling the vacuum left by departing dictatorship,  Islamism. It is the new cold war and the President’s speech this week hopefully we’ll address in the next hour not only 9/11 and what we are reminded of but what the President’s strategy is against ISIS. What is this coalition he is building and what is the future for American security abroad in the Middle East, North Africa and also domestically. Towards the end of the hour we are going to talk about a conference in Washington called In Defense of Christians which was portrayed as a conference to defend minority Christian rights. However,  as we saw what happened  to Senator Cruz we’ll talk about that in the last segment.

Gordon:  Ironically I consider this program to be a continuation of the discussion that we had with Sherko Abbas, the Syrian Kurdish leader at the end of July. It deals with the nexus of the Shia Crescent in that region between the Islamic regime in Teheran, the former Maliki government in Iraq and, of course, Assad in Syria. All of whom were fairly active in creating the space for the mushrooming of ISIS.

Jasser:  There is no doubt and that is the untold story. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist movement globally thrive off of anti-Westernism and sectarianism throughout the Middle East. We see the Assad regime portraying itself as the only answer to ISIS. Meanwhile it has left ISIS alone. Our guest is Walid Phares who has just finished a BBC interview. He is a Fox News Middle East and Terrorism Analyst and author of The Lost Spring, U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid. He has served as an advisor to the anti-terrorism caucus in the U.S. House since 2007 and co-Secretary General for the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism. Later we will also be joined by John Hajjar who is an Executive Committee Member of the Middle East Christian Committee or MECHRIC. What do you think about the President’s speech?  What is his short term military strategy? What does winning mean in that context?

Gordon:  There are four or five points. Let’s deal with the military aspect as against the so-called doctrinal aspect of his speech. The President was talking about an expansion of so-called systematic air attacks in both Syria and Iraq. That may be problematic if the Assad regime is going to start knocking down “coalition aircraft.” He’s also talking about an increase in support of forces on the ground in Iraq providing some assistance and training. One has to question that given the flight of the Iraqi Army from Mosul that really caused a massive humanitarian crisis with the Yazidi minority and certainly the Christians. I know that Dr. Phares is intimately familiar with that. Then the question is military assistance to what kind of Syrian opposition? The public is confused about what appears to be two kinds of Free Syrian Armies. One which unfortunately is fairly Islamist that sold American Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff to ISIS resulting in their barbaric murders. The question is really what is an effective opposition that is secular and democratic in Syria? We may what happened in Iraq during the first Gulf War, creation of a no-fly zone.

Jasser:  Walid, I gave our listeners your background. You and I have crossed paths many times not only on Fox but also before the Arab Spring as your book calls it The Lost Spring. Walid, what would be winning in this context?

Walid Phares

Walid Phares:  Thank you so much for having me gentlemen. It’s always a pleasure to be with both of you. Over the years I have been promoting democracy and moderation in the Middle East; however, let me address what would victory be? The Administration’s stance on victory is that ISIS will be bombed, degraded and eventually eliminated. The projection by the Administration would be that in Iraq, the Iraqi Army, the Kurds and eventually some Sunni tribes will terminate ISIS on the ground while the bombing is happening from the air. A more complicated victory would be that ISIS would be weakened to a point whereby, the moderate segment of the opposition will actually seize the position of ISIS but not the regime. That would be the view of the Administration.

Jasser:  Walid, on the conversation about Syria I can’t tell you how confused and disarmed America is in trying to figure out who the good folks are. As a Syrian American I’ll tell you one of the most offensive things I heard the President trying to tell me as a Muslim what’s Islamic and what is not. He was trying to tell us that the good guys are the pharmacists, the farmers and the doctors and they are not warriors. It mocked what the future of Syria is and who started the revolution. Here you have the leader of the free world mocking them so how can Americans get their heads or their arms around really who the good folks are other than seeing ISIS, radicalization and really no leadership. Can you walk us through how we can look at what parts of the Free Syrian Army can be supported and would be an option to both the evils of Assad and ISIS?

Phares:  This is the hardest subject and discussion in Congress, Washington and in Europe; how to determine who the moderate is or who is the non-Jihadist in the Syrian opposition? Unfortunately we missed the train. We missed the bus since 2011 and it has been part of these discussions here in DC. When the so-called Arab Spring, began in March 2011 the first stage lasted until about September/October. What did we see on our TV screen? We saw thousands and thousands of young civil society people. Now the Administration talks about professions like dentists and doctors and it doesn’t go by profession. It goes by who is more secular in civil society, the anti-Ba’athists on the one hand and anti-Jihadists on the other hand.

That was the reality for the first few months and it was very intense. We saw it on You Tube. What happened was we stayed inactive in Syria, as we became inactive in Libya. We did not identify and recognize the popular forces in Syria. Assad forces started firing on the crowds killing many people. Who was going to fill in the streets? Those who wanted to fight. There were a minority in the beginning so instead of seeing tens of thousands of people on You Tube now we were is seeing dozens of fighters. So the fighters’ political affiliation is different from the popular demonstrators and quickly the fighters reflected what was there in Syria before. You had the Muslim Brotherhood, the offshoot of the Kurds in the North, every single faction which was in opposition and armed. There were the ones that started the military uprising. In 2012 and 2013 after the militarization there was an Islamization of part of the opposition. The FSA was originally a collection of officers and sergeants and soldiers of the Assad Syrian Arab Army. They broke away formed the FSA and fought back against the regime. Later on there were many forces that took the name and the flag of the FSA but were Jihadists. You have lawmakers and foundations here in DC who would look at the Jihadists and see a badge of FSA, then they concluded all of the FSA is bad. Then the other side who are real FSA and said no. They are good. So that’s where the confusion is coming from.

Jasser:  The way it has been portrayed is as a civil war. We don’t know how it’s going to come out. In the absence of American influence, you have a regional conflict that has on the one side Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and Assad. On the other side, the Sunni Militants from Saudi Arabia fueled by Gulf States, Qatar, and Muslim Brotherhood influence. Thus you have the evolution of what you currently see which is radical Jihadists versus radical Shiites, so called secularists fueled by Iran. That’s why in the West, the more liberal groups have been marginalized. It is because it’s not a civil war but rather a regional conflict that America’s been missing. Do you agree with that Walid?

Phares:  I do agree and let me be more precise to help listeners better understand what’s on the ground. In my perspective, the civil society (the one that I want to collaborate or work with) is not active. We can’t reach them. The forces on the ground are not just two. There are not two camps there are at least three. You have the regime as you just mentioned, the regime of Assad has Iran as an ally which has inserted the Iranian Revolutionary Guard omni presence in Syria. Iran has the equivalent of several divisions in Syria. Everybody knows Hezbollah is inside Syria fighting with the special forces of Iran and Syria. Third  you have Iraqi Shia Militia an ally of Iran fighting with us. The other camp which has grown very large are all of the Jihadists. They are Jabhat Al Nusra or ISIS which is a giant in the Jihadi camp and of course other small Islamist groups, followers of the Muslim Brotherhood. But you still have a third camp that you know people cannot see the FSA/ secular opposition on the one hand and the Jihadists on the other one.

Jasser:  I couldn’t agree more and I would say that those are the future of Syria; I believe it’s a majority. They are losing the infrastructure and their will because they are pounded by barrel bombs on the one hand and Islamists under draconian Sharia law in various cities on the other; so they find themselves lost. Unfortunately the rise of the Islamist ideology has been encountered because we haven’t had a West with the intestinal fortitude to take on this ideology. Instead the President has just been marginalizing that discussion. If he truly empowered the anti-Islamists that would naturally bring to the forefront in the Free Syrian Army the ones who we would want to support. What do you think the strategy should be? We have the President, the commander in Chief and on the one hand conservatives who say wait until 2016. Can Syria wait that long?

Phares:  What the Administration is trying to do without being vocal or clear about it, they want to fund the moderates in the Syria opposition and arm and equip them. When you follow the details of who the Administration is trying to reach to inside Syria you would find that it’s true. They are marginalizing ISIS. They are not really of course dealing with Al Nusra which is an armed Al Qaeda terrorist group but they are not going to the secular side. They are actually dealing with what they call moderate Islamists, the military force of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. That is not well explained to the American public. The choice that we would like to see America go with in Syria is not the Muslim Brotherhood just because they are against the ISIS. We really want to go back to those secular officers and soldiers and regular people who can connect better with civil society. That has not been done at this point in time.

Jasser:  As we look at the solution obviously it has to start with destroying ISIS and its command and control in Northeastern Syria and Raqqa and then begin to evolve strategy out of that.

I can tell you as the son of Sunni Muslims who escaped Syria that one of the arguments we have been making against the Assad regime is that the diversity of Syria was its greatest asset. As long as these countries are diverse it forces them to be pluralistic and work towards democracy. What should America’s, approach be to protecting minorities across Iraq and Syria. We saw the Yazidis are being slaughtered, Christian populations are evacuating the Middle East which is where their roots and origins are. What do you think, how should that be approached?

Gordon:  To Walid’s credit he’s actually floated some suggestions. those involve pushing back at the margin the areas that in Iraq where ISIS had taken over and providing a protective force for the re-entry of those minorities whether they are Yazidis or Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Christians in Iraq  to their ancestral villages on the Biblical plains of Nineveh. That’s one aspect of it. The other aspect is taking a leaf out of comments that were made by a prominent Syrian opposition leader Kamal Al-Labwani in Herzliya, Israel this past week. He was there attending the International Counter Terrorism Conference sponsored by the IDC. He floated the creation of a no-fly zone which worked rather effectively for the Kurdish minority in the Northeast of Iraq during the first Gulf War and led to the establishment of the Kurdish Regional government. The same thing could also be done in the context of areas in Syria where according to my colleague Ilana Freedman, there are potentially about fifty thousand opposition forces that Walid and others might consider as being “moderate and secular” in that regard. They need the support of the US and in particular the West. If you put that together you have the emergence of an effective strategy to at least secure these minorities from engaging in complete flight to their Diasporas.

Jasser:  I can’t tell you how important that is. Because what is different from Iraq when we went in 2003 is that you have a growing movement on the ground in Syria to topple the Assad regime and also confront ISIS.  Walid, what are some points you think we should know about protecting minorities in the Middle East?

Phares:  I was amazed at what Jerry had said and he covered it very well. Let me just say that Syria has a majority of Sunnis and then the rest are ethnic minorities. Now these ethnic minorities are backing the Assad regime, the Alawites and some part of the Christians mostly in the South, and reluctantly some of the Druze. You have the other minorities not very happy with this failing regime from long time ago that includes the Kurds, part of the Christians and part of the Druze. It is very important to have two strategies and I would strongly recommend to the administration to have two strategies in Syria. One for the Sunni majority, another for the minorities to form the opposition. The lead opposition would be moderate and those involved should be the FSA, Human Rights Organizations and NGO’s. That would completely sideline the Jihadists. It is a crucial matter. For the minorities, Jerry was right. You have the triangle in the Northeast where you have a Kurdish majority in area with some Christians, they should be dealt with as the Kurds and the Christians of Northern Iraq are dealt with. A no-fly zone to begin with and supporting them. Also there Sunni tribes also opposed to the Assad regime and Iran that needs to be to part of the plan in Washington.

Jasser:  The soul in the Middle East is its minorities, its Christians and Yazidis. They have to be protected and you were focusing on Syria because ultimately that spawned ISIS. To protect the minorities we have to have a strategy.

We wanted to spend this last segment talking about a conference in Washington that occurred September 9 to 11, 2014 called In Defense of Christians. It’s a start-up organization that has a very laudable goal which is to highlight the plight of Christians as we have seen at the hands of ISIS; the genocide that was impending against groups like the Yazidis and the Christians. However, many of us were concerned about some of the aspects of this conference not only Walid but John Hajjar who is an executive committee member of the Middle East Christian Committee or MECHRIC. He started to raise the alarms that CAMERA reported on some concerns about this organization. I have invited John on to tell us about these concerns were before this conference occurred. The conference highlighted members of its board included John Ashcroft, it had speakers to include Senator Cruz, and a number of other conservatives who were involved in this conference. We wanted to take this as a teaching moment for some of the pitfalls or landmines that exist in dealing with this topic. John, welcome to the program.

John Hajjar:  Thanks, it’s really great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Jasser:  Walk us through what lead to this conference and what the concerns were before it ever began.

Hajjar:  It is a laudable goal because right now Christians are being persecuted in large numbers along with other non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East and moderate Muslims, as well. This has now become an existential issue especially in Iraq and Syria where a Christian community was uprooted from you know, the city of Mosul where they have ancient roots going back over six thousand years. In light of these current events this group, In Defense of Christians called a conference. There were many good people involved with the organization, well intentioned who generally are concerned about religious persecution, persecution of the Christians. However, there were some questionable characters involved as well in such a well funded event. They sprang from nowhere it definitely raised concerns among us involved in human rights for years. When we dug a little deeper we found the name of Gilbert Chagoury who is a questionable Lebanese Nigerian businessman in Nigeria and others. We saw distinct ties to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. That gave rise to more questions and the more we dug the more suspicious we became.

Jasser:  It really feeds into the concern about common enemies such as Iran and other regimes. If we narrow the focus too much which is why I have always been when you testify before Congress you have to maintain what is the vision for the Middle East. It is about freedom and democracy which prevents alliances with governments like Iran. If you look at the website for In Defense of Christians that Dexter Van Zile reported at CAMERA, it was odd how that their website mentioned almost nothing, if anything about Iran, about Hezbollah and about Assad. Those countries are used to taking hits on freedom and democracy and criticism because they have nothing to lose. We don’t give them any aid. But, there is nothing about regime change and somehow they tied the future of the Christian minorities to Assad which is not a policy.

Hajjar:  If you look at where all the leaders of these Eastern rites churches are from, the Maronites in Beirut, the Malachite church which has a patriarchal seat in Damascus, and then the Assyrian and Chaldean Christians in different areas in Iraq, you’ll note the common denominator they are all Iranian controlled capitols. The Iranians are very strategic in their thinking. Actually they are a lot more calculating in the way they go about things than  the Shiite fundamentalist groups would be or the Sunni fundamentalist side as manifest by ISIS. Everybody knows now about these beheadings being carried out by ISIS and we all agree that it is a great evil and a great threat. However, when it comes to the Iranian/Syrian axis they are portraying themselves as the saviors of the Christians. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians in the Middle East who bought into that lie and they think that the greater evil right now is ISIS. They are presenting the most pressing problem. They forget the history of Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Lebanon and what they have  done killing hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and now two hundred thousand Syrian dead. Those are not the people that the Christian leaders and any Christian can stand by over the long term.

Jasser:  It is very easy for Iran to defend the rights of Christians in Syria. That doesn’t do it when it comes Iran where you have pastors and others who are imprisoned, house churches are shut down, they are hung and the apostates are killed. They do it as a tool for their end. I think one the other side of the coin of Islamism is Arabism. We saw one of the other names behind this conference was Jamal Daniel, who was a long time friend of the Bush family. Many of us who are Syrians know that his family has a large pedigree with the Ba’athists in support of the Assad regime. Ultimately you will find very little on his new so-called liberal website Al-Monitor, there is very little criticism of Assad and nothing about regime change in Syria.

Hajjar:  Same goes for Jim Zogby the head of the Arab American Institute. He has been the Arabist cause for decades. Now all of a sudden he’s had a revelation like St. Paul on the road to Damascus. He is so concerned with the Christians in the Middle East when he has shown no interest whatsoever in the plight of Christianity in the place of his birth for decades. You may call into question what his real motivation is.

Jasser:  The Arabists have long been using the lobby of the Islamists out of Saudi or the Gulf, notwithstanding  the plight of Christians, to basically focus on their primary demagoguery which is anti-Israel, anti-Zionism and anti-Western belief.

Hajjar:  If you look at raw numbers the only place in the Middle East where Christianity is stabilized and in fact growing is in Israel proper among the Palestinian Christians. Every other country in the Middle East with historic Christian populations, the indigenous people from the Copts in Egypt, to Maronites, Malachites, and Syriacs in Syria and Assyrian Chaldeans in Iraq, their numbers are declining precipitously. Forty percent of the population a hundred years ago down to less than four percent today.

Jasser:  And their future is not with dictatorships even though their primary enemy is Islamist.

Phares:  What is Iran really trying to do with the minorities’ game? This is not something new. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the Iranian regime, the Syrian regime and their allies Hezbollah in Lebanon and the allies in Iraq, especially after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, have built a huge network of interests, financial interests. You have elites in Baghdad, you have elites in Damascus, you have elites in Lebanon, all tied through economic interests backed by the Iranian regime. What the game is about here is Iran trying to use elites, including the Christian minorities. The Iranians are trying to use these Christian minorities led by these specific elites as their vassals. These are the satrapies of the Iranians who come to the United States and tell them look, the Christians and the Yazidis want Assad and want Maliki and whoever comes after him with Iran as their protector. These elites hope that when the markets open in Iran if the Iranian U.S. relationship is stabilized they would be the first one to move in. So there is a lot of financial economic interest in this game.

Jasser:  The dictators are putting in a lot of money into the lobbies, their own lobbies in Washington and we need to look for transparency in these gatherings and if they are not talking about regime change from genocidal governments like Syria then you have to start to wonder what’s really behind it. Thank you so much for giving us an opportunity to talk about the tough issues. Thank you, John Hajjar, Walid Phares, Jerry Gordon and all of you for joining us on this broadcast of the Lisa Benson Radio Show. Zuhdi Jasser here from the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. God bless.

Listen to the September 14, 2014 Lisa Benson Show with M. Zuhdi Jasser, Walid Phares, John Hajjar and this writer.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.

Kimberly talks violent crime and her right to self-defense

Kimberly Weeks is a survivor of violent crime. As a college student she was brutally attacked in her apartment. Kimberly was overpowered and defenseless against her attacker. After her horrific experience, Kimberly got her concealed carry permit for self defense.

When Kimberly was assaulted she had to plead with her attacker to spare her life during her harrowing ordeal. Later on when she testified before the Colorado legislature, she pled with lawmakers, who were considering legislation to ban concealed carry on college campuses, not to strip her of the right to carry on her college campus. She didn’t want to be left defenseless again.

Kimberly is now standing up to Michael Bloomberg and his gun control efforts. Listen to her call Michael Bloomberg out on his hypocrisy and say, “Mr. Bloomberg you do not have the right to tell me how to defend myself.“

See more at: MeetBloomberg.com/Videos

6 Elements of ‘Extremist’ Islam That ‘Moderate’ Muslims Endorsed as They Condemned the Islamic State

At last, moderate Islam! The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Fiqh Council of North America held a press conference in Washington on Wednesday at which they announced with great fanfare that they had refuted the religious ideology of the Islamic State [see below video].

They issued this lengthy “open letter” (not, interestingly enough, a fatwa) addressed to the Islamic State’s caliph Ibrahim, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, explaining how he was misunderstanding Islam. The international media is, predictably, thrilled, but unfortunately, and not surprisingly, there is less to it than meets the eye. In fact, the “moderates” who signed on to this open letter have ended up endorsing elements of Islam that most non-Muslim Westerners consider to be “extremist.”

The fact that this is not an Islamic case against the Islamic State’s jihad terror that will move Islamic State fighters to lay down their arms, but rather a deceptive piece designed to fool gullible non-Muslim Westerners into thinking that the case for “moderate Islam” has been made, but which will not change a single jihadi’s mind, is clear from the outset from the involvement not only of Hamas-linked CAIR, but also from some of the 126 signers.

These include Professor Mustafa Abu Sway, the integral professorial chair for the Study of Imam Ghazali’s Work, Jerusalem — and a Hamas activist; Dr. Jamal Badawi, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding case; Mustafa Ceric, former grand mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who has called for Sharia in Bosnia; Professor Caner Dagli, a venomously hateful Islamic apologist at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, who traffics in Nazi imagery about “unclean” unbelievers; Ali Gomaa, former grand mufti of Egypt, who endorses wife-beating, Hizballah, and the punishment of apostates from Islam; Hamza Yusuf Hanson, founder and director of Zaytuna College, USA, who blamed the West for Muslim riots over a teddy bear named Muhammad; Ed Husain, senior fellow in Middle Eastern Studies for the Council on Foreign Relations, who recently claimed that seizing British jihadis’ passports so that they couldn’t return to the UK from the Islamic State would only create more jihadis; Muhammad Tahir Al-Qadri, founder of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International, Pakistan, who drafted Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law and issued his own disingenuous and hypocritical Fatwa Against Terrorism; and Muzammil Siddiqi, chairman of the Fiqh Council and former head of the Hamas-linked Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

Hardly a group that inspires confidence in their “moderation.”

And in the course of their very lengthy open letter, they endorse these six elements of what is usually considered to be “extremist” Islam:shutterstock_76411432

1. Jihad

“All Muslims see the great virtue in jihad,” says the open letter. It repeatedly stresses that jihad warfare is strictly defensive. “There is no such thing,” the scholars assert, “as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions. This is the position of Abu Hanifa, the Imams Malik and Ahmad and all other scholars including Ibn Taymiyyah, with the exception of some scholars of the Shafi’i school.”

The Shafi’i school is one of the four great schools of Sunni jurisprudence. If some Shafi’i scholars allow for “offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions,” can it really be said to be un-Islamic? Are the scholars pronouncing takfir on the Shafi’i school? Or just deceiving gullible non-Muslims? The answer is clear.

What’s more, restricting jihad to defensive warfare looks even worse in light of the fact that in Sunni Islamic law, only the caliph has the authority to declare offensive jihad, but defensive jihad is obligatory upon all Muslims when a Muslim land is attacked, and need not be declared by anyone. So since the caliphate was abolished in 1924 to this day (except for those who accept the Islamic State’s caliphate claim), all jihad attacks, even 9/11, have been cast by their perpetrators as defensive – hence the jihadist tendency to retail long lists of grievances when justifying their actions.

So if 9/11 was defensive jihad, and these “moderate” scholars are endorsing defensive jihad, their “moderation” should send just a bit of a chill up the spine.


2. Dhimmitude

“Regarding Arab Christians,” the scholars remind the Islamic State caliph, “you gave them three choices: jizyah (poll tax), the sword, or conversion to Islam.” Jizya is the tax specified in the Qur’an (9:29) to be levied on “the People of the Book” as a sign of their dhimmitude, their subjugation and submission to Muslim hegemony. This, the scholars say, was wrong, because “these Christians are not combatants against Islam or transgressors against it, indeed they are friends, neighbours and co-citizens. From the legal perspective of Shari’ah they all fall under ancient agreements that are around 1400 years old, and the rulings of jihad do not apply to them.”

However, then the open letter asserts that “there are two types of jizyah in Shari’ah (Islamic Law)”: the first “applies to those who fought Islam,” but the second “is levied on those who do not wage war against Islam.”

Now wait a minute. The scholars tell the caliph that the Arab Christians are friends of the Muslims, they “did not wage war against you” and thus should not have been subjugated as dhimmis. But then in the next paragraph they say that “the second type of jizyah is levied on those who do not wage war against Islam.” Thus how is the Islamic State transgressing against Islam by levying the jizya on those who did not wage war against Islam?

In any case, the “moderate” scholars are apparently fine with a religion-based poll tax, a sign of the subjugation of the religious minority, in an Islamic state. In this the authors also contradict their earlier claim that jihad is only defensive; now “those who do not wage war against Islam” are to be made to pay the jizya, which results from Muslims fighting the People of the Book: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Qur’an 9:29)

3-5. Stoning for adultery, amputation for theft, execution of apostates

Hudud refers in Islamic law to the punishments fixed by Allah himself for serious crimes, including the stoning of adulterers, the amputation of thieves’ hands, and the execution of apostates from Islam. While Islamic apologists in the U.S. routinely claim that these punishments are not really part of Sharia or Islam at all, these scholars say: “Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qur’an and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law.” Their only quibble with the Islamic State is that they have been cruel and merciless in applying these punishments.

This is telling. CAIR has led campaigns against anti-Sharia laws that depend in large part on the claim that these punishments are not part of Sharia. Now Hamas-linked CAIR has admitted otherwise. The claim that the Islamic State has not implemented them properly is just a judgment call, not a refutation of the Islamic State’s practices.

6. The Caliphate

“There is agreement (ittifaq) among scholars,” say the scholars, “that a caliphate is an obligation upon the Ummah.”

A caliphate is an obligation. That is, Muslims should strive to establish a single multinational, multiethnic empire, to which alone they owe political loyalty – in other words, they owe no loyalty to the nations in which they currently reside.

This is a notable and extremely important admission. The Islamic State is appealing to so many young Muslims in the West because of its claim to reconstitute the caliphate. Caliphates are established and sustained on the principle of Might Makes Right. If the Islamic State sustains itself and survives, more and more Muslims will pledge allegiance to it.

To be sure, Hamas-linked CAIR and the Fiqh Council and all the signers of this open letter really do oppose the Islamic State. But they don’t oppose it because it is transgressing against the commands of what they believe to be a religion of peace. They oppose it because they want to establish a caliphate under the auspices of or led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islamic State constitutes competition. This is clear from their sly endorsements in this document of jihad, the Sharia, and the concept of the caliphate. But with so many infidels so eager to be fooled, their work is easy.

EDITORS NOTE: The image illustration via Larry Bruce / Shutterstock.com

What we learned at the NYC Climate Change March

Americans for Prosperity sent a camera crew to the People’s Climate March in New York City, where thousands of people gathered to express their concerns about climate change. Watch to find out what we learned from the folks in the climate change movement.

Watch our response to President Obama’s climate change speech at the UN:

Why Floridians should Vote No on Constitutional Amendment 1

I know most of us have been very distracted over Common Core and all the arms that are attached to it, but we have a serious issue coming up on the ballot in November of which is a serious issue to every homeowner in Florida – AMENDMENT 1 Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Water & Land Conservation Amendment.

This Amendment has the potential to relieve every homeowner in the state of Florida of their own personal property.

Today I received the VOTE YES sides answer to those of us pushing for NO.  The state of Florida currently owns 28% of the Florida/Federal land which is far too much for a state to own. Not only that, Forever Florida, which had run out of money and Scott decided to replenish it, uses OUR tax dollars to buy up the land to then tell us we have no right to object to how the land is used. They under sell, under bid and if they have to use Eminent Domain to steal your property at will.

All of this falls under the United Nations Earth Charter/Sustainable Development/Agenda 21 platform. Thank you Bill Clinton! What they are doing is removing large portions of land from the tax roles which hurts the county involved. To make up their financial losses your property taxes will go up. When you no longer can afford to pay your property taxes, they will then take your land. This is the United Nations way! Not only that, the state is also in debt in this deal – using money first and worrying about where to pay it back later.

Not only are they stealing our property with our tax dollars, they are also still throwing billions of dollars down the toilet in massive road construction when the bottom line according to Agenda 21 is we are not to even have any cars to need these roads. Additionally, they are stealing what we have left in funds to force rail on the citizens for the same type of people as those getting rich off of the education of our children – Public Private Partnerships with hundreds of documents of which the general public cannot understand.

HERE is their Response Statements:

  • Amendment 1 does not create taxes now or in the future. No it doesn’t, however as stated above, the removal of the land from the county tax roles forces the counties to raise your property taxes to make up the difference. They plan to take 33% of our land.
  • Amendment 1 would dedicate one-third of EXISTING fees collected by the state when real estate is sold to protecting our waters and natural areas. Currently they are taking the funds from the General Fund (still using our money) and are intending to steal 1/3 of the fees collected when you buy or sell your property. There is no provision to cap the amount taken and it is still using our tax dollars and as with everything else, we have no say on how it is used.
  • The Financial Impact Estimating Conference – the state’s budget writers – determined that Amendment 1 would have no impact on state revenues because it imposes no new taxes. This is true for the state, but there is no mention as to your individual counties – they are the ones loosing the financial base by loosing the taxes collected by the loss of the land on their tax roles. Who is going to make up that difference – YOU! It is very nice of them to tell us this Amendment will help the state manage THEIR budget – but what about ours? Do they not have better things to be doing then creating a world of “conservation land” of which we are NOT even going to be able to use? What is our share of this crooked deal? Who are these people sitting on the Financial Impact Estimating Conference?

This is stating this Amendment will bring to the state $648 million in 2015-2016 and in 12 years increase to $1.268 billion. Do you think this money could be used in better ways such as a larger per capita amount for each child’s education and raising the salaries of our teachers – NOT ADMINISTRATION – they are being paid FAR too much – FL is Admin top heavy! It also states no local costs are involved but then they certainly are not going to tell you that they are messing with your counties tax base and eventual your tax roles will be cut so low – your taxes will go up.

Don’t forget California and how they shut their water off by having the control to do so and the farmers lost their food crops – some states are saying you can’t save rain water?  I really wonder where they got those 700,000 signatures to get this Amendment on the books and were every one of those signatures verified.

If you use Facebook, please go to “Vote No on Amendment 1” and ask your friends to also – you can all post your information and thoughts.

You might also find these links interesting:

Salaries of Elected County Constitutional Officers and School District Officials for Fiscal Year 2014-15

Revenue Estimating Conference Public Education Capital Outlay Trust Fund

Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research reports

Ayn Rand, the Movies, and the Idea of America by Laurie Rice

An Introduction to Ayn Rand’s Textbook of Americanism.

Ayn Rand’s monograph “Textbook of Americanism,” newly published on FEE.org, is virtually unknown. Written during a decisive turning point in history, it was delivered by Rand personally to FEE’s founder Leonard Read in 1946. The monograph represents Rand’s desire to draw stark lines between an emerging postwar collectivism and the individualism she believed built America. She joined others in pointing out that collectivism had wrought the horrors the world had just endured.

“Textbook of Americanism” also represents her worldview as it came to be shaped by her childhood experiences with communism, her early love of film as a means of artistic expression, and her perceptions about the future of freedom.

As a young student in Russia at the dawn of the Bolshevik takeover, at a small theater for silent films, Rand caught her first glimpse of the New York skyline. The silhouette burned in her mind, a symbol of creative passion and unbounded achievement, outlining the edges of her growing philosophy of individualism.

Beneath the epic geometry of the skyline, communist propagandists prattled on. Rand’s biographer Anne Heller explains:

Soviet government censors always added absurd subtitles to the films … turning an ordinary American family dinner scene into a portrait of greed, for example, by labeling it “A capitalist eating well on profits wrung from his starving workers.”

The image of New York fused two of the major themes in Rand’s life: the art of cinema and the concept of America.

Within a few years of her foray into American silent movies, she would enroll at the State Technicum for Screen Arts in Leningrad in 1924. The school offered free tuition to students sympathetic to Bolshevik ideology, in hopes of grooming future communist propagandists. But Rand wanted to write screenplaysattacking communism.

Realizing that such writing would lead to imprisonment or death — in purges like one that had swept her university just a few years before — she decided to emigrate. In 1926, she sailed from the Soviet Union and landed at the foot of her beloved New York skyline, with government permission to visit relatives.

Her excuse was that her cousin owned a theater in Chicago. The conditions of her permission were that she would work at the US theater for six months, then return to Russia to work on communist propaganda films. Within two years after she had left Russia, the opportunity for emigration had closed. She had made it out just in time — and perhaps saved her life.

Once in the United States, she immediately broke the terms of her visa, left Chicago, and traveled to Hollywood. There she worked as a movie extra, a junior screenwriter, and then a wardrobe department manager, while writing plays and notes for novels in her own time. She met her husband on the set of a film called The King of Kings; their marriage gained her US citizenship.

By the time Rand wrote “Textbook of Americanism” in 1946, twenty years after she arrived in New York, the world had entered into a decade of massive tectonic shifts throughout the political landscape. During the New Deal, Congress had passed the Social Security Act and set the first US minimum wage, among many other measures that had regimented economic life.

The wartime economy had inflicted New Deal recovery measures on a country still reeling from the Depression. Adolf Hitler had risen to power in Germany and created a horrific spectacle of genocide against the Jewish people. Governments had waged a war of massive carnage across Europe. The United States had suffered an attack at Pearl Harbor and then later dropped atomic bombs — weapons of previously unknown destruction — on both Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan.

In response to the chaos of World War II, government leaders had come together to form the United Nations, sparking both hopes of a lasting world peace and fears of an oppressive global government. The stage was set for crises in Berlin, the political upheaval in Greece with a communist victory, and the upcoming Cold War. The lines of nation-states had been crossed, broken, and redrawn all over the world.

It’s best to understand the mindset of Rand, other intellectuals, and much of the world population after World War II as post-traumatic. Of course, people who had experienced combat directly, such as soldiers, suffered the most severe effects. But people everywhere were struggling, sometimes dramatically, to re-establish safety and boundaries, to identify meaning in the chaotic events, and to find a course that would prevent such horrors from ever happening again.

It was during this eerie twilight of war that Rand joined the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. This organization consisted of a number of prominent conservative figures in Hollywood, including Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney, Gary Cooper, Ginger Rogers, Clark Gable, and John Wayne.

The alliance’s immediate purpose was to assemble well-known people as witnesses to a congressional investigation of the motion picture industry. The alliance’s longer-term mission was to organize the motion picture industry’s pro-freedom figures to defend their field against the ideas of communism. Movies in Hollywood at the time frequently portrayed Russia and communism sympathetically, or spread implicit communist messages within other stories.

“Textbook of Americanism” was written toward this bigger goal, with Rand calling for the values of individualism and freedom to be portrayed in her beloved movie industry. The essay appeared in a publication for the Motion Picture Alliance called The Vigil.

“Textbook of Americanism” is organized in question-and-answer format, from the most basic issues to the more complex. Rand wrote both, with questions as prompts to explain her own perceptions of what it means to be American. The essay features twelve questions; Rand planned to elaborate further, but the full project was never finished.

True to her philosophical roots, Rand used “Textbook of Americanism” to explain in the simplest terms possible what made America unique and great. She opens with an explanation of two starkly contrasting ideas.

What Is the Basic Issue in the World Today?

The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism. Individualism holds that man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken away from him by any other man, nor by any number, group or collective of other men. Therefore, each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.

Collectivism holds that man has no rights; that his work, his body and his personality belong to the group; that the group can do with him as it pleases, in any manner it pleases, for the sake of whatever it decides to be its own welfare. Therefore, each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

These two principles are the roots of two opposite social systems. The basic issue of the world today is between these two systems.

From this foundation, Rand builds her case for limiting the power of the collective, for the difference between arbitrary law and moral law, and for the meaning of rights. She summarizes the proper role of government — the smallest conceivable and essential functions — and the moral imperative not to initiate force. She clarifies that individualism and collectivism are exclusive terms, that any “mix” is a breach against individualism. Finally, she issues a warning: compromising individual rights will lead to society’s destruction.

The tensions surrounding “Textbook of Americanism” are fascinating. It is written about the United States precisely at a time when the idea of the nation-state was crumbling from its own destructive methods, giving way to modern globalization. The essay calls for radical freedom during a dark American paranoia about speech, when communists were put on trial for their beliefs. It is Rand appealing in good faith to the movie industry she loved, at a time when Hollywood was deeply entrenched with the cronyists and communists she hated. It is Rand’s passionate advocacy of ideology while many intellectuals were blaming all systematic ideology for the genocide of the Jewish people. And it enjoins and participates in a propaganda war not long before the dawn of an Internet age that would democratize media and increasingly eliminate the power of propaganda.

But in the midst of the political chaos, upheaval, and conceptual fog of the historical moment, Rand sought to explain the fundamental ideas of individualism and freedom.

Just as she had been inspired by the jagged silhouette of New York City looming in the backdrop of her favorite movies, Rand sought to provide a glimpse of the most essential issue of her time in the clearest possible outline.

“Textbook of Americanism” is available for reading at FEE.org. The original copy that Rand delivered to Leonard Read is here in PDF.

laurie rice feeABOUT LAURIE RICE

Laurie Rice is a scholar at The Atlas Society and editor of The Art of Reasoning, a logic textbook. She is the author of many articles on the topics of Ayn Rand, feminism, and technology. Her work has been featured in PoliticoSlateThe American ConservativeThe Pan Am PostThe Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and MSNBC. Her essay “The Persuasion of Nixon” is the definitive account of the Objectivist effort to end the draft after the Vietnam War. Her essay “Toward an Objectivist Feminism” will appear in an upcoming anthology by the Association of Libertarian Feminists. Contact her at LRice@atlassociety.org and follow her on Twitter at @Laurie Rice.

The Midterm Forecast: Clear Sailing for the GOP and Stormy Weather for the Democrats

WASHINGTON, PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ten seasoned election scholars offer predictions for the 2014 US midterm elections in PS: Political Science and Politics, published by Cambridge University Press for the American Political Science Association.

James Campbell, professor of political science at the University at BuffaloSUNY, and guest editor of the forecasting series, notes that “it is likely to be a good year for Republicans and a rough one for Democrats.”

The five forecasts for the House range from a 4- to 16-seat gain for the Republicans, with a median forecast of a 14-seat GOP gain. Campbell remarks, “This would be the largest Republican House majority in more than 80 years (248 Republicans to 187 Democrats).”

The Senate forecasts range from Republicans adding another 5 or 6 seats to a gain of 8 seats. With Republicans needing a 6-seat gain to control the Senate, the forecasts rate the odds of a Republican Senate takeover “between a toss-up and somewhat more likely than not,” explains Campbell.

This research will be published in the October 2014 issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, scheduled for release in early October.

The forecasting scholars include Alan Abramowitz (Emory University); Joseph Bafumi (Dartmouth College);James Campbell (University at BuffaloSUNY); Robert Erikson (Columbia University); Benjamin Highton(University of California, Davis); Michael Lewis-Beck (University of Iowa); Eric McGhee (Public Policy Institute ofCalifornia); John Sides (George Washington University); Charles Tien (Hunter College, CUNY); and Christopher Wlezien (University of Texas, Austin).

About the American Political Science Association

Founded in 1903, the American Political Science Association is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 13,000 members in more than 80 countries. With a range of programs and services for individuals, departments, and institutions, APSA brings together political scientists from all fields of inquiry, regions, and occupational endeavors within and outside academe to expand awareness and understanding of politics.