An Immigration question for you smart people in Washington, D.C.

President Obama gave a speech to law enforcement officers stating illegal aliens are here simply to better their families ignoring they created a criminal act to get here and another criminal act if they are employed and another criminal act if they are driving a car etc.

As if wanting to emphasize his point ICE released a total of 36,007 illegal aliens that were being held for mundane infractions of the law.

According to the report, the 36,007 individuals released represented nearly 88,000 convictions, including:

  • 193 homicide convictions
  • 426 sexual assault convictions
  • 303 kidnapping convictions
  • 1,075 aggravated assault convictions
  • 1,160 stolen vehicle convictions
  • 9,187 dangerous drug convictions
  • 16,070 drunk or drugged driving convictions
  • 303 flight escape convictions

I know all this has happened while you have been on vacation so it will be old news by the time you get back to “work” but if it happened while you were here would you: Applaud his speech and actions taken as something that should have happened long ago or do you think the action constitutes an “impeachable offense?”

RELATED VIDEO: On September 22, 2013 Christian Ziegler, State Committeeman for the Republican Party of Sarasota County, FL took part in the Fox News Post-Republican Presidential Debate Frank Luntz Focus Group on immigration.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/cVu-FWBhXYI[/youtube]

RELATED STORIES:

Feds released hundreds of immigrant murderers, drunk drivers, sex-crimes convicts…
REP: Obama supports ‘worst prison break in American history’…
Impeachable?
36,000 criminals freed while awaiting deportation…
Obama: Amnesty Push Coming in Next ‘Two to Three Months’…

Czech Book Dusting off Tucker (Benjamin, not Jeffrey) by Lawrence W. Reed

The literature of liberty, free markets, and individualism is immensely rich and getting richer with each passing year. Today’s great minds are building on yesterday’s greats. Taken as a whole, liberty’s library constitutes a most incredible collection of inspiration and insight into the boundless potential of human society. The only sad thing about it all is the extent to which those of an anti-liberty, statist perspective won’t tell their acolytes about it. Have you ever noticed how well “our side” knows Marx and Keynes while those on the other only think they know Hayek, Mises, Friedman, or even Smith?

Among the great thinkers of barely a century ago was Benjamin Ricketson Tucker. Critic of corporate welfare and a welfare state of any kind, Tucker edited and published a remarkable journal called Libertyfrom 1881 to 1908. It featured the bylines of many other great minds as well. Tucker was a fascinating advocate of “individualist anarchism,” which he also called “unterrified Jeffersonianism.”

In September 2013, the Foundation for Economic Education cosponsored a conference in the Czech Republic. Our partner in the effort was CEVRO, a private college in Prague devoted to advancing liberty ideas. Among the students in attendance was Lukáš Nikodym. He approached me afterward with a project he and his brother Tomas were contemplating: an online book of selected articles from Tucker’s old journal. “Will you write the foreword?” Lukáš asked. I hesitated not a second.

The book is now available, and I commend it to our readers, along with these related materials:

  1. The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty” (1881-1908)” by Greg Pavlik
  2. Forgotten Critic of Corporatism” by Sheldon Richman
  3. Liberty Fund’s Online Library of Liberty

Download fileDownload the PDF here

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

Behind the Scenes on the Chicago Teachers Union Anti-Common Core Resolution

On May 7, 2014, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) passed a resolution against the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

That evening, I wrote this post and included my own experience and conversations on Lewis’ position on CCSS. In the post, I figuratively note that this is now a battle between Lewis and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who has stated that if it comes down to AFT constituency rejection of CCSS and keeping CCSS at the AFT convention in July 2014, she plans to keep CCSS.

Though I metaphorically describe the battle as being between Weingarten and Lewis, I know from my interactions with Lewis that she is a union president who serves her constituency. Unlike Weingarten’s dealings with AFT members, Lewis does not try to force CTU membership into the mold of her top down choice.

On May 10, 2014, fellow blogger Anthony Cody posted a guest article by CTU member Michelle Gunderson. In it, Gunderson describes the process by which CTU arrived at and crafted CTU’s anti-CCSS resolution.

Include below is Gunderson’s post in part:

By Michelle Gunderson.

Wednesday evening I stood before my brothers and sisters at the Chicago Teachers Union to speak in favor of our resolution opposing the Common Core State Standards. When I finished speaking, there was a call for the vote. It was unanimous. It was resounding – not a single voice raised in opposition.

There are times when the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) seems like an engine; that we are able to accomplish great and difficult work seemingly overnight. I would like to pull back the curtain for a moment, and help others understand the purposeful and deliberate process we take in order to form our decisions and actions at CTU.

There are those in the media who contend we are being reckless and blindly following Karen Lewis, the president of our local. Nothing could be further from the actual case.Michelle.jpg

As much as we admire Karen Lewis and are grateful for her talents, this work was not generated from her. In fact, characterizing this event in such simplistic terms denigrates the social justice transformation of the Chicago Teachers Union, a long and hard-won struggle that involves many. We do not act on Karen Lewis’ behalf or her wishes. She acts on ours, with our guidance, and we love her for it.

It is hard to imagine a union in existence where a full democratic process is expected by everyone involved – leadership, rank and file, and union staff. Yet, in Chicago, we hold this ideal in such high regard we cannot imagine a union working any other way.

Several months prior to the passing of the resolution, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators began discussing and debating the Common Core in our open meetings. We read Diane Ravitch’s bookThe Reign of Error in small study groups. And many of us followed Anthony Cody’s work on this blog. Through conversations and study we came to a strong conclusion. The authors of the Common Core view the purpose of education as college and career readiness. We view the purpose of public education as a means for educating a populace of critical thinkers who are capable of shaping a just and equitable society in order to lead good and purpose-filled lives.

With our philosophical underpinning so drastically divergent from that of the Common Core we did not see any room for common ground.

That is why we say no to Common Core.

My hat is off to CTU.

To read the rest of Gunderson’s piece on Anthony Cody’s blog, click here.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo was taken by firedoglakedotcom. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

John Boehner: The King of Do Nothing

The IRS is now free to abuse citizens at will….the congressional “investigation” is over and congress did nothing!

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

Second-Banana Blues: Veep, cringe comedy, and laughing at Washington so you don’t cry by Michael Nolan

Political beliefs are great at ruining dinners, holidays, and family gatherings. In the Washington, D.C., of TV show Veep, they can ruin your career. And even at best, they—to say nothing of a conscience—are irrelevant.

The show’s creator, Armando Iannucci, doesn’t waste our time with fraught meditations on whether itshould be this way. Just keeping up with how it is occupies more than enough time and throws out more than enough opportunities for comedy. This is why he’s playing a different—and better—game than nearly every other fictionalizer of our Bizarro Olympus.

In this version of D.C., the meaning of whatever anyone does or says is determined after the fact, by the context it meets and how it affects the pursuit of and will to power. And it is always subject to revision. That is to say, almost all of the characters (crucially, though, not 100 percent) seem to have literally no selves inside their suits; they are the servants of power, the chief (maybe the only) virtue here.

So far, so what? Literally every show and movie about Washington makes this point. Veep stands out, especially among the power porn that generally defines Washington shows and movies, for using power as a setup for slapstick. And then Veep plays it deadpan, letting bits and jokes build on each other in the same way that every faux pas and errant bit of candor quickly metastasizes until it feels like Godzilla is marching up the Potomac.

That’s not to say, for all the His Girl Friday verbal ping-pong, that everything here is harmless and goofy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Selina Meyer—the veep in question—generally winds up as the butt of every joke. Or at least the big ones, played by fate. When she declares occasionally that “I am the Vice President of theUnited States of America,” it sounds even more like a punchline than pulling rank inherently does anyway. But everyone has to clam up when she says that, particularly those who spend all day feverishly tending an image that not even Selina remotely buys. There are stakes. And for all the foibles, Selina can and will—like anyone with enough rank—destroy you. The threat of destruction and the promise of one day wielding that power drives everything else, from everyone else. You laugh because otherwise the horror is unbearable.

And it also appears to be inescapable, even setting aside that nearly every character here makes his or her own life miserable (or worth living—being a perverse bunch, I doubt even they can tell the difference) as a matter of choice. They all choose to live in and accept the terms of this world. If they didn’t, there’d always be plenty of others willing to take their places, even at the bottom of the totem pole, where all the whippings are handed out.

For example, one of Selina’s nemeses, an Ohio senator named Roger Furlong (played by Dan Bakkedahl, simultaneously starring in FXX’s Legit as an entirely different, half-decent kind of schmuck), manages to be as blatantly moronic as he is loathesome, and almost more vulgar than anyone else. And he relies entirely on his personal aide to complete most of his obscene neologisms, particularly when he wishes to insult said aide. That guy takes it and completes the punchlines. The fact that they’re usually still pretty ham-handed and almost always unwarranted actually adds to the hilarity. Though be forewarned: This isn’t the belly-laugh kind of hilarity; it’s closer to a near-desperate hysteria.

Point being, neither of these guys has to be here, even if Furlong—like everyone else on top—is the one who looks like he’s no good for anything else.

You Don’t Have to Be Awful to Work Here, but It Helps

This point matters, because it limits the amount of sympathy you can extend to any member of the cast. It’s a reminder that everyone here is getting something out of all of this, so how bad can their suffering really be?

The insularity of the Washington depicted here allows the show to keep its focus on relative merit rather than straying into the weeds of broad moral profundity. Expecting this out of people who want careers in politics is what got us here in the first place, after all. Nobody’s “good,” and it’s not clear that “bad” matters here, either. When someone from (more or less) outside this world pops up and says, “You people are monsters,” there’s a pause in which you can more or less see the thought bubbles above everyone else’s heads: Monsters? This guy thinks that matters?

I don’t think for a second that anyone on the show meant that “monsters” comment as an applause line. I don’t even really think it’s a punchline. It’s one of the occasional whiffs of real life that throws this world’s insanity into sharp relief.

What’s more, I was thinking the same thing as the other characters, and it was uncomfortable to realize. But I couldn’t help chuckling in admiration that the writers and cast had made me one of them.

And some people still don’t think of comedy as art.

Probably my favorite line thus far comes near the end of the second season. The context doesn’t really matter; just get a load of this: “There’s going to be difficult choices to make, like Sophie’s Choice choices, except more important because they’re gonna be about me,” Selina tells an aide. That line nearly knocked me out my chair. The way Louis-Dreyfus delivers it—and the way everyone else doesn’t react to it—is why they get to be actors and the rest of us don’t.

That line would be, if someone really meant it, a pretty lousy thing to say and a worse thing to believe. But it’s often a mistake to assume a one-to-one relationship between what’s said and what’s meant; here, italways is. At their least cringe-worthy, these kinds of lines come across as a kind of ritual commiseration, like smart, articulate, harried people handing off a gag gift that’s been making the rounds for decades, but putting a creative, novel touch to the wrapping first. At their worst, they’re unprintable here, but usually still also funny. In every case, they’re transgressive in at least one way. Sooner or later, whoever you are, they’re going to find one that steps on your toes, too.

Mr. Snark Goes to Washington

What I’m grateful for is that show brings cringe comedy into Washington. Veep doesn’t really belong in the same category as shows like Scandal or House of Cards, or even the long-suffering, martyred, back-patting that’s made Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert into, essentially, one-trick ponies (I mean, that’s not a fatal flaw—AC/DC and the Ramones are both one-trick ponies, too). That inures it from the unseemly power-fetishization that drips from everything you hear about the Underwoods.

But cringe comedy—the domain of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, which includes the principality of Larry David—usually has a longevity problem. No matter how brilliantly it’s written, directed, and acted, it gets exhausting if it plays only that note. Even after it stopped just remaking UK episodes with different accents, the U.S. version of The Office remained inferior to the original for much the same reason it was able to earn a far longer run: the probably crazy but also probably crucial belief that everyone’s fundamental decency means things will—and should—work out okay for them in the end. David and company figured out a better way around the cringe problem starting with the second season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Merchant’s current project, Hello, Ladies, hasn’t yet, so you barely get a chance to enjoy it before you have to turn away.

Veep has come up with a solution to this problem that’s entirely its own. Maybe it’s the sheer strength of the ensemble cast. Maybe it’s the occasional reminders that there are real stakes here and at least some of the characters are aware of them (Selina seems genuinely shaken when a hostage-rescue mission she gave the green light to mainly for political capital costs a soldier his leg). Or maybe it’s the sense of a vast, chaotic complexity within nearly all of the characters: When Selina’s daughter shows up and calls bullshit, Selina works her like any other opponent. When her daughter just wants a mother, you can all but see Selina calculating how to “win” this situation in one eye while, in the other, a donnybrook rages between her conflicted desires, a suspicion she might not be up to it, and something that looks a lot like guilt—and the ever-present need to deal with the current crisis. She always manages to disappoint, Selina does. But always in a new way.

Or maybe it’s just that nobody ever wins or really seems to lose, either. The show doesn’t fall into the trap of imagining a fantasy Washington where justice is served and the world is set right again. That said, for all that Veep’s world suits my biases just fine, it does feel from time to time like it’s trotting out one inside joke after another, mainly just showing the types that plague Washington—but that even the creators ultimately find worth putting up with. Or maybe real Washington people are more types than people anyway. This show won’t really help you sort it out.

If it was shooting for sheer realism, that might be a problem. But it would also dilute the comedy. It’s better this way, where power hovers and looms, but never truly alights. It’s as if everyone had the exact same floater in their eyes; the more they try to focus on it, the more elusive it becomes. But as far as they’re concerned, there’s nothing else worth looking at.

ABOUT MICHAEL NOLAN

Michael Nolan is the managing editor of The Freeman.

Grover Norquist: Veni Vedi Visa (I came, I saw, I took your Job)

In this episode we break Grover’s immigration H1-B, VISA scam.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/6jGe9npilCw[/youtube]

Actually, it’s a brilliant scam where Wizard Norquist and his minions construct a false premise, then conceptually sell this bogus idea as the next best conservative idea to hit Washington. He then secures his target clients, collects eye-popping retainers and does the “K” Street shuffle on the heads of spineless politicians, who mechanically sign the law that the Wizard puts in their power-loving hands.

What a mess this guy has made out of the formerly honorable Conservative movement in America. Norquist has made a bit of a name for himself as a Beltway stand-up “comedian.” But none of his jokes have ever reached the level of side-splitting yuck, yucks, as when he says, with a straight face no less… “Immigration is the number one economic asset for America!”

Now, that IS funny…and destructive for serious Constitutional Conservatives… of which, the Wizard of “K” Street is not one.

As we move through this micro-series you will see how Norquist’s nefarious work impacts YOU on a daily basis in the areas of: Immigration, Islam, Israel and Iran (the Four Is).

PA Attorney General Charges and Arrests Test Cheaters — FL AG Bondi Missing in Action

Taking a cue from former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers (R) and former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) charged and arrested a principal and four teachers for cheating on standardized tests at Cayuga Elementary School in Philadelphia over a four year period (2008-2012).

Kane said the educators changed student answers, provided test answers to students and improperly reviewed Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test questions before giving the tests. After the cheating stopped in 2012, the schools test scored dropped dramatically, Kane noted.

In 2008-09 state proficiency tests, Cayuga’s fourth graders excelled: 88.8% pass math and 83.9% pass reading. By 2012-13, the most recent numbers available, fourth graders at the school struggled with 31% passing math and 25% passing reading.

Those charged are:

  • Evelyn Cortez, 59, Dresher, Montgomery County;
  • Jennifer Hughes, 59, Jeffersonville, Montgomery County;
  • Lorraine Vicente, 41, Philadelphia;
  • Rita Wyszynski, 65,  Philadelphia; and
  • Ary Sloane, 56,  Philadelphia.

In Georgia, numerous teachers, and principals were convicted or took plea deals and are in prison. Superintendent Beverly Hall had her plea deal rejected and awaits trial in August 2014.

Unfortunately for Florida students and taxpayers, Attorney General Pam Bondy and Governor Rick Scott took a different course of action in response to test cheating: they did absolutely nothing.

Hard evidence was sent to both of these Constitutional officers and elected officials concerning various violations concerning professional development fraud, teacher certification fraud, teacher observation and evaluation fraud, and test cheating – all of which were documented in a state report issued by the Auditor General of Florida and the Miami-Dade OIG Final Report which concluded that, “Miami Norland has benefited in the form of attaining a higher school grade and may have received financial compensation or other benefit resulting from its high pass rate on the industry certification exams” (page 13).

Katherine-Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney of the 11th Judicial Circuit, did not respond nor take action on these allegations, stating she can do nothing per “local control,” and that the responsibility for investigation and resolution rests with the employee of the perpetrators – Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

After appearing before investigators with the Office of the Auditor General for the State of Florida and the Miami-Dade Office of Inspector General in April and May 2012, in which sworn statements, evidence, and produced two witnesses (teachers who corroborated the test cheating) were given, to ensure that these investigations would be acted upon by the state, the findings were sent to Governor Rick Scott for action.

Governor Scott’s Inspector General emailed a written response declining assistance for lack of jurisdiction and deferred to the Miami-Dade OIG, who declined to investigate this particular matter as the Auditor General’s Office was investigating it.

On February 6, 2013, the FLDOE OIG, sent a written response claiming “lack of primary jurisdiction.” One would think they would have a secondary jurisdiction to investigate violations of state law pertaining to test cheating and any and all related frauds (money) to protect students, teachers, and taxpayers.

Worse yet, I emailed Florida’s and Miami-Dade’s chief law enforcement officers, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle respectively, and the response was disappointing.

On March 8, 2013, Attorney General Bondi emailed the whistle-blower, Trevor Colestock, back basically citing lack of jurisdiction and passing the buck to the school district of all places and various local and federal agencies.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney did not respond whatsoever, though she did prosecute teachers and school administrators in the MOTET teacher certification scandal 8 years earlier.

These improprieties and related crimes (using computers to commit fraud, wire fraud, malfeasance, test cheating, and 20,000+ counts of record tampering and teacher certification fraud) were reported on by multiple media outlets. However, Governor Scott, Attorney General Bondi, FLDOE bureau chiefs and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle appear to have a “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil” when it comes to stopping cheating and fraud in Florida’s public schools.

Though the state has inherent police and supervisory powers to enforce and regulate its laws, Florida (unlike the States of Georgia, Texas, and Pennsylvania) has been a passive spectator concerning school districts and test cheating to the detriment of Florida students, teachers, and taxpayers.

Perhaps it is time for Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi to stop passing the buck and stand against cheating in Florida’s public schools?

Who is Sabotaging Israeli-US Intelligence Collaboration?

Jeff Stein, the Spy Talk columnist for the resurrected Newsweek let loose with accusations of Israeli intelligence industrial espionage in the US as the cause of the holdup in the visa waiver program for Israeli visitors.  That does not square with the facts of the enduring 29 year relations and contributions between the two allies. That was a reference to the pledge made by Israel not to engage in espionage following the conviction of American spy for Israel, Jonathan Pollard.  Subsequent there were more bizarre allegations from Stein at Newsweek. This time it was about an episode involving former Vice President Gore during a trip to Israel.  Allegedly, a Secret Service agent found a Mossad operative hiding in an air shaft listening to conversations.

That raised statements from former Mossad director, Danny Yatom, in a Times of Israel (TOI) report this weekend  suggesting that was ‘delusional.’ He said Israel’s spy agency had less intrusive means of monitoring conversations.  Former Israeli military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen Amos Yadlin,   commented  in another TOI  article, “Israel does not spy on the US “, further suggesting the  Newsweek reports were “unreliable” and sources  “questionable”.  Israel’s Strategic Minister, Yuval Steinitz asked the obvious question was “Someone was trying to sabotage relations?”   Moreover, he was going to investigate this during discussions with the Administration this coming week in Washington, DC.

Who is Newsweek’s Jeff Stein?

Stein who wrote these questionable stories contended in a comment to an Algemeiner account alleging anti-Semitic intent and anti-Israel bias in the Newsweek report that he was neither.  Stein has an interesting background.  Born in Philadelphia and raised in New England, he is a graduate of Boston University who took a Master’s in Chinese History at the University of California at Berkeley. He was  in Army Intelligence during the Vietnam era serving there for a year in 1968 to 1969 and awarded a Bronze Star.

He started out his journalistic career reporting for NPR and worked on fledgling news papers   founding The Washington Weekly in 1981, which went defunct in 1984.  A year later he joined UPI where he ultimately became deputy foreign editor. He authored his first book, The Vietnam Fact Book in 1987. His 1992 Green Beret book, Murder in Wartime caught the attention of reviewers who cited it as the best military morality tale since The Caine Mutiny.  In the 1990’s he began writing for Salon.com exposing the links between Ringling Bros Circus and an ex- CIA official, Clair George.  In 2000, he co-authored  Saddam’s Bomb-maker with  Khidhir Hamza, who headed the late Iraqi dictator’s nuclear program. That book caught a wave of attention. Following 9/11 he was hired in 2002 by Congressional Quarterly to head CQ Homeland Security.  He started the Spy Talk column and blog while at CQ in 2005 moving on in 2009 to continue Spy Talk at the Washington Post.  Along the way he was several articles  about both counter-terrorism officials and the head of the  US House Intelligence Committee   lacking  an appreciation  of Sunni versus Shiite doctrine and Al Qaeda in the Middle East. In 2009 he revealed wire taps of former House Intelligence member Rep. Jane Harman regarding her efforts to aid two former AIPAC officials whose case was subsequently dismissed by a Federal judge for wrongful prosecution. The incident spotlighted NSA warrant-less eavesdropping.  Stein joined the re-constituted Newsweek as contributing editor in December 2013.   See Stein’s Spy Talk columns at Newsweek, here.

The Bizarre Entanglement of Newsweek’s owners at the International Business Times

Newsweek was acquired by International Business Times (IBT) in 2013.  The IBT  founded in 2005 by French American Etienne Uzac  and Jonathan Davis, is the subject of a dossier article in the May/June 2014 edition of Mother Jones“Whose Behind Newsweek” .   There are accusations of  the multi-lingual publication group  principals backed by a shadowy Korean Christian cultist, the Rev. David Jang. Jang founder of Olivet University in San Francisco is alleged in the Mother Jones article  to  have provided funding for IBT.   Further, it is and is alleged  he has  deep involvement in the publication group’s editorial and business management, including sweat shop operations using illegal aliens.  Notwithstanding these allegations by Mother Jones, IBT has hired a credible group of editors with recognized experience at the New York Times:

Newsweek‘s new editor in chief, Jim Impoco  is formerly of the New York TimesPortfolio, and Reuters,. Under IBT’s ownership, Impoco has attracted an experienced and well-respected crew of journalists.  On March 4, IBT also announced that Peter Goodman, an award-winning former New York Times economics correspondent and business editor at the Huffington Post, would take over as IBT’s editor in chief.

Mother Jones extensive investigations of IBT and Jang’s Olivet movement revealed the latter’s influence and bizarre cultist beliefs:

According to the Times, Uzac and Davis said “Jang had no financial stake in IBT or influence on the business.” But the pair acknowledged to Mother Jonesthat Jang has provided “advice” to IBT. And while there’s no evidence Jang controlled editorial matters, internal documents show him routinely weighing in on a wide range of business decisions, from personnel and business strategy to typography.

Jang sees Community-affiliated media organizations, including IBT, as an essential part of his mission to build the kingdom of God on Earth. He has said that media companies affiliated with the Community are part of a new Noah’s ark designed to save the world from a biblical flood of information.

Ex-CIA Official Paul Pillar’s Anti-Israel Smear Campaign

As we posted in our  prior Iconoclast report, we found Stein’s allegations lacking credibility. Subsequent reports by him verge on the bizarre. Yadlin’s questioning of sources is reflected in emerging information on a public source cited by Stein, ex-CIA Near East and South Asian analyst, Paul R. Pillar. Pillar left the agency in 2004 during the period when former Florida Congressman, Porter J. Goss was Director from 2004 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.   Pillar was one of the authors of the 2003 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was leaked to the New York Times in the waning days of the 2004 Presidential campaign. It used by the Kerry campaign to accuse Bush of ignoring intelligence community warnings about a “failed policy” in the Iraq War. Ken Timmerman in his 2007 book, Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender  cited Jack Wheeler, a intelligence community insider, calling out Pillar for leading a band of “rogue weasels driving a CIA war… to secure Bush’s defeat”.  According to Timmerman Pillar’s views on terrorism post 9/11 were published in a Brookings Institution monograph, Terrorism and U.S. Foreign PolicyHis views reflected earlier assessments suggesting that state sponsorship of terrorism was passé and that non state actors like al Qaeda  should be treated  as the equivalent of  a communicable disease.  Pillar completely missed the “stupendous growth of al Qaeda”, its relations with the late Saddam Hussein and the Islamic regime in Iran.  Myopically, Pillar never understood Osama bin Laden and the Muslim Brotherhood derived Jihad doctrine.  Pillar believed  there was the equivalent of an iron wall between Sunni and Shiite extremists.  Richard Perle is cited by Timmerman saying that Pillar’s  pre-Iraq war briefing in January 2003 was “the worst in 25 years, couldn’t answer questions, and was clueless about what was going on in Iraq.”  Timmerman quotes the observation by John Hinderecker saying, ” Recent events indicate that the CIA might even be willing to compromise the effectiveness of its own covert operations, if by doing so it can damage the Bush Administration.”

By coincidence Hinderecker, a CIA veteran who also knew Pillar produced evidence of the rabid anti-Israel positions of Pillar in a Powerline report this weekend calling him, “an anti-Israel smear agent”.  Hinderecker cites a piece in The National Interest by Pillar attacking gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson called “The Sheldon Primary”. Pillar wrote:

For this man who will likely have such enormous influence on who will be the Republican presidential nominee, the Republican Party isn’t even his first love among political parties. That would be the Likud party. Adelson’s money also plays a very big role in Israeli politics, much of it in subsidizing a free-distribution newspaper, Israel HaYom, which has the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in Israel and functions as a cheerleader for Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud.

Nor is the United States Adelson’s first love among countries. He has said that when he performed military service as a young man it “unfortunately” was in a U.S. uniform rather than an Israeli one. He has expressed the wish that his son become a sniper in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Hinderecker’s comment on Pillar’s attack against Adelson:

Reading Paul Pillar’s smear of Sheldon Adelson saddened me. Paul, when I knew him, was as honest, as intelligent, and as idealistic as anyone of my acquaintance. Forty-odd years later, is this what liberalism has come to? A dead end where its best representatives have nothing substantive to offer, but can only smear Republican campaign donors? Where formerly brilliant minds labor to justify a claimed equivalence between the Democrats’ “white primaries” of the 1930s and a Republican donor trying to find a good presidential candidate to support?

Ex-CIA covert officer, who goes by the nom de guerre, “Cowboy”, had this assessment of Pillar:

Paul Pillar is a well known anti-American, leftist and anti-Israeli nutcase.  Even by CIA/State Dept bureaucracy standards.  Not surprising, probably, that he links up with similar folks.

The Outstanding Question; who is behind this smear campaign?

Against this background, we can appreciate why former Israeli intelligence heads and Netanyahu government officials in Jerusalem are concerned about what is behind Newsweek launching this smear campaign.  The allegations of skulduggery in Israeli intelligence collaboration with the US are doubtful. These stories come amidst efforts by the Obama Administration, especially Secretary of State Kerry, endeavoring to pin the blame on Israel for ‘torpedoing’ the Final Status talks with the Palestinian Authority, newly united with terrorist group Hamas.

My ex-CIA colleague, Cowboy, observed: “clearly they are cats paws for O’s anti-Israel campaign.”

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

Will you see an American Reformation? It Depends on When You Were Born!

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan

My Father was born in 1901 and was too young for World War One and too old to serve in World War Two. A gentle, quiet man, he would have been a terrible soldier. My older brother, however, was inducted in the U.S. Army and served during the Korean conflict. In the 1960s I served during a period of peace despite Cold War tensions.

In 1973, the U.S. ended military conscription, opting for an all-volunteer force. Those that chose to serve found themselves in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Earlier there were some minor engagements such as Panama in 1989. It was 9/1 that changed everything.

The thing about wars is that, if a nation wants to invade another one, all the laws and treaties mean nothing. One of the most useless international organizations, the United Nations, has a long record of not deterring all manner of wars, large and small, past and present. Then, too, wars are usually preceded by lies the aggressor puts forth to justify the action and much of what occurs is protected by a body of lies. The winner gets to write the history.

The last century had wars that killed millions, many of whom were civilians. A new generation is witnessing a Syrian war whose casualties now number 170,000. Two million Syrians are now refugees; a potential threat to the stability of Lebanon and Jordon. Both sides of the conflict have perpetrated horrors, but the use of poison gas by President Assad, a major crime against humanity, has not resulted in any loss of his power. Russia stepped in to give him cover. His other ally is Iran. Ukraine is likely to split between East and West.

The conflicts of the current century could escalate into even more massive loss of lives because nuclear weapons and poison gas have the capability of killing more people than the bombs of the last century.

Significantly, it took two atomic bombs to convince the Japanese leaders to surrender, but not until thousands died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The good news is that no atomic bombs have been used since. The bad news is that there a crazies like the Supreme Leader of Iran whose Islamic fanaticism cannot be counted upon to preclude his use of a nuclear weapon against Israel. Or us.

What is curious, foolish, and displays a huge ignorance of history is the way President Obama and his minions have been reducing America’s military. It has been American power that kept the Cold War with the former Soviet Union from turning into a hot war and it was that power that was instrumental in causing others to avoid military confrontations with us. Congress has to set aside the sequestration limits that affect our military strength and get busy rebuilding our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. It should do so tomorrow!

The generation that served in World War Two and in the Korean conflict is no longer represented by those serving in Congress. Older members have passed away or retired. The present Congress—particularly its Democratic Party members—are some of the dumbest and most duplicitous politicians to have ever served there.

Like the President, they do not hesitate to lie and to spin whatever occurs. In a nation almost evenly divided politically, it will take a shift by the moderates and independents in the center to transfer complete political power in Congress to the Republican Party. Then we have to hope the GOP will more strongly embrace its principles to undo the damage done by the two elections of Obama and thwart further damage in his remaining two years in office.

The newest generations of voters and those who have been around awhile have been living through a period in which they have been ill-served by a Congress that spent and borrowed too much. Congress did the same during the Great Depression through which my parents lived. It prolonged it from 1929 to 1941 when we entered WWII. One can only hope that those graduating from college with big loans and no job prospects will vote to put a stop to that. Joining them will be the Baby Boomers, many of whom also cannot find work or cannot retire.

We are living through our own Great Depression for the same reasons Franklin D. Roosevelt’s solutions did not work. It is the private sector, not the government that determines the health and growth of the economy. In our case, we have been a major economic power, number one since 1872. On August 5, 2011, the nation’s top credit rating was downgraded. The lesson from that event was lost on too many people.

That too many do not learn from history or are simply ignorant of it explains a lot about our present times.

No discussion of our present times would be complete without a look at one of the greatest legislative catastrophes, Obamacare, ever imposed. It will likely prove to be the final nail in the Democratic Party coffin for a while. It is a classic example of the liberal desire to control the most intimate aspects of our lives, our health and the care it requires, combined with the insane need to fashion legislation so complex that it cannot work. Worse, it will likely kill off large numbers of its alleged beneficiaries, particularly the old; denied or delayed access to nearby hospitals, their personal physicians, et cetera.

Obamacare is doomed. It will be repealed. A return of healthcare to the private sector will do what no amount of government ever can. It is fundamentally unconstitutional to require people to purchase something they do not want.

America may be at a significant turning point. Having indulged every government program to their near extinction—Social Security and Medicare are closing in on insolvency—we may return to more self-reliance, fiscal prudence, and less reliance on a government grown too large to do anything well.

It depends on when you were born whether you will live to see this occur. I likely will not.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

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In Case You Missed It…

Sympathy for the “Washington, D.C. Devils”

I have a little sympathy for the Washington, D.C. Republicans even though they irritate me more than gravel in my oatmeal. Are Republicans Dancing with the devil?

Visit “All the Presidents Men 2011” to understand who is really responsible for our current policies. Connect the dots for yourself.

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

Is Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL 3) a do nothing seat warmer?

Steve McDonald is a constituent of Congressman Ted Yoho who represents Florida’s District 3. Rep. Yoho was elected because he took a strong stand, verbally, against the policies in Washington, D.C. During his campaign he stated that “Obamacare is racist against white people“. Yoho was a darling of Florida conservatives. However, when McDonald received a District 3 postcard asking for his support of Rep. Yoho he sent an email with some questions for the Congressman. The following is the full text of McDonald’s email to Yoho:

Dear Ted:

As I have repeatedly stated in the past (for which I recognize that I am no longer on your contact list), you are not exhibiting the leadership expected by your representing our district in Congress.

First, your campaign promise made at the Gathering Restaurant in Branford, Florida, before many attendees, before you were elected to FILE impeachment against Obama has not been fulfilled.

I have carefully followed your voting record. Your votes are mostly conservative until major issues are up for a vote. In these major issues, you have almost consistently, not voted conservatively, but voted with the establishment.

Today I read your postcard mailing which stated, “This is why I co-sponsored or introduced the following legislation.” I did some investigating and discovered that you introduced NONE of your listed legislation!

Legislation Introduced by:

HRes 442 Tom Rice SC
HR 3973 Ron DeSantis FL
HRes 411 Pete Olson TX
HR 2507 Thomas Massie KY
HR 75 Dr. Paul Broun GA
HR 73 Dr. Paul Broun
HR 3855 Cynthia Lummus WY
HR 3076 Ron DeSantis FL
HR 3361 James Sensenbrunner WI
HR 2399 John Conyers DEMOCRAT MI
HR 1852 Kevin Yoder KS
HR 637 Ted Poe TX

What’s the truth Ted? It increasingly appears to me that you are warming a seat and exhibiting ZERO leadership.

Talk is cheap.

-You and I have discussed Boehner yet nothing gets accomplished. – We have talked impeachment of Obama, yet nothing is done.
-I have mentioned to you that impeaching Holder is the WRONG way to handle this. Federal criminal prosecution for the criminal acts of lying to Congress and perjury is the correct avenue, not more worthless rhetoric about impeachment.
-This Congress continues to dither about Benghazi. The guilty need to be punished.
-Nothing is accomplished about IRS abuses.
-TOTAL repeal of the Affordable Care Act is not accomplished. Government should not be involved in health care PERIOD.
-Audit of Federal Reserve has never been accomplished. (Yes I realize that this issue is a death warrant for the author of such legislation).
-Reigning in the EPA not accomplished.
-Reigning in the TSA/DHS not accomplished.
-Reigning OSHA is not accomplished.
-Get the Federal Government out of Education (a Reagan Campaign promise unfulfilled). Education is a 100% local matter
-Building the Keystone Pipeline still blocked.
-What is being done to stop the Administration efforts to close coal as a source fuel for power.
-Amnesty continues to rear its ugly head, while little to nothing is done to close the southern border and expel the illegal criminals.
-I have maybe 50 more objections to the lack-of accomplishments for which this Congress is guilty.

In the time you have been in Congress, others like DeSantis, Bridenstine, Cruz, & Flake have served the same length of time. They are each now nationally recognized figures for publicly standing for what is right (against more government encroachment).

I must not be the Lone Ranger in my criticism because I have been contacted by a lawyer in Gainesville to investigate his challenging you for the seat. My long time belief is that I would oppose any lawyer being in the Congress, but he talks the talk you did 2 years ago. Problem you have is that you have not walked the walk that you talked about.

McDonald made attempts to talk with Rep. Yoho but to no avail. McDonald did speak with a staffer for Rep. Yoho. This is how McDonald characterized that discussion:

I regret that a Yoho Washington staffer telephoned with specific talking points laid out for her yesterday afternoon (4/14/14. When I challenged her on her talking points, she had NO clue what she was talking about. I am VERY offended to now be down to a third level staffer (which she denied being) who didn’t have the intelligence or background to handle her conversation with me.

There is a growing feeling that members of the Florida Congressional delegation are not doing their jobs by representing the interest of Floridians. That feeling may turn into a backlash in November 2014 when all House members are up for re-election.

World Wide Christian Leaders Abandon Their Own in Nigeria

By Wallace S. Bruschweiler and Alan Kornman

The period 1938 to1945 should have been a lesson for all future generations.  The European Jews sitting back and accepting to be marched to Nazi slaughter-houses is absolutely not to be repeated in today’s day and age.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Islamic supremacist group Boko Haram declared war on the Christians in this shocking video.

How will we justify our inaction(s) to the next generations – what and how will the future history books describe the Christian massacres in Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq and Nigeria. What kind of justifications will we have to invent, to answer in the future, the questions asked by our children?

Here we are – when Hillary Clinton served as President Obama’s Secretary of State, she vigorously opposed for over two years placing the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram on the State Department’s official list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations,  John Kerry to his credit did it in November 2013.

The Response

Andrew McCarthy writes in the National Review, “Mrs Clinton and President Obama have convinced themselves that they know more about Islam than Muslim terrorists do, and that the peaceful, pliable, progressive Islam they have concocted somehow renders the jihadists’ Islam false.” Unfortunately, there are over 300 Nigerian girls and young women who would beg to differ!

Boko Haram’s Islamic justified barbaric actions speak for themselves.  Yet Christians around the world remain militarily passive to the existential threats posed by Islamic Jihad. This reminds me of the disgusting repeated ‘non decisions’ to bomb the railways tracks leading to Dachau, Auschwitz, etc. during World War II.

Nigeria, as many other nations in Africa and the Middle East, is an artificial political entity (remember Biafra).  A large number of these African and Middle East countries are formed by a significant  number of tribes with completely different ‘standards’ and kept together by corruption and terror.

Kidnapping, slavery, forced marriages, rape, forced conversions, mass murder, and torture no longer move people of conscience into military action.  Instead our leaders, on the world stage, give us nice words of righteous indignation that sooth’s the souls of the unaffected and washes the guilt of responsibility off our collective shoulders.

Ronald Reagan described, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” This beacon of light has dimmed and is flickering close to complete darkness.

“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses . . .”— John Winthrop, aboard the Arbella, 1630

What Happened On The Ground In Nigeria

April 14, 2014

The New York Post reports, “The girls in the school dorm could hear the sound of gunshots from a nearby town. So when armed men in uniforms burst in and promised to rescue them, at first they were relieved.

“Don’t worry, we’re soldiers,” one 16-year-old girl recalls them saying. “Nothing is going to happen to you.”

The gunmen commanded the hundreds of students at the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School to gather outside. The men went into a storeroom and removed all the food. Then they set fire to the room.

“They … started shouting, ‘Allahu Akhbar’ (‘Allah Is Greatest’),” the 16-year-old student said. “And we knew.”

What they knew was chilling: The men were not government soldiers at all. They were members of the ruthless Islamic extremist group called Boko Haram. They kidnapped the entire group of girls and drove them away in pickup trucks into the dense forest.

Three weeks later, 276 girls are still missing. At least two have died of snakebite, and about 20 others are ill, according to an intermediary who is in touch with their captors.

What’s not in this May 6 story is the girls were Christians.  Many were sold to their Boko Haram captors for $12.75 US, forced to convert to Islam, and threatened with a sure death if they did not comply.  Others have been taken across borders to Cameroon and Chad, they said. Their accounts could not be verified, but forced child marriage is common in northern Nigeria, where it is allowed under Islamic law but not the country’s Western-style constitution.

May 7, 2014

As many as 300 people died in a Nigerian border in what officials described as a large and vicious attack by the Islamic terrorists of Boko Haram.

Nigeria’s Daily Post, citing Nigerian Senator Ahmed Zannah, said that the attack lasted for over 12 hours. Islamic terrorists believed to be part of Boko Haram, drove into the town on trucks and opened fire on crowds of people. Then, they razed the town itself. Zannah said that “The attackers stormed the communities in the night when residents were still sleeping, setting ablaze houses and shooting residents who tried to escape from the fire.”

This Nigerian town was attacked by Boko Haram because it was a staging area for security forces looking for the 300 kidnapped Christian girls from April 14, 2014.

May 6, 2014 – President Obama Reacts 23 Days After The Mass Kidnappings

The Los Angeles Times, Christi Parsons, reports, “The Obama administration will send military, intelligence and law enforcement advisors to Nigeria to help the beleaguered government find and rescue more than 270 teenage girls who were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group last month, the White House said Tuesday.

The team will share U.S. intelligence and provide investigative help, not military force, in the search for the students, who were kidnapped April 14 from a rural high school in Nigeria’s Muslim-dominated northeast.

The deployment will mark the first public American assistance in a case that has sparked international outrage. The U.S. announcement came after the leader of Boko Haram vowed in a video to sell the girls as slaves, and after gunmen reportedly took at least eight more girls from another village overnight.

President Obama spoke out on the abductions for the first time Tuesday, calling them “heartbreaking” and “outrageous.”  For 23 days the President of the United States of America was silent MIA.  American Muslim civil rights  groups were virtually silent for at least 20 days after the Nigerian Christians girls were abducted. Only until the non-Muslim world began to take notice did these, so called Muslim civil rights groups speak out and engage in damage control.

Muslim Brotherhood supporter Ahmed Bedier, made the outrageous claim, “Islam did not fail the people of Nigeria…Islam is not the problem…Islam did not fail here, Islam is not the problem…Islam is not the problem the government of Nigeria is the problem.”   Boko Haram’s official Arabic name, Jamā’at ahl as-sunnah li-d-da’wa wa-l-jihād (جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد) translates The Congregation of the People of Tradition Proselytism and Jihad says otherwise.  If this is not political Islam Mr. Bedier, then it is up to the followers of Islam to take responsibility and clean up Dar al Islam (House of Islam) and stop blaming others.

Amnesty International Reports

Amnesty International claims Nigeria’s military may have had prior warning about the attack on the school, but failed to act.  Amnesty said it had verified reports from several credible sources who said that security forces knew about the raid four hours before it took place.  It said, “An inability to muster troops – due to poor resources and a reported fear of engaging with the often better-equipped armed group – meant that reinforcements were not deployed.”

In a statement the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Britain’s aim was not only to help find the girls, but to eradicate Boko Haram, whose five-year insurgency has left at least 1,500 people dead in 2014 alone.

The Nigerian military still appear to have no idea exactly where the abducted girls are.

President Goodluck Jonathan has said that Boko Haram has “infiltrated… the armed forces and police”, sometimes giving the militants a head start.”

“The Nigerian military is a shadow of what it’s reputed to have once been.” said James Hall, a retired colonel and former British military attache to Nigeria. “They’ve fallen apart.”

Conclusion

History is repeating itself as lessons that should have been learned in 1938 go unheeded at this present time.

Christians of all denominations have been put on notice.  In Nigeria 300 Christian girls were kidnapped, sold into slavery, forced marriages, and conversions to Islam, or face death.

In February of this year Boko Haram burned alive 58 Christian boys.

The atrocities targeting Christians from Islamic Jihadists are numerous and well documented.

The only solution is for the Christian Church in total to protect their own fellow Christians wherever they are being persecuted, murdered, and forced to convert from their faith at gun point.

Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s powerful words below should be read and reread by the Vatican and the Christian community at large the world over.

“I am often told that the average Muslim wholeheartedly rejects the use of violence and terror, does not share the radicals’ belief that a degenerate and corrupt Western culture needs to be replaced with an Islamic one, and abhors the denigration of women’s most basic rights. Well, it is time for those peace-loving Muslims to do more, much more, to resist those in their midst who engage in this type of proselytizing before they proceed to the phase of holy war.

It is also time for Western liberals to wake up. If they choose to regard Boko Haram as an aberration, they do so at their peril. The kidnapping of these schoolgirls is not an isolated tragedy; their fate reflects a new wave of jihadism that extends far beyond Nigeria and poses a mortal threat to the rights of women and girls. If my pointing this out offends some people more than the odious acts of Boko Haram, then so be it.”

RELATED STORIES: 

Al-Qaeda’s American Spokesman Adam Gadahn: ‘It Is Essential To Fight America’
Kyle Shideler at Free Fire Blog: CAIR Spokesman Whitewashes Islamic terrorism, Compares Boko Haram to Mere Criminals
Deceptive Islamist Support for Nigerian Girls
Nigeria kidnapped girls ‘shown’ in new Boko Haram video – BBC
Nigeria: Jihadists screaming “Allahu akbar” stormed church, started shooting everyone
Does Hollywood and America Finally Get It About Sharia?
Islamic leader: Muslims should humiliate Christians so they’ll convert to Islam
World Wide Christian Leaders Abandon Their Own in Nigeria
CAIR and Lawfare: An Interview with Brooke Goldstein

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of SCUPE.

Florida Common Core Protest Results in Face to Face with Governor Scott

For over a year I’ve been trying to get an opportunity to talk with the Governor about Common Core concerns to no avail.  We have been diverted to staff and flatly refused an audience after dozens of requests, letters and calls.  My curiosity has been growing for some time why such a good family man would possibly embrace what we know are the many dangers to our children and our society as a whole in Nationalizing Education under Common Core.

Being a logical and intelligent business leader, how could he swallow the line presented by those who stand to gain power and money from Common Core without logical proof of results?  In fact, we have mountains of evidence of the damages that children are now experiencing in the classroom. How could he violate the Constitution of the United States as well as Florida’s Constitution by implementing FED ED and removing parental control?

At our protest against Common Core at his fundraiser in Fort Myers yesterday, he graciously got out of his car and came over to talk with our orderly crowd of about 40 people waving Stop Common Core signs.  He looked certain that if we only knew what steps he had taken, we would realize there is no more danger.  Here is the exchange:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/SSKX9Meo7fo[/youtube]

Here is the summary of the point, counterpoint. I have added some comments to his points we were unable to make then.

He started by repeating numerous statistics showing how great Florida’s children are doing on tests.  He didn’t say which year these statistics reflect, but it must be 2-3 years ago.

We retorted, “Those figures are from past years, before Common Core was implemented.”  If we were doing so well, why is there a need give up parental control, local control and state control over education and pay Billions of dollars implementing a new program copyrighted by unaccountable Washington Bureaucrats?

He repeated more figures about minorities doing so well in Florida’s results.  We now say that Common Core’s effects will be impacting minorities the worst, as parents won’t be as available to guide them and tutor them through the hurdles.  One in our audience was autistic and talked earlier about the heavy impact on special needs students who cannot work within a “one size fits all” education formula.

Governor Scott changed the topic again, saying how he had held town hall meetings all over the state.  Not so fast, Governor…the group responded that there were only three meetings held in the entire state after a great deal of public pressure, and the cries to stop Common Core were ignored.  Experts were brought in from all over the country and met with Commissioner Stewart who also ignored their grave concerns about Florida’s adoption of Common Core’s standards which are lower than previous Florida standards and deeply flawed.  Less than 1% change was made to the standards and then they changed the name and claimed the standards are our own.

Governor Scott then started talking about the bills passed this legislative session that would prevent data mining and sharing of data.  This is another subterfuge which does not pass the smell test.  The Federal Law, FERPA,  which used to protect privacy, has been changed by the Obama administration to allow sharing of data without parental permission with a much wider group, including the education materials providers such as Microsoft and Pearson PLC, as well as data collection and testing companies.

This is an excerpt from the enrolled language of SB188:

(2) RIGHTS OF STUDENTS AND PARENTS.—The rights of students and their parents with respect to education records created, maintained, or used by public educational institutions and agencies shall be protected in accordance with the FamilyEducational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g,  the implementing regulations issued pursuant thereto, and this  section. In order to maintain the eligibility of public educational institutions and agencies to receive federal funds and participate in federal programs, the State Board of Education shall comply with the FERPA after the board has evaluated and determined that the FERPA is consistent with the following principles…

KEY POINT: The section does not provide how and when the “board” evaluates and determines FERPA is consistent with the principles outlined, and how they would possibly object to the data sharing required under the law.  In fact, FERPA has been watered down by the Obama administration and is not consistent with those principles so this bill is not functional on its face.

Here is a statement in the Ed Code defining privacy rights and providing that Federal FERPA law trumps Florida Law.  This means data will be sent to the Federal Government where FERPA laws apply and data WILL be distributed as planned and without parental consent in order to keep federal money flowing.

Title XLVIII
K-20 EDUCATION CODE

Chapter 1002 
STUDENT AND PARENTAL RIGHTS AND EDUCATIONAL CHOICES

View Entire Chapter

1002.221 K-12 education records.—(1) Education records, as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, and the federal regulations issued pursuant thereto, are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.(2)(a) An agency, as defined in s. 1002.22(1)(a), or a public school, center, institution, or other entity that is part of Florida’s education system under s. 1000.04(1), (3), or (4), may not release a student’s education records without the written consent of the student or parent to any individual, agency, or organization, except in accordance with and as permitted by the FERPA. Education records released by an agency, as defined in s. 1002.22(1)(a), or by a public school, center, institution, or other entity that is part of Florida’s education system under s. 1000.04

Then the Governor brought up how he restored local control over textbook adoption with SB 864, which is subterfuge once again.  All textbooks and materials must be Common Core aligned and schools, teachers and students will be tested only on Common Core Standards.  With high stakes testing, there is no choice.   We can only choose which Common Core aligned education providers will poison our children’s brains the least.

These carefully planned “end around” bills do nothing to eliminate Common Core, and serve only to obfuscate this governor’s shameful effort to sell our children down the river for his political ally, Jeb Bush.  Meanwhile, HB 25 by Debby Mayfield, which actually would have stopped Common Core, died without a single committee hearing.

It seems either that Governor Scott has not read or understood the entire argument about Common Core,  and is so insulated by his bubble in the Capitol  that he actually believes his talking points, or he is complicit in a large scheme to obfuscate the realities of Common Core and sell our children down the river for political gain.  Perhaps it’s a little of both.

No matter which is true, the opposition to Common Core is growing and will continue to raise their voices to oppose Common Core and those who are force feeding this poison to our children.  There is a political consequence for their actions as was seen in the recent race for Congressional District 19 in Southwest Florida where the political outsider, Curt Clawson, handily won over the well -funded State Senate Majority Leader, Lizbeth Benaquisto, by 12 points.  She had sponsored the bill implementing Common Core in 2013 and the voters did not forget.  It is not just an issue to us.  It’s our children and our future.

RELATED STORY: Dad Arrested for Protesting Soft Core Porn in Common Core Curriculum

The Worst of Times, the Best of Times

I suppose that throughout history men and women have asked themselves if they were living through either the worst or best of times. The times between wars are most surely the best of times and the times leading up to and during a war qualify as the worst.  They are, however, rather quickly forgotten. It only takes about two generations—sometimes less—to move on from such events.

May 8, is “VE Day” celebrating the U.S. victory in Europe in World War Two. I suspect that most of our younger generations, including some of the Boomers, have no idea what the “VE” stands for.

World War Two ended seven decades ago, but not only have most Americans moved on from the horror of September 11, 2001, but it would appear that even the killing of an American ambassador and three security personnel in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 doesn’t arouse much anger even as we learn of a White House cover-up that utterly debases their sacrifice and loss. “Dude, that was two years ago,” said one White House staff member; as crass and crude a dismissal as one can imagine.

From a perspective of more than seventy and a half years, my mind flashes back to the Watergate scandal that began in June 1972 and concluded with President Nixon’s resignation in August 1974. That was a long two years as the attending events unfolded.

Forty-three people in the Nixon administration went to jail for their participation in the cover-up. The current Attorney General received a Contempt of Congress citation for his failure to provide information about one of the administration’s many scandals and during a recent speech to the National Action Network, a group founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, asked “What Attorney General has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?” Does the name John Mitchell ring a bell? He was Nixon’s Attorney General.

Holder apparently believes that the charges hurled at him and President Obama are mostly based on the color of their skin. We live in a nation that has a black President, a black Attorney General, and a black member of the Supreme Court, to name just a few Afro-Americans who have made it to the topmost circles of power. There are 43 black members of the House and one in the Senate. I grew up in a nation where blacks could not eat in certain restaurants, get a room at a hotel, and even had separate drinking fountains. I witnessed the Civil Rights era and these, for black Americans, are the best of times in the long history of our nation.

For nearly all Americans, however, these are far from the best of times. In 1981 President Reagan pulled the nation out of a recession and set it on a path of prosperity that lasted well in the Clinton years. A financial crisis occurred in the last year of President Bush’s second term. If President Obama didn’t want to “inherit” that, he should not have run for office, but he spent his entire first term blaming the economy and everything else on Bush to the point where he made himself look foolish. And then he was reelected!

We are now two years into Obama’s second term and failed economic and national security policies that include the shrinking of our military power to the levels of pre-World War Two years. Domestic policies are having their effect on failed foreign policies. There are some 90 million Americans out of work or who ceased to look for it.

Peace, some say, is the period between wars and there is great truth in that. Most of my life was spent in the last century, starting in the latter years of the 1930s. There were thirty-two wars, large and small, somewhere in the world during the last century, including a Cold War from 1945 to 1991 between the U.S. and the then-Soviet Union.

So far as the U.S. was concerned, our military saw action in World War One (1914-1918), World War Two (begun in 1939, we entered in 1941-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Vietnam War (begun in 1959 with initial U.S. participation in 1961. We would abandon the conflict in 1973). In 1990 the U.S. led the Persian Gulf War to drive Iraq’s Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We would invade Iraq in 2003 to depose Hussein. In the wake of the 9/11/2001 attack, our forces were dispatched to Afghanistan and are in the process of withdrawing.

War is the way nations tend to settle their differences. Despite the creation of the United Nations after World War Two ended, the U.S. has been engaged in wars and their deterrence. The rest of the world during the last century pursued wars in places that included Mexico, Russia, China, Spain and the rest of Europe, the French Indochina War, the French-Algerian War, the Soviet-Afghan War, the Iran-Iraq War, the third Balkan War, the Rwandan genocide, and the wars that Israel has endured over the more than sixty years of its existence.

This is why many are inclined to think, not only in terms of the U.S. economy, but in response to events beyond our borders—once again in Europe—that the conflict in the Ukraine may metastasize into World War Three if NATO is forced to confront a Russia behaving like it did before its former government collapsed.

I would, however, suggest that the greatest threat of war is staring the entire world in the face and that is an Iran with nuclear weapons.

We have a President who has displayed virtually no knowledge, nor understanding of the history briefly detailed here. Instead, he has pursued a deal with an Iran that has hated the U.S. (and Israel) as the heart of its foreign policy since 1979, As one former senior intelligence official was recently quoted as saying, “The fear is that the Iranians are going to pretend to give up their nuclear weapons program—and we are going to pretend to believe them.”

The only outcome of that would be an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities by Israel for whom a nuclear Iran would be a second Holocaust. Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria in 2007.

In a broader context, we and the rest of the world are living in an era in which Islam is challenging Western, modern civilization with precepts that embrace beheading, amputation, stoning to death, and other forms of violence, often against women, that must be confronted and defeated.

So, if these are best of times, they could rapidly turn into the worst of times…again.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Fighting marriage battles in Hong Kong, Finland, and more

As the international homosexual movement pushes “gay marriage” around the world, pro-family citizens in several countries are turning to MassResistance for help fighting back.

VIDEO:
posted by Hong Kong pro-family activists
 — MassResistance video on marriage with audio in Cantonese!

Last September – originally at the request of activists in Australia — we created our comprehensive 28-minute videoWhat “gay marriage” did to Massachusetts. It documents in chilling detail how “gay marriage” really changes society in less than a decade over a wide range of areas including schools, courts, businesses, churches, and more. The video is an expansion of our 2012 booklet, What same-sex “marriage” has done to Massachusetts. Thousands of copies of that booklet have poured across America — from Hawaii to Maine — and several foreign countries.

Brand new — MassResistance stickers. Show your solidarity! (See below for how to get them.)

Here are some of the latest battles:

Hong Kong

At the beginning of the year the well-funded international homosexual lobby begantheir lobbying push in Hong Kong to legalize “gay marriage.” Pro-family activists there began working with MassResistance in February.

They have just released a version of the MassResistance video with the audio in Cantonese (see above) . It is now being widely shown in Hong Kong. They told us that they are very pleased that now people can watch the video and it will “help them to understand” what they are really facing.

Last week the activists emailed us:

[This video] will definitely benefit more people to understand the seriousness of the issue involved. Without your kind support, we really cannot make this happen! Many thanks indeed!

Now they can see what may be on the horizon. On Monday, we received the following message from one of the Hong Kong activists:

The issue on Gender Recognition is creeping in as there is a recent court ruling to recognise the reassigned gender after sex reassignment surgery. I saw that Transgenderism is also forcing its way to school education at your side. The battle is getting increasingly tough…

We’ll be working hard for them as things develop.

Finland

The Finnish Parliament is about to begin debating a “gay marriage” bill. Back in February the homosexual movement submitted thousands of petitions to force the issue into Parliament.

In March a group of Finnish religious leaders contacted MassResistance. They began using our materials to educate their people. A few days ago they posted a version ofour MassResistance video with Finnish sub-titles and began promoting it across the country.

VIDEO
Posted by Finnish religious leaders
 — MassResistance video on marriage with Finnish sub-titles.

They have also distributed our materials to Parliament. This week religious leaders will be meeting with Members of Parliament on the issue.

Here’s what the Finnish religious leaders wrote us on Monday:

Your materials have helped us very much indeed. Finnish Parliament Law Committee have asked some church leaders to come in there on Wednesday the 7th of May for the interview concerning the same sex marriage legislation.

We have forwarded your materials all over the land and to all members of Parliament.

We have sent your video all over the country and people are surprised
to see it — many have woken up to understand serious consequences of that foolish legislation.

I am going to encourage the church leaders to stand firm on that issue.
Media is one of the worst enemies propagating solely the same sex marriage.

I will let you know what happens here. May God bless you and all of us who uphold traditional life values. Yours in common cause!

Here is one of their sites with information on the “gay marriage” fight.

They also informed us on Monday that one of the Finnish national televisionstations has agreed to broadcast the MassResistance video nationwide! 

Sweden and Estonia

We have also just been informed that Swedish and Estonian language versions of the MassResistance video are being prepared for broadcast on national TV in those countries.

We’ll post those links when they become available.

Back in the USA: Virginia

Back here in the US, pro-family citizens in Virginia are reeling from an outrageous federal court ruling in February where an activist federal judge struck down the state’s “gay marriage” ban voted by the people in 2006. One of the reasons the judge gave was that it conflicts with the phrase “all men are created equal” in the state’s constitution!

And Virginia’s Democrat Attorney General, Mark Herring, has refused to defend it in court, claiming that it violates the U.S. Constitution. Nevertheless, the ruling is being appealed by pro-family lawyers. The Federal Appeals Court in Richmond will hear oral arguments May 13.

In the meantime, pro-family activists are not letting up. Marriage activists contacted MassResistance in February and we’ve sent materials.

VIDEO by Virginia marriage activists.A powerful lesson on “gay marriage” using some MassResistance material. One of the best.

On April 24, Virginia activists released a powerful video on marriage to call together Virginians to a rally at the May 13 court hearing, and also a marriage rally in Washington, DC. Their video uses some of our MassResistance material, and is really worth watching. This is one of the best general “gay marriage” videos we’ve seen yet.

And many other battles over the last several months

For many across the country and around the world, MassResistance is the go-to place for pro-family activism and information. In addition to the above, in just the last several months we’ve worked with pro-family activists in Australia, Croatia, Jamaica, England, France, Ghana, Uganda, and Canada. And here in the U.S. we’ve worked with activists in Hawaii, Minnesota, Illinois, Utah, Idaho, Louisiana. We get more calls every week.

In addition, of course, we’re on the ground here in Massachusetts!

What we’re also fighting: Big money and generated fear

The homosexual movement is able to push “gay marriage” and its other agendas on a large scale because it receives millions of dollars from major US corporations, wealthy liberals, and in many places, your tax dollars.

Unfortunately, the front-line pro-family movement fighting back gets virtually no funding from corporations, conservative donors (who’ve chickened out on this issue – don’t get us started on that), and certainly not government. Even on good days we’re probably outspent by 500-1 (or worse).

Much of this is because the homosexual movement is constantly working to create a climate of fear. They are trying to make everyone afraid to even speak up, much less get involved. We’ve all seen that over and over.

Show your solidarity and help MassResistance keep fighting back

Hot off the press: We have brand new MassResistance stickers, suitable for car bumpers or anywhere else! Be a part of the not-so-silent majority. Show your solidarity with the international pro-family movement fighting back! Let the world know you’re not afraid.

(Oval, 6″ wide, 4″ high)

Over the next three weeks — until Memorial Day — in return for any size donation ($10 or more if using the credit card page) you will get two stickers.

DONATE – DONATE – DONATE – Get your stickers!

We’re up against a funding behemoth, so front-line groups like MassResistance must get broad financial support from lots of ordinary people. It really makes a difference. We need your help to keep our fight going.

Especially if you haven’t donated before, this is the time to do it.

The big psychological weapon we have

Because our opponents thrive on our fear, one of the biggest psychological weapons the pro-family movement can use is to show that we’re not afraid of them — or of telling the truth. In our experience, that seemingly small thing is astonishingly effective.  It makes them uncomfortable and disoriented. It’s been a powerful tool against any totalitarian movement. In fact, Pope John Paul II attributed the ultimate fall of the Soviet empire to people’s acting without fear!