ACTION ALERT: Common Core and High Stakes Testing Smoking Gun Information

Here’s important information I heard in the Florida State Senate Pre K-12 Education Committee hearing I attended in Tallahassee January 7, 2015.  At hour 1:15, after Commissioner Pam Stewart’s presentation, Senator Gaetz said this: “Here’s what I’ve learned today”

  1. “We don’t know how much time is consumed by Statewide Assessments.”
  2. “We don’t know how much money it costs to perform state mandated tests.”
  3. “We don’t know whether tests that are performed by state mandate are valid and reliable.”
  4. “We’ve learned today that we have no contingency plan if there are problems with statewide assessments.”
  5. “We have not beta tested statewide assessments.”

I ask, is this responsible leadership?  Is this acceptable for our children?  We have a solution and we want them to pass our bill.  We’ll need a huge grassroots effort to make this happen because we are being blocked in the legislature by Jeb Bush interests, specifically, Marlene O’Toole, Chair of the House PreK-12 Education Committee, and Speaker Crisafulli in the House.  Remarkably, Senator Gaetz, himself, blocked last year’s efforts.  Parents and concerned citizens will be going to the next committee hearings January 20-22 and will be doing a rally, March for the Children, the first week of session in March.

We need you and your local organizations involved.  We need busses with thousands of people to come and wear red.  We need to lock arms with Superintendents, School Boards, teachers, unions, opt out groups, parent groups, 912 groups, TEA Party, Stop Common Core groups and concerned citizens everywhere.  There is something for everyone to love in the bill we have crafted.

Highlights of what the bill does:

  1. Returns to paper tests; Reduces costs by Billions; Provides prompt feedback to inform students and teachers; Stops data mining potential as only aggregated and de-identified information is used; and Increases class time available for instruction
  2. Restores local control to school districts to select high standards from a list of pre 2009, best of breed, proven standards to select ONE nationally normed test from a list to be administered once a year students will be graded and promoted based on portfolio of work, not a single test provides that parents can opt out of testing provides that parents must opt IN for sex education.

Sophia Foe, a 7th grade student said it all in her testimony before the House K-12 Education Committee, when she said she thought it was wrong to experiment on her generation and the consequences would be grave.  To watch Sophia Foe go here and fast forward to 1:05 minutes into the meeting.  We must act now to protect Sophia, all our students, the future of Florida and the Nation.

Share this column far and wide. Come to the “March for the Children” and see your school board and legislators now. Get them to sign on to our legislator letter and commit to stopping high stakes testing and Common Core.

Year of The Black Tea Party

Black Americans with strong values are no longer welcome in the Democratic Party of BHO … time for them to come on over to the TEA Party where faith in God is welcome!

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Maggie’s Notebook.

black tea party

Gay Marriage: A Tale of Two Different Bishops in Florida

Hope all is well with you on this “9th day of this New “Year of Action” as us Pro-Life/Pro-Traditional Marriage activists have our hands full as seeing another appalling photo in the P.B. Post this morning of W.P.Beach Mayor, Jeri Muoio, performing another same sex marriage ceremony, makes me sick. I can only pray that everybody reading this e-mail, read my other e-mails and article on our liberal, Pro-Abortion mayor – and responded to her Questionnaire – blasting this disgusting county leader like she deserves to be blasted. Muoio flaunts her unethical, liberal ways for all to see and coming out in the P.B. Post three days in a row – promoting Gay Marriage is grounds for us to VOTE her out of office in this up-coming elections: FIRE THE PRO-ABORTION MUOIO, NOW!!!

But, friends, what’s worse is what is going on in the rest of our beloved state – just 4 hours northwest of Palm Beach, in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Yes, after congratulating and writing a powerful article on the Honorable Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski for taking a strong stance against this Gay Marriage fiasco (by stating that “if any employee from the Archdiocese of Miami even thinks of supporting Gay Marriage in any way, shape or form – he or she will be terminated”). That’s a powerful statement coming from Wenski and one that should be made by all of our Bishops in Florida – and in our entire country – for that matter. If every single Bishop in this country commits himself to standing up against Gay Marriage in a powerful & provocative manner – it will be reversed in all “36” states as quickly as it was instated. But, trying telling that to Bishop Robert Lynch, Shepherd of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida…

Well, the day after Archbishop Wenski put out his bold statement of authority and integrity against Gay Marriage, Bishop Lynch, who I have met and spoken to several times up in Tallahassee for “Catholic Days at the Capitol”, put out his “murky” statement. I have included it as Article #2, below. You can see the contrast between the two Bishops. Read for yourself…And, once again – to borrow Pope Francis’ famous 5 words – “Who am I to Judge”?- it’s not judging that we are doing here – it is simply pointing out something that is definitely incorrect, misleading and contradictory when you have two Bishops of the Catholic Church – the same state – 5 hours apart…a world apart.

And, there, my friends, lies the big problem that us Catholics face. When we have a serious issue like this Gay Marriage debacle, we cannot have Church leaders on the opposite poles, putting out different messages. Especially two Bishops from the same state. It just serves to confuse the Catholic Faithful even more and every time our beloved Pope Francis says something about the homosexual lifestyle – the liberal media blow it all out of proportion and twist and turn it to make it appear that Pope Francis is gay, himself! That is why the pope had over 200 Bishops and cardinals at the recent Synod of Bishops in Rome for two weeks – focusing on Family – with emphasis on the sacred Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. And, we all know the controversy that transpired during that Synod. (I can still see cardinal Kasper challenging Cardinal Burke, while watching Cardinal Weurl trying to keep his composure)…Lots of “cardinal” sins took place during those 14 days in Rome. ** The next Synod will take place in September, 2015 and you can bet that between 36 states legalizing Gay Marriage, as of now and counting – and what else is going to transpire during these next 9 months – we better brace ourselves for some serious fireworks, folks! Not, just Roman candles, either…

But, let’s go back to an infamous date in the history of humanity (or, should I say, “Inhumanity”?) – January 22nd, 1973 – Roe v. Wade. Very similar to what we are facing in our country today. Abortion vs. Gay Marriage…Two intrinsic and culture of death evils that are taking this country down faster than you can say “Protect the Unborn”! What did the Catholic Church do back in 1973?

TOOK THE 5TH AMENDMENT AND DISREGARDED THE 5TH COMMANDMENT! STOOD SILENT – ALLOWED THOU SHALL KILL

Had every church leader – Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, etc. – stood up for the sanctity of life – abortion would have never been legalized in the United States of America! Church leaders quietly took a back seat, thought it was only going to pertain to certain pregnancy situations, thinking and hoping that it would probably go away in a few years…Think again, folks. 56 million murdered babies…and counting…

And, yet, after watching this unGodly genocide of innocent unborn babies still taking place today – we still only have a small number of Catholic priests in this country who proclaim to be “Devout Pro-Lifers” – including just a handful in our own Diocese of Palm Beach – 5 of them…When every priest in this country should be Devout Pro-Lifers (which I would think comes with the territory) – it tears me apart that it is acceptable – not only in our Diocese – but in all 176 dioceses in this country….I am here to challenge – and at the same time – support every priest in our country, but our clergy truly need to do a better job in being more vocal, aggressive and engaged in the abortion fight – by way of action…

“ALL PRIESTS NEED TO BE DEVOUT PRO-LIFERS! IT IS PART OF THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION. IT BEGINS IN OUR PARISHES, FOLKS – AND THE SAME GOES WITH SAME SEX MARRIAGE! ALL PRIESTS NEED TO STAND UP FOR THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONY RIGHT NOW AND BOLDLY SAY “NO” TO THE ABOMINATION OF GAY MARRIAGE! IT’S TIME WE HAD A RELIGIOUS REVOLUTION AND HAVE OUR BELOVED CLERGY STAND UP AND TAKE THE LEAD ON THESE MOST CRITICAL ISSUES IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY”.

If our Catholic Church leaders and all of our clergy do not stand up against Gay Marriage in a big way – it will have the same effect on our society, country and future generations as the atrocity of abortion has had on us these past 42 years, thus giving the culture of death another momentum push, making it that much more difficult for us to turn it around. And, once again, we need prayers! More than ever. Pro-Life Prayers are Powerful!! Let us Pray…

And, speaking of the “devil fighter” – as I write this e-mail, I am being texted by the fiery, bold Pro-Life pastor of St. Martin de Porres, Father James Molgano, asking me what my take on these two Bishops from Florida are. I told him that I was writing another strong article on it. Father J. texts me telling me that he “cannot believe how everything continues to come undone all around us – it’s like no threads have been left bare”…He is right…

And, friends, it is “Devout Pro-Life Priests” like Father James Molgano and the bold Archbishop Wenski who are going to make a difference in our dioceses, in our communities, in our society. They lead by example. The more of our clergy who stand strong against these intrinsic evils that continue to attack our churches, our schools, our communities, our society – the better chance we have in turning this ship around and heading it in the right direction – north…We have to focus on looking up – looking up to the Heavens to the One who created us and put our faith in His plan. But, we have to do our part. That is why he created us all in His image and likeness and calls us “Children of GOD”. We are His Family. We are His Team, where T.E.A.M. stands for: “TWO-GETHER EVERYBODY ACCOMPLISHES MORE”!


 

ARTICLE #1: ARCHBISHOP THOMAS WENSKI’S BOLD STATEMENT AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE

READ, COMPARE…THEN PRAY.

ARTICLE #2: BISHOP ROBERT LYNCH’S WEAK STATEMENT AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE

BONUS COMMENT AND ARTICLE

Florida bishop seeks respectful dialogue on marriage

Beware the cleric who uses the words “dialogue, engagement, accommodation and diversity” in discussing gay marriage. . .or anything pertaining to Catholic doctrine set forth in the Catechism. They are designed to soften one’s resistance to secular ideals/standards and lead the way to the more harsher and unacceptable realities of “compromise” and “appeasement” which provide neither mercy nor forgiveness. . .without repentance. Have you ever tried to appease or compromise your repentance? And we have yet to stumble across either of these words in the Catechism. . .or, for that matter, the softer, aforementioned four (4) above.

The Secular Left has Truly Lost it’s Collectivist Mind

It has been said that sometimes things or situations are most bleak just before the end of the storm.  If one looks at the world today it is easy to assume, either the windy gales of history will soon their velocity.  Or we could soon be in for a heap of hurt.  I choose to believe, that even during this dark age of decimated morality and the global economy leaning toward the brink of utter collapse, things will surprisingly recover.  That will happen to the delight of those who desire true Liberty and Justice for all. To others who prefer secular humanism and progressive government control from cradle to grave disappointment shall be their lot in life.

One thing is for sure, the lunatic left always has a new answer for every time the question is asked, how low can you go?  This time, the depravity of the left is highlighted in a recent article written by Matt Barber for CNSNews.com. In his enlightening column, Mr. Barber points out that anti-Christian and anti-man writer Valerie Tarico (who also hates women who either love or like men) that Christianity was going down.  In a December 21st headline Tarico wrote “why is rape so intrinsic to religion?”  she insanely asserts that “God raped Mary.”  Barber also correctly pointed out how Tarico and I will add “the left in overall” will try and fool the public into believing they are against religion in general.  But as per usual, if they communicate long enough, their singular focus of hatred toward the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be exposed to the fullest.

The feminist twit even had the raw nerve to suggest that the Biblical account of Christ’s conception “really roots all the way back to evolutionary biology, and men’s need to maximize their gene.”  (Whew what a nut job)  The mindless gibberish of individuals like Valerie Tarico are the result of a decades long mission to fundamentally change America from a Judeo/Christian Ethic oriented constitutionally limited republic into an anything but God loving Patriotic society.

Unfortunately, many have forgotten or never knew that the unalienable rights of the individual are far more important than the desires of the tyrannical imps who populate government.  One of the things that I quickly noticed long ago was the blatant disregard and discrimination against Christianity. In addition there is liberal discrimination against anything that was inspired by or influenced by Christian principles such as the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Leftists like Tarico fully understand that America was founded on Christian underpinnings.  It is most unfortunate that the left views personal liberty, property rights, opportunities for anyone to reach their God given potential, the right of self-protection, etc. as impediments to their goal of overseeing the destruction of this exceptional nation.

They will use anything or any useful idiot like Al Sharpton, to reach their goulish goal.  The progressives have foolishly been allowed to dominate every aspect of society.  Whether it’s government schools, the liberal church, the media, entertainment, influence on the family and business.  From the looks of things, it seems as though the left has it all locked up in their deviant war on America.  They are convinced that it is their right and duty to abolish God, prosperity, the pledge of allegiance, prayers at football games, American military prowess, legitimate authority, private property, a private sector medical industry, the keystone pipeline, and it goes on and on.  Individuals like Valarie Tarico, who hate men because we simply exist are the premier practitioners of   discrimination, prejudice and bigotry, that they pretend to be against.  Worst of all, they even hate God and tell bald faced lies against him.  But despite the blatant disregard for that which is good, by the liberal haters of the idea of a blessed United States of America, I am firmly convinced that the progressives will ultimately lose their stranglehold on our republic.

Those of you familiar with my syndicated radio commentary have for years heard me expressing my sincere belief that America will be renewed as the sweet land of liberty envisioned by the founding fathers.  As “We the People” repent for allowing our republic to fall far from grace.  Despite the fact that the collectivist left is basically on one accord in their effort to destroy our country, This nation will be reborn into greatness as we pursue and receive Providential guidance, just like those who sought the face of God and gained the wisdom and power to establish the greatest nation in the history of the world.  May God bless America and May America bless God.

Obama’s Daughter Promotes Anti-Cop “Nigga” Spewing Rap Group

Great catch by my amigo Jim on his Gateway Pundit website. Jim posted this story with a picture of Michelle Obama’s “mini-me” Malia, promoting a rap groups tour, whose frontman was arrested for assaulting a security guard.

malia

Malia Obama wearing Pro Era shirt. Photo courtesy of Instagram. For a larger view click on the image.

Here is what Jim wrote:

Today she’s wearing a T-shirt [right] supporting an anti-cop gangster rap group. Tomorrow she’ll be attending Socialist meetings at Columbia College. And, before you know it she’ll be dining with Al Sharpton.

On Monday a grainy photo of a 16-year-old wearing a hip-hop group’s tour T-shirt was posted on said group’s official Instagram account.

One of the members of the collective, which consists of rappers, producers, and non-musical members, such as photographers and publicists, told Gawker that Mr. Bada$$ had allegedly been sent the snapshot by “a mutual friend of Malia’s and the pro era member.”

Here are a few lyrics from Extortion by Pro Era.

VIDEO: “Extortion” by Pro Era.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Shark Tank.

Islam Kills Again

The news from Paris about the killing of twelve journalists highlights Islam’s war on the West that represents a fundamental truth about this cult of Mohammad.

Most are familiar with the Islamic schism between the majority Sunnis and the minority Shiites. It dates back to the very earliest days of Islam when the two groups disagreed over who should be the successor to Mohammad.

There is a new schism in Islam these days and it is between a moderate interpretation of Islam and fundamentalism. We have all seen what fundamentalism produces.

The past year had dramatic and tragic slaughters by the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Syrian-Iraqi area they control, the murder of more than 140 school children in Pakistan by the Taliban, and the kidnapping of 276 girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria. These acts represent a strict interpretation of Shia law based on the Koran.

That is why an address by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, on New Year’s Day, to clerics at Al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry is particularly significant. As reported by Raymond Ibrahim of the Middle East Forum, Sisi “a vocal supporter for a renewed vision of Islam, made what must be his most forceful and impassioned plea to date.”

His speech was a warning that “the corpus of (Islamic) texts and ideas that we have made sacred over the years” are “antagonizing the entire world.”

Referring to the 1.6 billion Muslims, Sisi said it is not possible that they “should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live.” Islam, said Sisi “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

I cannot recall any other Islamic leader saying anything this bold and this true. Directly addressing the clerics, Sisi said “It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma (Islamic world) to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.” That is, of course, exactly what has been occurring.

Sisi called for “a religious revolution”, what Christians would call a reformation. “You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting for your next move…”

Islam - Obama's Muslim QuoteBased on negotiations led by the U.S., the world is waiting to see what Iran, the home of the Islamic Revolution—the name given to the ayatollah’s movement that overthrew the Shah in 1979—will do in the face of demands that it cease its quest to produce its own nuclear weapons.

You don’t have to be a U.S. diplomat to know the answer to that. As Behnam Ben Taleblu of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently wrote, for decades the Iranian leadership has referred to “American Islam”, a term that describes what Iran “perceives to be a depoliticized perversion of the true faith, devoid of the revolutionary sentiment that guides the Islamic Republic.” Calling it “American” demonstrates their contempt for everything American.

The Iranians even apply the term to Muslim nations “deemed pliant before the will of superpowers like the United States.” In their view, they are the champions of “the pure Islam of Mohammad.” The Iranians are Shiites. As such, they are a minority sect within Islam, though a large one by any standard.

Those U.S. diplomats negotiating to get Iran to agree to cease pursuing the ability to construct their own nuclear weapons should read the memoirs of Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and lead nuclear negotiator. As Taleblu notes, Zarif has a PhD from an American university, but he still wrote “We have a fundamental problem with the West and especially with America. This is because we are claimants of a mission, which has a global dimension.”

That mission is to impose Islam—their fundamental brand of it—on the entire world. That would get easier if they can threaten the world with nuclear weapons. Iran has been the leading sponsor of Islamic terror since its revolution in 1979.

The gap between Egyptian President Sisi’s concerns about the state of Islam today and the intention of fundamentalists like Zarif are a capsule version of what is occurring among Muslims throughout the world.

Islam is not inclined toward any form of modernity and most certainly not toward any form of personal freedom so the world has to remain watchful and, at this point, far less inclined to give its terrorists a pass with the claim they do not represent Islam.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

RELATED ARTICLE: Terrorists in Paris were Asking for Specific People during the Shooting

EDITORS NOTE: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding the deadly terrorist attack in Paris earlier today:

“I was saddened to learn of the terrorist attack that claimed 12 lives at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris earlier today. These journalists and satirists were apparently killed by Islamic extremists for exercising the fundamental human right of free speech and expression. These terrorists don’t hate cartoons, they hate freedom. They’re willing to target anyone and destroy anything in the name of intimidating free people and spreading their cruel and hateful dogmas. It is important for the United States – and free nations everywhere – to oppose these forces with strength and vigilance. Today, the United States must stand unequivocally with the people of France in their time of need and mourning. We must assist them to bring the perpetrators and sponsors of this act to justice.”

The Nightmare of our Lifetime: Gay Marriage is now LEGAL in Florida

Hope all is well on this “Week of Infamy” – as our beloved state of Florida – the one that we all love so dearly – is the latest to fall to the “depths of the demons”. Yes, just picture two men in full beards at some church (other than a Catholic Church) saying “I do” and the gutless presider saying “You can now kiss the bride”…Think about that for a minute. Let it sink in…and then, try to explain it to your 7 year-old son who confusingly asks: “Daddy, aren’t those two men up at the altar? Is that his best man?” “No, son, that is his husband – those two men are actually getting married to one another”…

Friends: If you are not sick to your stomach – disgusted to the nth degree about what is going on in our beloved United States of America with this “Same Sex Marriage Crap” – you need to check your pulse! If today’s front page in every single newspaper in the state of Florida did not make you want to throw up your breakfast – I don’t know what to tell you. I could not even read the front page of the Palm Beach Post this morning! I could not watch the News on TV. The way those anchors so enthusiastically shared this disgusting news with their viewers – as if they were all for it. Sickening. Appalling. Immoral. UnGodly. Sad state of affairs – all 36 of them…soon to be all 50…

When the “Dysfunctional Closet Emperor” took office 6 years ago, only 4 states legalized Gay Marriage. Today, it is 36…and counting. You can blame the liberal socialist in our White House for these shenanigans as that was a huge priority in his platform – Legalize Gay Marriage. And, he’s got 727 days left as a “dead duck” – I mean – “lame duck” – and GOD knows what else this Pro-abortion impostor has up his rolled up sleeves…

And, like I have said time and again – you want to be gay and jovial – that’s fine. I will never attack or condemn a person for his or her choice of sexual preference. I don’t agree with it, I know that it is immoral and unGodly – but, I will not attack them or judge them. I refuse to waste my time with that when I have so much to do. No, I am not “homo-phobic” – I just happen to be a devout follower of Jesus Christ. I know plenty of gay people. A couple of them re-did my closet…

You can say that you are in love with your same sex partner and want to have a marriage, a civil union, a relationship…that’s fine. But, when you tell me that you are getting married – and you refer to this Gay Marriage as a Holy Matrimony – one of our Blessed Sacraments – then, you will have to hold me back…You do NOT mess with Holy Matrimony when it comes to Same Sex Marriage because it CANNOT be a Holy Sacrament in the eyes of GOD…Holy Matrimony is the civil union between One Man and One Woman. Period. End of story…

That has been my stand on this fiasco that people refer to as Gay Marriage from Day I. Again, it cannot be a Holy Sacrament and the term Holy Matrimony cannot be in the same vocabulary. You want to get married for health benefits, to save money, to beat the system, to be flamboyant & rebellious and smear it in everybody’s face – that’s fine with me. Just do not come anywhere close to any of our “53” Catholic Churches in our Diocese to even think of getting married at one of our ever-sacred altars…That is Holy Ground…That is Jesus’ sacred territory…

Friends: I have already expressed my thoughts and stance on this Gay Marriage issue to Bishop Barbarito over a year ago when I met with him. And, like our beloved Bishop, everybody knows that if, indeed, I find out that one of our priests in our Catholic Diocese is going to be presiding in a Gay Marriage in any one of our churches – you are going to have to put me behind bars. As GOD as my witness, I will do everything in my power and spiritual being to NOT allow any same sex marriage happen in any of our Catholic churches! Not over my dead body…And, I pray to GOD that everybody who is reading this e-mail, is with me on this and has my back on this commitment. Let us Pray…

For the life of me, I still cannot comprehend how Gay Marriage has been legalized in “36” states in our beloved country. Like I have written time and again – only a mere “2%” of this country considers themselves Gay. Not 92%! That’s 2% of 318 million American citizens or 6,360,000 homosexuals living in the U.S. Then there is the 98% who are “straight” or 311,640,000. Isn’t that the majority? Doesn’t the majority in this Free Country rule? Let’s see: 2% of 50 states = 1 state. I can see how maybe one state – the state of California may have allowed Gay Marriages out of the 50 states – but, to have “36” states allowing this debacle to take place in this country…come on now – that is almost 75% of our states allowing Gay Marriages – clearly telling us that the mere 2% of this country calls the shots!! Gays Rule!!

Did we not have elections in 2008, 2012 and just recently in the mid-terms on November 4th, where the “majority” voted AGAINST Gay Marriage? I know for a fact, that we did in Florida. How can “5 liberal attorneys in black robes” (including Judge Hinkle), dictate what we can or cannot do in the state of Florida, when it comes to Gay Marriage? How can 5 liberals over-rule the Majority who voted AGAINST Gay Marriage in the state of Florida, after it was clearly declared that Florida does NOT recognize Gay Marriage? Will these same 5 liberal judges over-rule the majority who voted against Medical Marijuana this past November 4th election and legalize it next year? Where does one draw the line? Why in the hell are we voting???

Since 1973, the good, wholesome citizens in this country have been totally disrespected and not given a fair shake in trying to abide by our Constitution and in a “culture of life”. Thus, we have the atrocity of Abortion; the Curse of Common Core; the Fiasco of Obamacare; and now, queers getting married in our beloved Sunshine State…Queers…what a strange word…I thought that term went out in the 60’s. Now, it’s back to haunt us and it is beyond appalling…

Pam Bondi – Thank you for your relentless efforts! Our courageous, petite Attorney General fought this immoral non-sense tooth and nail to the end. I am not sure where everybody else was at. Where were the rest of our state leaders at – beginning with Governor Rick Scott? As governor of Florida, do you have any say in this matter? How can you possibly allow this to happen before your very own eyes when you know the way that voters voted against this fiasco? If the past 3 elections clearly showed that “we do not approve of Gay Marriage in Florida”, how come 5 liberal judges have the power to tell us straight people to take a hike? How can this happen in the United States of America? Where are the American citizen’s rights? Why is this corrupt system giving those “legal rights” to 2% of our country’s population while the majority of the other 98% have to suffer? How come we did not have a say in this matter, while it was just over-turned, and presto – Gay Marriage in Florida! Are you all with me? Am I missing something?

In closing, all I can say is that I feel for the generations to come. I feel for our beloved children. That is who I live for. Explaining abortion and Common Core to them has been a huge challenge. It is tough for a 10 year-old kid to comprehend that there are doctors (OBGYNs) in this world who can deliver a perfectly healthy baby on a Monday and say “It’s a boy”. And, then, have that same doctor (an abortionist), kill a perfectly healthy baby on Tuesday and say “It’s a job”…Now, try to explain to that same 10 year-old kid that it’s ok that those two men at the check-out counter in Publix are “normal” because they are affectionately kissing each other. “Yes, Johnny, those two men are legally married to one another. I know that it is an abomination in the eyes of GOD, but, it is perfectly normal in the eyes of those 5 liberal judges and a handful of liberal politicians who just ruined the state of Florida at midnight last night. That is why you are Catholic and you must continue to pray, be bold for your Faith and fight against the intrinsic evils of this society with all that you’ve got. In the end, good will prevail over evil – GOD over the devil…Let us Pray.

fl catholic bishops

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 5, 2015) – The Catholic Bishops of Florida have issued a statement addressing the redefinition of marriage in Florida to accommodate couples of the same sex.

The full statement follows:

Tomorrow, with the expiration of a stay on a U.S. District Court ruling, marriage licenses for same sex couples are being issued for the first time in our state. The Catholic bishops of Florida are deeply disappointed by Judge Hinkle’s ruling, as well as refusals by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States to stay the decision while appeals pend.

The conjugal nature of a marriage between a man and a woman has provided for millennia the basis for norms of marital exclusivity and permanence that made possible stable families necessary for human flourishing. In redefining marriage to include same sex couples, the judge has in effect overturned a state constitutional amendment approved by nearly 62% of the electorate in a 2008 ballot initiative.

How society understands marriage has great public significance. Because of this, redefining civil “marriage” to include two persons of the same sex will have far-reaching consequences in society. Such a change advances the notion that marriage is only about the affective gratification of consenting adults. Such a redefinition of marriage does nothing to safeguard a child’s right to a mother and father and to be raised in a stable family where his or her development and well-being is served to the greatest extent possible.

Redefinition of marriage will have implications not yet fully understood. The term “marriage” can be found in family law, employment law, trusts and estates, healthcare law, tax law, property law, and many others. These laws also affect and pervasively regulate public and private institutions including religious institutions, such as churches, schools, and hospitals. Besides the predictably disruptive effects, imposing this redefinition of marriage threatens both religious liberty and the freedom of individuals to conscientiously object as already seen in those states that have redefined marriage to accommodate same sex couples.

Marriage based on the complementarity of the sexes is the lifeblood of family, and family is the foundation of our society. The crisis that sadly the family is experiencing today will only be aggravated by imposing this redefinition of marriage. Society must rediscover the irreplaceable roles of both mother and father who bring unique gifts to the education and rearing of children.

For the benefit of society and the common good, the conjugal understanding of marriage between a husband and a wife and complementarity of a father and mother must be preserved so that the family can be a school of love, justice, compassion, forgiveness, mutual respect, patience and humility in the midst of a world darkened by selfishness and conflict.

Our parishes, family life offices and other ministries are available to assist those seeking to understand the truth and beauty of marriage and to assist husbands and wives to strengthen their bonds. Additional resources can be found at www.marriageuniqueforareason.org and www.foryourmarriage.org / www.portumatrimonio.org.

We look forward to the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States, where he will lead the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, from September 22-27, 2015. For each of us, our true glory is in our capacity to love as God loves; and no better means exists to teach the meaning of love than the family. May we speak the truth in love, and may family life led by father and mother flourish again in our state, nation and throughout the world.

The statement can be found online at: http://www.flaccb.org/statements/2015/150105Marriage.pdf

ABOUT THE FLORIDA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.

Take Back the Word “Liberal”

A resolution for 2015 by Jeffrey A. Tucker:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a bad mix.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post originally appeared at Liberty.me.

ABOUT JEFFREY A. TUCKER

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

NYC protest signs provided by the Revolutionary Communist Party USA

revolution-front-en

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

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

Who furnished the signs?

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

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

Egyptian President Calls For Islam To Grow Up

“I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.” – Gen. El Sisi

By Wallace Bruschweiler and Alan Kornman.

Sisi TimeEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi calls for Islam to ‘grow up’ and join the 21st Century in its “Islamic thinking” at the prestigious Al-Azhar University.

General al-Sisi is saying the current Islamic Thinking based on the texts and Islamic Law are “antagonizing the entire world” General al-Sisi understands that the current trajectory of the Islamic World is the major “source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction” for the rest of the non-Muslim world.

General al-Sisi, a devout Muslim, is telling all who will listen that his fellow Muslims who use terrorism, suicide bombings, beheadings, mass killings, violent expansionism and wish to kill and subjugate ‘the others’ to build a new caliphate so that they themselves may live, is Impossible!

“You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it from the outside, to root it out and replace it with a more enlightened vision of the world” General al-Sisi says.

General al-Sisi’s message will will capture the imagination of everyone who dreams of the day where the Muslim and non-Muslim world will find a common ground of mutual respect and the possibility of living in a more peaceful world.

Sisi MB WarningConversely, al-Sisi’s message will enrage those who support violent Islamic expansionism, totalitarianism, hatred of the non-Muslim, and subjugation of entire populations both Muslim and non-Muslim who do not follow the right form of Islam, whatever that may be.

Assuming President Obama does not openly support General al-Sisi’s call for Islam to join the 21st Century, we will know he is not a part of the solution. If American Islamic civil rights groups like (CAIR) Council On American Islamic Relations, (MSA) Muslim Students Association, (ISNA) Islamic Society of North America, (NAIT) North American Islamic Trust, (MAS)Muslim American Society, and (MB) The Muslim Brotherhood to name only a few, do not publicly support General al-Sisi’s call for change then they are a part of the problem.

We strongly suspect General al-Sisi’s message had been cleared with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Egyptian President General El Sisi – New Years Day Speech 2015 (Excerpt):

“I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma[Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!

That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!
Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it from the outside, to root it out and replace it with a more enlightened vision of the world.

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

Where do you and especially the so called silent majority of Muslims stand?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is courtesy of AFP.

The Bad Christian and the Good Secularist

“If not for my faith, I would be barely human.” That was the answer English writer Evelyn Waugh gave when asked, as all Christians will be at some point, how he could call himself a Christian given his behavior. Often rhetorical, the question is sometimes a ploy used to gain leverage and discredit the target by painting him as a hypocrite or to discredit the faith through guilt by association. Yet it can also be sincere, and it is then, especially, that it warrants a response.

The first thing to note about those who honestly ask the question is that they must think very highly of Christianity; if they didn’t, they’d merely assume you were acting wholly in accordance with your faith. This is the only thing that would explain — again, when the question is sincere — the higher standard to which they hold Christians. Others may exhibit the frailties and character flaws plaguing man, but they never hear “Such licentious behavior! How can you lay claim to hedonism?!” or, upon a loss of temper, “You call yourself a communist?!” Yet this raises a question: If Christianity provides this superior model for life, why don’t these secularists embrace it?

Don’t ask me why I’m a terrible Christian. Maybe I’m just a lost soul. Virtues are caught more than taught; actions speak louder than words.

Walk the walk and show me how it’s done.

Otherwise, you’re simply a Monday-night quarterback condemning the players when your only accomplishment is creating a buttock-shaped impression in upholstery.

Yet certain secularists may honestly find many Christians lacking. One reason for this is simple:

Christians are lacking.

The second reason, which I’ll address right now, has to do with something called mirroring.

When secularists take the measure of Christians and find them wanting, they generally don’t apply the yardstick of Christianity. They often, in fact, don’t even know what it is. If they did, they would recognize that their glass house is hardly an edifice from which to hurl holy stones; these secular critics, after all, are generally people of libertine morality and loose mouths, and their creed may not extend far beyond “If it feels good, do it.” What they are applying in their judgment are their values. Their statement “You’re not a good Christian” is, logically translated, “You’re not a good secularist.”

When considering this, note that secularists don’t trouble much over most of the Seven Deadly Sins; they usually can’t even name them (and lust and envy are in style). Rather, what earns their reprobation is some sub-category of wrath, which they may identify as “hate,” “intolerance” (incorrectly understood) or as merely a fit of pique or perturbation. And being that serene water of life is the image they have of the holy man, who they’d never thus describe but might rather call “enlightened”; just think of Kung Fu’s Kwai Chang Caine.

Yet this is a secular ideal forged on a good dose of Hollywood entertainment and eastern mysticism. Jesus wept, forgave, healed, resurrected and rendered parables of divine perspicacity. But He also called people hypocrites, “a den of vipers,” said to the apostle Peter “Get behind me, Satan!” and turned over the tables in the temple. It should be emphasized that He who Christianity tells us was, paradoxically, fully God and fully man was fully man. Jesus was not some eastern TV monk with a bare head and bare personality; He experienced a range of human emotions, each one in the right moment and measure.

As for those merely fully human, it is entirely common to mirror, to ascribe your own values and understanding of matters to others. This is why modern films may portray Jesus as if He were a flower child, just as, at the spectrum’s other end, movies about Adolf Hitler often portray him as a gruff, raving lunatic. Lost on these secular artists is that Hitler was known for personal charm, and Jesus could chastise. The Devil doesn’t appear with a pitchfork and horns and the holy don’t always sport visible halos; the demagogue tells you what you want to hear, the deific what you need to know. But it is a sad fact of man’s nature that people are more tolerant of clever lies than harshly spoken truths.

The point? It seldom occurs to these secularists that God’s dictates may be far different from their values (mostly because they don’t believe in God). In fact, were they close to such understanding, they wouldn’t even call their values “values.” God does not have values — He prescribes virtues.

Yet where the secularists are right is in that Christians do not thoroughly follow that prescription. This is not, however, an indictment of either faith or followers. Secularists’ criticism of Christians always amounts to, in so many words, “You’re really a bunch of sinners!” This is rather comical considering that Christianity teaches we’re all a bunch of sinners, with its holy book telling us “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Eastern mysticism may concern “finding the god in you”; Christianity is about accepting that you’re not God.

Delving deeper, Christians “may” not walk their walk as well as secularists walk theirs. But to condemn the Christian for this is much like saying that the man who never stumbles when playing the toddler’s game of putting geometrically shaped pegs in the appropriate holes is superior to the professional golfer who sometimes stumbles on the course. And to condemn Christianity for its adherents’ deficiencies would be like saying that ideal golf swing production is not an ideal because no one can ever and always live up to it.

What would indict Christianity?

If people could live up to it.

Then it could not be the Truth.

For how could someone ever conform to perfection?

So ironically, if you can truly live up to your faith, it’s not a faith worth living up to. Thus is the Christian a bit like the devoted golfer: He strives for the ideal of never making a mistake while knowing he can never achieve it.

In contrast, secularists are, in a sense, still playing with their pegs and holes of values. Although it certainly appears that they at least match Christians in failure to live up to what they profess, even if they didn’t, would it be anything about which to boast?

The issue is that their values pegs and holes really are theirs. That is to say, someone who believes in Absolute Truth (God’s will) will use it as his yardstick when seeking an answer to a moral question. But what if someone is an atheist (or simply a relativistic person of “faith”) and doesn’t believe in anything outside of and above man that determines right and wrong, doesn’t believe in Truth? He will then take Protagoras’ view that “man is the measure of all things,” and it then follows that there is no “morality” — only man’s preferences for behavior. This should inform as to what his yardstick for behavior will be.

“Reason” is not the answer because reason is not an answer; it is a method by which answers can be found. Thus, if there is no Moral Truth, there are no answers to be found in the arena of conduct and hence no reason for reason. So blind to Truth and having obviated the reason that could discern it, the average secularist has only one logical yardstick to use: emotion. “If it feels good, do it” — everything then boils down to occultist Aleister Crowley’s maxim “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

Why is this relevant here? Because the average secularist will often have values that, being emotion-born, are simply a reflection of himself, of his likes and dislikes, passions and prejudices. So how, then, could consistency in application of preferences be a legitimate source of pride? How could you be out of conformity with yourself? A yardstick never fails at being three feet long.

In reality, secularists still do manage contradiction. But why shouldn’t they? In a relativistic universe, consistency is no better than hypocrisy, a lie no worse than Truth. And even when hearts are in the right place, being governed by feelings can’t yield consistency because emotion changes with the wind. Secularists would be their own measuring stick, one that can always judge them sinless because they are always the length they are — whatever that happens to be at the moment.

Of course, there are secularists who may, in absolute terms, be better people than a given Christian. But this just returns us to Evelyn Waugh’s sage admission. What are the person’s moral proclivities? We wouldn’t dismiss ideal golf instruction because an untalented, all-thumbs duffer who received it wasn’t as good as a natural who got the Devil’s guidance. And a wise person respects those who make the most of their relatively limited potential, moral or otherwise, more than one blessed with the most ethereal talents but who buries them in the ground. “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” Perhaps that “bad Christian” is just a far worse person with a far better faith. And if you can’t thank God, perhaps you should thank your lucky stars for it. It could be the reason why he just yelled at you and didn’t put you in a gulag, burn you in a pyre or chop your head off.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Is God Behind Ominous Signs for 2015?

Only He can do the Solar Eclipse and Passover Blood Moon.

The unique timing of a solar and lunar eclipse to mark the beginning of the biblical year in the spring is an omen of when He did so in Egypt when judgment fell as Israel put blood on their doorpost two weeks later at Passover. This spring’s Passover will see a “blood moon”–a token of judgment?

Wasn’t it God who said, “The sun shall be darkened and the moon turned into blood before…the day of the Lord,” Joel 2:31. It will happen this spring!

Furthermore, the solar eclipse on March 20 and a “blood moon” two weeks later on Passover supports this year as a unique parallel to Exodus 12:2 when God indicated the beginning of the biblical year and two weeks later, Israel put blood on their doorposts for Passover, verse 7.

And what is Passover? It’s a time of judgment. God said then, “I will execute judgment,” Exodus 12:12. Will He do it for America?

Billy Graham said, If God waits much longer, He will have to apologize to Sodom. Many cultures have a problem with homosexuality, but Sodom “paraded” it, Isaiah 3:9, NIV. Welcome to the US where gay parades flaunt sin as Sodom did.

When asked about the sins of “the end of the world,” Christ said to “learn a parable of the fig tree,” Matthew 24:32. A day or so earlier He had cursed a fig tree that offered promise of fruit because of its many leaves and the nature of the tree in that locality, but it, like the Jewish nation then, was fruitless with empty promises.

Can we see any parallel to America today? Given great light and a Constitution like the 10 Commandments that favors self-government so there is little need for others to tell us what to do. But preachers failed America as they depreciated the 10 Commandments as the works of the law that do not save us.

It’s true that we can’t earn salvation by keeping the 10 Commandments, but as a standard to live by, we need them and we need government to support them, but we have a “Supreme Court” that favors opposing principles destined for the take-down of America.

The majority of the Supreme Court justices are Catholic and the majority of congress is catholic (little “c”–not Roman Catholic, but universal—go along to get along, with no stand except for political gain.) And how we got a Muslim bisexual in the White House with a fabricated birth certificate is amazing.

Just as Christ gave a sign of the times by cursing a fruitless fig tree and the next day it was withered, we are about to see a rapid withering of America with an onset of judgment. Many have predicted it, including Billy Graham, but it has to have biblical timing.

Harold Camping was probably right with his idea of http://MayJudgmentDay.com but wrong to connect his May date to a rapture and he didn’t have the advantage of the unique timing for the solar and lunar eclipses that will mark this spring.

EDITORS NOTE: Dr. Richard Ruhling offers a dozen parallels of the US to Egypt, that received the plagues of God’s judgments, in his ebook, Exodus 2, available as a gift on Saturday, January 3 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EN63UR2 He also offers The Fall of America free January 3 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L1V2I84 (both 99 cents regular price)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jerry Gordon

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

Dr. Michael Welner

Dr. Michael Welner:  My pleasure, as always.

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

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

1) What is the nature of the crime; and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welner:  You’re welcome.

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

Tom Trento and Friends Predictions and Resolutions 2015 (Part 2)

PREDICTIONS & RESOLUTIONS from friends of The United West.

WOW, what a great two-part show we have for our listeners and viewers scheduled for Jan 1 & 2! We reached out to newsmakers, activists, patriots, Zionists and warriors for the Judeo-Christian worldview and asked them two questions: What RESOLUTIONS do you have for 2015 and what geopolitical PREDICTIONS do you have for 2015?

You will be amazed at the responses we got from our distinguished guests who range from military Generals to homemakers who are hard-core Tea Party activists!

Tune in, sit back, enjoy and oh, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

To watch Part I click here.

Is Legalizing Marijuana a Solution to Unfair Drug Arrests?

Kelsey Harkness, news producer at The Daily Signal reports and asks:

One reason advocates argue for the legalization of marijuana is that arrests for possession of the drug fall disproportionately on young black men, which has the potential of ruining their lives and creating new generations of criminals.

Are they right?

Kevin A. Sabet, a leading voice against legalizing pot, recently spoke with The Daily Signal to share his take.

“I don’t think young black men or anybody should get a criminal record for low-level use,” Sabet said, adding:

I don’t think we should use our law enforcement time jailing or imprisoning marijuana users. But to solve that problem, you don’t need to go to the other extreme of creating big tobacco 2.0.

ABOUT KEVIN A. SABET

Kevin A. Sabet served in the Obama administration as senior adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and also worked in the Clinton (2000) and Bush (2002-2003) administrations. He is co-founder of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida.

Alex Anderson co-produced this video. 

Portrait of Kelsey Harkness

@kelseyjharkness

Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey Harkness is a news producer at The Daily Signal. Send an email to Kelsey.

RELATED ARTICLE: Busting the Myth That Marijuana Doesn’t Kill, in 1 Minute