Border Fiasco: “Some in military want to take Obama out”

jerry boykin

Lt. Gen. William Boykin, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Obama’s boarder mess, using children to violate the laws of America and holding Obama accountable is a growing cry among Americans. Even black Americans.

According to Political Ears reports, “A retired three star General Officer recently stated he knows of certain unnamed individuals within the Armed Forces of having at least considered the possibility of an armed coup d’état aimed directly at of Barack Obama, as reported by the on-line news portal Government Executive on Nov. 4, 2013.”

“People I’ve spoken to would like to see the military ‘fulfill their constitutional duty and take out the president,’ ” retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin told World Net Daily, a website best known for pushing Obama “birther” conspiracy theories. “Our Constitution puts a civilian in charge of the military and as a result a coup would not be constitutional. You’re not going to see a coup in the military.”

“Countless people … will hate the new world order … and will die protesting against it.” — H.G. Wells, The New World Order (1940).

[youtube]http://youtu.be/0pZcru3mZKg[/youtube]

 

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Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin and LTC Allen West Honor Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn and Operation 300

Operation 300 is a registered 501(c)3 not for profit organization that hosts adventure camps for children who have lost their fathers as a result of military service.

The camps provide an opportunity to participate in activities that embody the spirit of adventure that characterized the lives of their absent fathers while fostering a culture of courage, strength, freedom, endurance, honor and godly morality embodied by fearless patriots throughout the history of our American Republic.

Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin Honors SOC Aaron Vaughn and Operation 300

About Operation 300

On August 6th, 2011, our family awakened to the reality of tragedy that so many families have lived. My bigger-than-life brother, Aaron Carson Vaughn, was KIA. Those letters seemed insufficient to describe the fullness of their meaning. Nevertheless, it was true. As we muddled through the next few months of this new life without him, we had a strong to desire to somehow add value to our great loss.

Aaron was a man’s man, but a child at heart. He always made everyone laugh and was constantly forcing us all to join in his child like shenanigans. We happily obliged. He was always up for an adventure and lived everyday to the fullest. His love of God, family and country was unparalleled. He truly had the heart of a warrior.

It is only fitting that to honor him, we give kids who have lost so much the opportunity to live like Aaron…if only for a short time.

In the initial months after Aaron’s death we became acutely aware of the love our community shared for not only Aaron, but all of those like him. Because of their support and partnership we are able to bring this dream to life.

In everything we do, we seek first to bring glory to our Lord Jesus, and second to honor Aaron and his legacy.

-Tara Vaughn Baldwin

Lt. Colonel Allen West Honors Operation 300 and SOC Aaron Vaughn

About Aaron Carson Vaughn

boykin trento west

LTG Jerry Boykin (L), Tom Trento and LTC Allen West at Operation 300 event.

Elite Navy SEAL, Aaron Carson Vaughn, was killed August 6, 2011 when a Chinook chopper carrying 30 American troops was shot down in Afghanistan. Aaron had just celebrated his 30th birthday.

After serving in SEAL Team One for many years, Special Operations Chief Vaughn, in May of 2010, began rigorous selection and training with Naval Special Warfare Development Group . He endured several months of the most rigorous training offered in the military and upon successful completion reported to Development and Evaluation Squadron Three in December 2010. Aaron completed numerous deployments around the world, including several combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

He was a highly decorated combat veteran with numerous awards including the Joint Service Achievement Medal with Valor, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Expeditionary) Medal, and numerous other personal and unit decoration. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star Medal with Valor.

The Growing Shadow of ISIS

This report by Ilana Freedman and Jerry Gordon is republished from New English Review —

As the chaos in the Middle East continues to churn towards regional meltdown, the complexity of the situation seems to have the West at a total loss. Nations once known as world leaders, most notably the United States, appear unable to even understand the cast of players. No viable policy that could effectively counteract the forces at play has emerged. Into that vacuum has rushed a flood of Islamist terrorist groups, fighting each other as well as the offending governments they have chosen to attack. It happened in Libya, then in Syria, in the Sinai, and most recently in Iraq.

The confrontations developing in the Middle East are the predictable outcome of the so-called “Arab Spring,” coupled with weak American leadership which has empowered Islamists throughout the world to challenge the West at every opportunity. They know that the West will not respond.

The “Arab Spring” began in Tunisia in 2010, and raced through Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, and other countries with large or predominantly Muslim populations whether Arab or not. The movement was later renamed the “Arab Awakening,” but changing the name didn’t change its Sunni Islamic character.

The common thread throughout these rolling revolutions that cut such a broad swath of the Muslim world was the dramatic shift from largely secular autocracies to Islamist-dominated governments. Uprisings that began naïvely as movements to promote democratic government, devolved into bloody and chaotic wars, spanning the region from West Africa to Malaysia. In many cases they installed new Islamist leaders governing under strict Shari’ah law.

Deeply imbedded and often covert in these conflicts is Shi’ah Iran and its proxies such as Hezbollah, hell-bent to generate chaos; presumably the chaos Shi’ah Muslims believe will precede the coming of the 12th Imam. On the other side are scores of Sunni groups, fighting the Shi’ah in Iraq, Assad in Syria, and each other wherever they can.

One of the most notorious of these is ISIS, the Islamic State of al-Sham (Syria) also known as ISIL (Islamic State of the Levant). Its reputation for fearlessness, brutal savagery, and radical Islamist ideology has created a serious new threat to the West.

Background

isis flagISIS evolved from a group founded by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2004. He gave the group the improbably long name of “The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of Two Rivers.” In 2006, the name was changed to the simpler “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI). Then, in 2012, after entering the conflict in Syria to challenge both the forces of the ruling Assad and the various opposition groups, secular and Islamist, ISI was changed to ISIS. Thus including Syria and reflecting its expanded goals, ISIS moved further away from the core al Qaeda agenda that did not embrace the Caliphate as a primary goal.

While the group’s original aim was to establish an Islamic caliphate in the regions of Iraq where there is a Sunni-majority, once the group became involved in the Syrian war, this mission was expanded to include controlling the Sunni-majority areas in northern Syria. In the course of ISIS’ expansion and successes in Syria, they opened a second front in Iraq. ISIS smashed through city after city and took a huge swath of the country from the north to central Iraq in the largely Sunni areas. The goal was expanded to attacks on the Syrian border to blur the boundaries between Iraq and Syria that could facilitate a merger into a single Islamist state.

On June 29, 2014, ISIS took a major step to achieve its goals. It formally announced the establishment of the Caliphate, naming Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the “Caliph for all Muslims.” In a recorded message distributed online, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani said, “The Shura [council] of the Islamic State met and discussed [the caliphate] . . . . The Islamic State decided to establish an Islamic caliphate and to designate a caliph for the state of the Muslims . . . . The jihadist cleric Baghdadi was designated the caliph of the Muslims. . . . The leader of Muslims everywhere.”

Little is known about the shadowy figure of al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du’a. His name is a nom de guerre, and his real name is unknown. According to the US State Department, Baghdadi was born in Samarra, Iraq in 1971. He took over command of ISIS in 2010 after two of its commanders were killed in a US-Iraqi raid. In 2011, the US Treasury designated him a terrorist. Within ISIS, he is known as a battlefield commander and tactician, however his current whereabouts, like his history, is a matter for speculation. The US believes he is living in Syria, but others are certain he is in Iraq.

With the announcement came the news that the name of the organization was changed once again, this time to “The Islamic State.” The organization has called on al-Qa’eda and other jihadist Sunni factions to pledge their allegiance to the new Caliphate.

This is a stunning turn of events. In fact, its importance cannot be overstated. This one event has the power to galvanize the Sunni Muslim world in a way that has never happened before. However, it also has the power to enrage some of the Sunni jihadist groups, like al Qaeda, who are not likely to accept a role subservient to ISIS. Even worse, Shi’ah nations like Iran would never agree to show fealty to a Sunni caliphate. Their respective responses could well start a new round of conflicts and internecine terrorism unlike anything we have ever seen. Much depends on how responsible the leaders of the Muslim world will be in keeping the conflict of ideologies from exploding into war. If history is any gauge, there is little room for optimism.

ISIS has been infamous for the vicious brutality that has characterized its operations, and has left a trail of bloody horror behind it in Iraq and Syria, including crucifixions, mass murders, and dismemberment.  It would be unrealistic to expect them to care much about the welfare of the Muslim masses should conflict break out as a result of their announcement. Whatever happens next, it is not likely to be business as usual.

ISIS Funding

isis fundingOne of the most stunning changes for ISIS over the last year has been its rapid accumulation of wealth. Just as the group has surged in strength and prominence in Iraq and Syria in recent months, it has unquestionably become the wealthiest terrorist organization in the world, with an estimated worth of $5-7 billion. This wealth was acquired in several ways.

Among the most notable and colorful was the sacking of the Central Bank in Mosul in early June 2014. When Iraqi soldiers fled the bank they were supposed to protect, they left it wide open for ISIS. The terrorists seized $429 million, much of it in gold bullion. According to a CFR report, it is believed that supporters in Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have provided “the bulk of past funding.”

Another key source of ongoing revenues for ISIS, however, has been extortion from the populations wherever it takes control. Even before moving into a town or city, it demands “taxes” from local businesses. In this fashion, it is estimated that they have been able to net more than $8 million a month.

For the residents, the choice of whether or not to pay the “taxes” is simple. Failure to comply with these extortion efforts, or failure to pay on time, can result in penalties that include murder, kidnapping, and the destruction of their property. ISIS’ reputation for unspeakable brutality keeps their victims in line. All commercial activities in the areas controlled by ISIS are without exception, subject to ISIS’ extortion demands.

Other forms of revenue generation include drug trafficking, smuggling, theft, and looting.

Living Under ISIS Control

isis-terroristsThe harshest forms of Shari’ah law are imposed on those living under ISIS control. They include mandatory prayer in a mosque five times a day and required female “modesty” for all women, which means that every woman is forced to wear the full, body-covering chador. 

In return, ISIS provides the population with social services, including health and welfare programs, bread factories, and food distributions to needy families. Unlike the Taliban, ISIS participates in polio-vaccination campaigns for local children. They have also established a number of religious schools for children, including schools for girls, and live-in “training camps” for “cub scouts.” Another part of ISIS’ governance is to provide for infrastructure construction and repairs.

ISIS has established a Consumer Protection Authority that has forced shops, supermarkets, and even kebab stands to close for selling poor quality products. They have burned cartons of cigarettes (considered Haram or forbidden in radical Islam), and desecrated graves and shrines they consider blasphemous. That includes the famous Uways al-Qurani shrine in Raqqa, which they blew up in a massive explosion.

In contradiction to their program of social services, the ISIS form of jurisprudence is extreme and harsh. ISIS has whipped people for minor infractions such as insulting a neighbor, cut off  the hands of those caught stealing, and summarily executed and crucified individuals for apostasy.

New Sources of Power

In recent weeks, ISIS has demonstrated an alarming show of power in Iraq, taking much of the world by surprise, and expanding its power in a number of ways.

Strategic partnering.   The first has been through strategic alliances to achieve the conquest of Iraq and Syria. In the latest surge southward in Iraq, ISIS forged alliances with 41 different groups as they moved their forces south towards Baghdad.

In addition to alliances with smaller groups like the Islamic Army, a Sunni rebel faction, ISIS teamed up with the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order. This group was created in 2007 by former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party. Led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam’s former deputy, the Naqshbandi still enjoy considerable prestige in Iraq. They are thought to have thousands of soldiers, including many who were members of the Iraqi army before the U.S. invasion. Although their leaders seem to have a great deal of influence over ISIS, the relationship is more expedient than ideological.  It is not likely to last, particularly given the announcement of the Caliphate and all of the religious connotations that accompany it.

In April 2013, Baghdadi declared a merger between ISI and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria. He said that al-Nusra was “merely an extension and part of the Islamic State of Iraq.” But Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda, annulled the merger, ostensibly to end the increased tensions and infighting between the two groups. In a letter addressed to both leaders, he ordered ISI to limit its operations to Iraq. But Baghdadi responded by producing a video in which he announced the creation of ISIS, ushering in the beginning of new growth and power for the organization.

In addition to the alliances it has made, ISIS has also recruited thousands of fighters from the Arab world, Europe and North America, to join the fight in Syria and Iraq.

Applying Its Wealth.   Over the last year, ISIS has significantly expanded its clout through the acquisition of massive wealth, and the judicious use of its treasury – using its multi-billion dollar exchequer as a very powerful weapon. With it, ISIS has acquired resources, weapons, and influence. Combined with their ruthlessness, they have been able to command most of the areas they have set out to conquer, acquiring dominance over northern Syria and much of northern Iraq.

Acquisition of Lethal Weaponry.   Prior to 2014, ISIS suffered from a severe shortage of weapons as they faced the US-equipped Iraqi military forces. Once they launched their assault on Fallujah in January, however, the situation changed dramatically. Iraqi soldiers fled before them, leaving their weapons behind and their armories unsecured. As ISIS overran police stations and security posts, they helped themselves to stores of US weaponry and vehicles, including Humvees, which had been left behind by departing US troops. The Humvees have been seen driving around in places as far away as Aleppo, Syria, 250 miles away, filled with well-armed ISIS fighters.

Although there is no official accounting of how many weapons ISIS has acquired during the last six months, the numbers seem to be huge. Ahmad Dabaash, spokesman for the Islamic Army quipped, “Praise God, we soon had enough weapons to fight for one or two years!”

In an alarming turn of events, it was reported on June 19 that ISIS had overrun the Saddam Hussein-era al-Muthanna chemical weapons complex 60 miles north of Baghdad. This coup gave them access to hundreds of tons of potentially deadly poisons, including mustard and sarin gas.

ISIS has shown itself to be technologically competent, as well as brutal and ruthless. The possession of so much lethal material in their hands portends dire situations for those they consider dispensable.

Proliferation.   ISIS’ forays into Syria, laid the groundwork for rapid growth. Their particular style of conquest through rape, torture, and murder have made them feared and hated. That has enabled them to gain strength through fear, to build their war chest, and to set their sights on Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and beyond.

Most recently, they have appeared unexpectedly in Gaza. On June 29, 2014 mourners at a funeral in Gaza were observed carrying the black and white flags of ISIS for one of the two terrorists, whose body was also draped in an ISIS flag. The two terrorists had been targeted in an Israeli airstrike for firing rockets from Gaza into populated areas of Israel. It was the first time that public signs of support for ISIS have been seen in Gaza, which is strictly controlled by Hamas, another Sunni Islamist terrorist group. Because it is customary for the body of a “martyr” to be buried in the flag of his organization, the fact that the terrorist’s body was wrapped in the ISIS flag would suggest a more than casual affiliation with the group.

In addition, the Egyptian Army claims that 15 ISIS operatives infiltrated the Sinai over the weekend of June 28th, but were captured, and that other ISIS fighters have been entering the Sinai from Gaza via tunnels. Hamas has flatly denied these allegations because it demonstrates their lack of control in the areas they are supposed to govern. However, the infiltration of Sinai, a terrorist playground, would be consistent with ISIS’ aim to expand its domain as far as possible. It also puts it in firing distance from every Islamist’s arch enemy, Israel.

Determined to destroy the national boundaries created in the Arab world following the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, which established British and French spheres of influence in the Middle East after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI, ISIS has begun to institute the part of its plan that will blur the borders between Iraq and its neighbors, in order to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate to rule over a united Sunni territorial base.

In a bold move to achieve that goal, ISIS has not only attacked and captured several border crossings between Iraq and Syria, it has also attacked the only border crossing between Iraq and Jordan, another target of ISIS in its program to consolidate the entire Sunni Muslim region into a single Caliphate.

The continued activity of ISIS as it moves towards its goals, and the continued silence of the West, does not bode well for the region or the world. A video allegedly shot by ISIS terrorists at a captured Iraqi border post on the Syrian border shows captured Iraqi soldiers and vehicles, while an English-speaking fighter reaffirms the declaration of an Islamic Caliphate. (Watch the video here)

“This is not the first border we will break,” he says. “God will break all barriers….Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon…all of them until we reach Quds (Jerusalem). This is the first of many barriers we will break.”

ISIS on Israel’s Doorstep

Israeli soldier stands guard under an Israeli national flag during a tour made by Israeli parliament members in the Jordan Valley near the Jewish settlement of Maale EfrayimISIS is more than just a political threat in the sectarian turmoil of the Middle East. That was recognized in comments by  New York Rep. Peter King on ABC’s This Week that President Obama should be “very very aggressive” about ISIS. He was most immediately concerned about protecting our Embassy in Baghdad with 800 US security troops. There are also 300 US military advisors engaged in assessing what to do to bolster a divided Shiite-dominated military and government in Iraq. The al-Maliki government is now being supported by drones which are gathering intelligence and air strikes from Iran’s Quds Force.

King was also concerned about the estimated 100 American jihadis reported to be fighting with ISIS. ISIS has enticed them with English language weekly and annual reports and videos. My co-host, Lisa Benson, on the weekly Lisa Benson Show program, commented off–line about the plethora of such sophisticated ISIS social media that is published daily. That brought back memories of the successful 2008 campaign to get Google to shut down al Qaeda jihadist training websites.

The Administration for its part looks like the proverbial deer frozen in the headlights of ISIS. Last week, it floated the belated idea of funding $500 million to train “moderate” Sunni rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war. This is a civil war that looks increasingly like a stalemate between ISIS and the Assad forces, backed by Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force with support from Putin’s Russia.

That Administration proposal may be more than a day late and a dollar short. Given that such aid would not even begin until 2015, should Congress approve it, it may be totally beside the point. We had reports in mid-June from Der Spiegel and other sources that the some CIA-trained rebel fighters in Jordan opted to join ISIS, given its stunning successes. We are likely to find that this is more the rule than the exception, as those we have trained opt for the success of ISIS’ terrorist activity.

As Dan Diker, Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism  in Israel, pointed out on the June 29, 2014  Lisa Benson Show, according to a Times of Israel report, anti-Assad Sunni rebels may control 95 percent of the Syrian Golan Heights which now is peppered with groups of fighters from various groups, including the Free Syrian Army, the Islamist Ahrar el Sham, the al Qaeda-linked al Nusrah, and in the town of Daraa, a contingent of ISIS, which is generally collaborating with al Nusrah, at least in this area.

Mudar Zahran on the same program noted that the Islamic Action Front (IAF), Jordan’s main Islamist political party and the political arm of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, which is largely Bedouin, is the strongest organized Islamist group in Jordan, and the only one represented in Jordan’s parliament. He drew attention to the daily pitched battles in the southern town of Ma’an between Jordanian security forces and local tribal supporters of the IAF flying ISIS flags. Ma’an is located less than three kilometers from Israel’s frontier. The headline in a Washington Post report on the turmoil in Ma’an read, “Jordan fears homegrown ISIS more than invasion from Iraq.”

The security of Jordan as a buffer state, as Diker pointed out, is foremost on the agenda of Israel‘s national security. We note the comments in The Times of Israel by former Israeli security cabinet strategic advisor Gen. Yaakov Amidror, who said that Israel should bolster the defense of Jordan against the ISIS onslaught. At the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS) of Tel Aviv University, on June 29, 2014, Israeli PM Netanyahu underlined these security issues. He talked about support for an Independent Kurdistan and completing a security fence along Israel’s eastern frontier from the Golan to Eilat. Netanyahu said:

The forces of fanatical Islam are already knocking on our door and Israel needs to be proactive to bolster its defense against enemy infiltration.

The first thing that we need to do is to build a security fence on our eastern border, and to build it gradually all the way from Eilat to merge with the security fence that we’ve been building over the last two years in the Golan Heights,” he said. “That fence does not hermetically prevent infiltration; it doesn’t prevent shooting through the fence as we saw tragically just a week ago; it doesn’t prevent barrages of missiles over it, or the digging of tunnels underneath it. But it does narrow down dramatically that permeation on Israel’s border.

Netanyahu also recognized internal threats to Israel’s security at a June 29, 2014 cabinet meeting. He announced that he would move to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamist Movement, whose leader, Sheikh Read Salah, has proposed to establish a Caliphate on the Temple Mount. In October 2013, we wrote in the Iconoclast post about Israeli Arab adherents of Sheik Salah joining up with anti-Assad Al Qaeda rebel forces in Syria. On June 27, 2014, there were rallies organized by Salah and his Islamist adherents in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm. They were protesting the raids by the IDF in Operation Brother’ s Keeper, and denying Hamas’ abduction of the three slain youths. Rock throwing by protesters was broken up Israeli riot police with tear gas and sound bombs. Netanyahu noted:

[The northern branch of the Islamist Movement] constantly preaches against the State of Israel and its people. [The Islamist Movement] publicly identifies with terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Therefore, I directed the relevant authorities to consider declaring the northern branch of the Islamic Movement as an illegal organization. This would give the security authorities significant tools in the struggle against the movement.

In May 2014, Netanyahu had been thwarted in such a move against the northern branch of the Islamist Movement by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnua, because these enemies of the Jewish State are citizens. They are represented in Israel’s Knesset by Arab parties, espousing pro-Palestinian positions verging on sedition.

Israel is faced with difficult choices. With ISIS moving southward towards its northern border, and developing a presence at its southern border, the list of Islamic terrorist groups staging around the Jewish state is growing and becoming increasingly emboldened. The recent kidnapping and murders of three Jewish teens by Hamas may only be the beginning of a new campaign to destroy Israel from without and within.

ISIS Threat to the Netherlands and the Draconian Solution

Soeren Kern presented the reality of the ISIS threat to the Netherlands drawn from a Dutch intelligence (AIVD) report to the Hague Parliament in a Gatestone Institute article,Dutch Jihadists in Syria Pose Threat to the Netherlands. He wrote:

AIVD says the age of Dutch jihadists is decreasing constantly and the number of women in this group is growing. Most of the fighters are of Moroccan descent, although some are from Bosnia, Somalia, and Turkey. Many of the Dutch jihadists are second-generation immigrants who were born in the Netherlands. They mostly come from the Dutch cities of Delft, Rotterdam, Zeist, and The Hague.

The vast majority of Dutch jihadists in Syria have joined one of two rebel groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] or Jabhat al-Nusra [JaN]. AIVD believes that at least ten individuals from the Netherlands were killed in 2013, including two Dutch jihadists who blew themselves up in suicide attacks (one in Syria and one in Iraq).

More than 100 Dutch Muslims traveled to Syria in 2013 with the intention of taking part in jihadist activities there. At least 20 battle-hardened jihadists have since returned to the Netherlands, posing a significant threat to national security, according to a new report published by AIVD.

The AIVD annual report for 2013 was presented by Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk and AIVD head Rob Bertholee in The Hague on April 23, 2014. In contrast to previous years, when the main security threat was deemed to be a cyber-attack, the principal concern in this year’s report is the mounting threats posed by the returning jihadists, as well as by Muslim hate preachers who are using the Internet to radicalize young Dutch Muslims and incite them to violence.

The report warns that the presence of European fighters in Syria provides the jihadist groups active there with an “excellent opportunity to recruit individuals familiar with our region to commit acts of terrorism here.” In addition, returnees could “exploit their status as veterans to radicalize others in the Netherlands.” Overall, AIVD’s primary concern is about the radicalizing influence that Dutch jihadists will exert on Muslim communities in the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) has raised the visibility of the Jihadist threat from mass Muslim emigration in a series of campaigns over a decade that have placed him under 24/7 protection of the Royal Dutch Protective Services. He has been subjected to prosecution for violating hate speech laws in the Netherlands from which he won acquittal in a landmark case in 2011. Wilders in a Gatestone Institute article, “Terrorists among Us” proposed ten steps to combat it in the Netherlands which might be considered elsewhere in the West:

  1. automatically strip immigrants with dual nationalities of their Dutch passports if they leave our country to fight for Islam in Syria;
  2.  immediate administrative detention of those fighters who have already returned;
  3. the reintroduction of border controls ceded when it joined the EU;
  4.  halt immigration of people from Islamic countries. International treaties prohibiting these measures should either be modified or terminated;
  5. encouragement of voluntary repatriation of people originating from Islamic countries;
  6. deal severely with the supporters of the fighters in Syria. Mosques, Islamic schools and other organizations that provide financial or other support to those who go to fight in Syria must be closed down immediately;
  7. spend more money on security. Money that is currently being wasted on development aid would better be spent on the AIVD (the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service);
  8. stop Dutch military intervention in the Islamic world and focus on the protection of the Netherlands;
  9. support Israel and stimulate economic relations with the Jewish state. Israel is the front line in the fight against jihad. If Israel falls, the West falls; and
  10. break diplomatic relations with countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar that support terrorist groups like ISIS.

In support of these draconian measures, Wilders cites a recent poll taken in the Netherlands.

Among the poll’s findings:

  1. 82 per cent of the Dutch believe that jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq increase the risk of an attack in the Netherlands;
  2. 76 per cent favor stripping jihadists of their Dutch nationality;
  3.  67 per cent want to introduce border controls to prevent them from returning;
  4. 75 per cent want additional manpower for the AIVD;
  5. 65 per cent of all Dutch believe that Islamic culture does not belong in the Netherlands.

Conclusion

The declaration by ISIS of a Caliphate bestriding Syria and Iraq has been a wakeup call to the West. Israel has ISIS on its doorstep while the Netherlands has realized that Muslim mass emigration has spawned dangerous Jihadis in its midst. The Obama Administration continues to hold a myopic view about the threat, while some in Congress are raising the alarm that it must be addressed in order to protect the country’s national security interests. The question is whether the West has the resolve to take the hard steps suggested by Wilders. The ISIS Caliphate’s declaration means that the West will have to defend itself from jihadis inside and from a veritable terrorist army that has planted itself on their doorstep.

ABOUT ILANA FREEDMAN

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst with more than twenty years in the field of Islamic terrorism. Trained in Israel, where she lived for sixteen years, Freedman is now an independent counter-terrorism security consultant and edits an occasional blog called the FreedmanReport.com.  

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Florida State Attorney Angela Corey wrongfully prosecuting lawful gun owners

Florida has over a million citizens who have valid concealed carry permits issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture. The eligibility requirements are strict as are those reasons which make one ineligible for a concealed carry permit. It appears that those who carry are being increasingly prosecuted by State Attorney Angela B. Corey from the 4th Judicial Circuit.

State Attorney Corey’s website states:

As your State Attorney, I am charged with upholding the United States Constitution, as well as the Constitution and Statutes of the great and sovereign State of Florida, as they relate to the prosecution of crimes committed against our citizens. By adhering to this standard we will vigorously pursue justice for all victims of crimes while maintaining the rights of every individual.

In an email the Florida TEA Party states, “Florida Assistant Attorney Generals and Local State Prosecutors are out of control in fighting against the Second Amendment. Once again the anti-gun elements in the Florida Attorney General’s office are attempting to scuttle the appeal in the case of Norman v. State. The Norman case is the only viable case in the country arguing for recognition of the constitutional right to open carry.”

Norman v. State (FL) is the case of Dale Norman, a law abiding concealed carry licensee, who was arrested on February 19, 2012 and prosecuted in Fort Pierce, FL for violating Florida nearly complete ban on Open Carry after his otherwise lawfully carried handgun unknowingly became unconcealed while walking down the street the first time he carried outside his home with his new Florida concealed carry license. Watch the video of the arrest of Dale Norman:

According to the Florida TEA Party, “Since the appeal was first brought, the West Palm Beach Office of the Attorney General has repeatedly attempted to derail the case based on procedural arguments that the lower court did not properly certify its questions of great public importance. The AG’s office even appealed the case to the Florida Supreme Court in an attempt to keep the Fourth District Court of Appeals from hearing the case. They want the case heard by a Circuit Court where a recognition of the right to carry will not have state-wide effect and will be decided by only one local judge. A request was sent to the Assistant Attorney General in Palm Beach asking them to consent to the lower Court amending its judgement to include the certified question in the order of Judgement and Sentence to correct the AG’s claimed procedural defect that may exist.”

The response: We (the Attorney General’s Office) will take “no position”…

Florida Carry notes, “The Second Amendment question is fairly straightforward; Florida courts have clearly found that the carrying of a concealed firearm is a privilege, subject even to being banned completely, not a right protected by the constitution. Florida appellate courts have held that the ‘Retroactive application of (new Florida Statutes), is not unconstitutional because a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm is a privilege and not a vested right.’ Crane v. Department of State, 547 So. 2d 266 (Fla. 1989). The Florida Legislature and Supreme Court have long recognized that there is a right to bear arms outside of the home. The ‘privilege of a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm’ recognized in Crane cannot replace, or substitute for, the fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.”

“No credible organization could question the pro-gun record of Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi who has signed on to support many important federal amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court that were filed by other state’s AGs, but her own office is apparently in need some deep house cleaning. The ruling and intent of the lower court is clear, that this case be reviewed by a panel of appellate court judges as a matter of great public importance that impacts thousands of law enforcement officers and millions of gun owners,” notes the Florida TEA Party.

There are two other cases that various Florida pro-Second Amendment organizations are involved with involving concealed carry permit holders In State Attorney Corey’s jurisdiction. In the first case, a man was arrested on his own front porch for having a handgun in a closed bag, while finishing moving. State Attorney Corey’s office claims that it was no longer his home, since he was moving, and is prosecuting him for a felony. In the second, a Florida concealed weapons licensee has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for an open carry ban violation after his shirt rode up over his holster in a store exposing his firearm.

The Florida TEA Party is asking its members to contact Attorney General Bondi and make their thoughts known. Attorney General Bondi may be contacted by using an email form, via Facebook, and on Twitter.

UPDATE 6/25/2014: Florida Representative Ray Pilon, a member of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, stated in an email, “She [Corey] is also the one that caused us to pass the so called ‘warning shot bill’ although that is not the purpose of the law. She prosecuted a woman for defending herself in a domestic violent incident. She missed and was prosecuted by Angela for Aggravated Battery. If the woman had killed her assailant she it would have  been ruled justifiable. It does surprise and concern me that Assistant Attorney Generals are doing what you posted.”

RELATED ARTICLES:

Vermont: Safe and Happy and Armed to the Teeth | National Review Online
More State Attorney’s Office Resignations After Angela Corey and Bernie De La Rionda Use Department Operating Funds To Pad Their Retirement Accounts…

Florida: Fort Lauderdale Commission to vote on “Sodomy-Based Marriage”

Tonight at 6:00 p.m. the Mayor and four Commissioners of Fort Lauderdale will vote on a resolution offered by the lone gay commissioner, to support “marriage equality.” One  Broward County resident states, “All day yesterday and today I have been emailing, calling each commissioner to NOT sign the resolution. And I have been contacting friends to do the same.”

In an email Broward resident Jack Gillies states:

Dear Honorable Mayor & Commissioners,

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t want to stand before God and say “I voted for sodomy-‘based’ marriage”.  Please do not fall into the trap set by the bully homosexual movement that goes against The Word of God.  I will be attending the meeting tonight, with several others, in support of your vote against this legislation.

“I’ve known and worked with Equality Florida for years and am proud to stand with them in support of full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” said US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Supporters of Equality Florida include: US Senator Bill Nelson. US Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings, Ted Deutch  and Frederica Wilson; former Representatives Ron Klein, Kathy Castor, Corrine Brown and Kendrick Meek; Florida State Senators Nan Rich, Jeremy Ring, Chris Smith, Eleanor Sobel, Larcenia Bullard and Maria Sachs; and former Florida Senator Gwen Margolis.

Representing the Florida House of Representatives: Ari Porth, Gwyn Clarke-Reed, Evan Jenne, Marty Kiar, Hazelle Rogers, Perry Thurston, Joe Gibbons, Franklin Sands, Daphne Campbell, Darryl Rouson, Elaine Schwartz, Ron Saunders, Jim Waldman, Irving Slosberg and Dwight Bullard.

Representing Broward County: Property Appraiser Lori Parrish, Sheriff Al Lamberti, State Attorney Mike Satz and Clerk of Courts Howard Foreman. From the Broward County Commission: Sue Gunzburger, John Rodstrom, Lois Wexler, Stacy Ritter, Dale Holness, Chip LaMarca, Kristin Jacobs, Barbara Sharief and Ilene Lieberman.

Representing the Broward County School Board: Robin Bartleman, Nora Rupert, Laurie Rich Levinson, Ann Murray, Katie Leach, Donna Korn, Maureen Dinnen, Ben Williams, Patty Good and Superintendent Robert Runcie.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

A Majority of Young Adults Are Having Kids Outside Marriage. Why That Hurts Kids’ Futures.
Marriage and the ‘wrong side of history’ – The Boston Globe

Hillary Clinton reveals what it’s like to be poor in America

Hillary Clinton has served America for decades; in January 1993, she made history as she became the country’s first co-president along with her husband, Bill.

After her tour in the White House ended, she answered the call from her adopted state of New York and voluntarily gave up a lucrative career trading cattle futures to act as one of only two US senators from that state.
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In 2008, after tirelessly devoting herself to helping Barack Obama become America’s best president, she looked forward to retiring to a quiet life in a small cottage somewhere. Once again her country called, pleading with her to act as Secretary of State because President Obama, who would’ve been better than anybody at the job, was simply too busy to do it himself.

After four extremely successful years in the post, Ms. Clinton was on duty at 3 AM in the White House War Room when a call came in, informing her the extreme Tea Party wing of the Libyan Republican Party attacked the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. The date was Sept 11, 2012.

She immediately ordered the U.S. military to parachute her into the compound so she could take command. The Joint Chiefs balked, saying that the embassy was seven thousand miles away and by the time she got there, the attack would be over.

“What difference does it make?” she said softly, “Get me there now!”

The Chiefs relented. But, as they feared, by the time she arrived it was too late; president Obama’s poll numbers were already starting to fall.
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Not wishing to see America’s best president lose the 2012 election to a rich guy whose campaign platform was to declare War on Womyn, Hillary bravely fell on her sword (and maybe a bottle of liquor or two) and took the blame for the embassy attack. The gambit worked and President Obama was easily re-elected, saving the country from the clutches of Bain Capital.

But the price was steep: Hillary suffered a concussion from falling on her sword and her doctors told her she could never parachute into enemy action again. Not content to be a mere figurehead as Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton retired in 2013 to devote herself to growing flowers, writing books, and making cookies.

Her injuries from Benghazi and her 1996 arrival under sniper fire in Bosnia still give her pain, but the physical scars are not what bother her the most. For, in spite of her decades of selfless service to America, decades in which she never forgot her fellow Americans, she recently revealed the great disappointment in her life: Americans had often forgotten about her. As she recently revealed to esteemed, accredited, impartial, state-approved TV journalist Diane Sawbucks: “We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt.

Ms. Clinton went on to reveal the depths of the degradation her family was subjected to, being forced to make speeches for $200,000 a pop and pick up deposit bottles and cans out of the alleys behind expensive hotels (but mostly make speeches for $200,000 a pop) in order to make ends meet.
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“It is shocking, simply shocking that America can cast aside its fallen heroes so readily,” said another nearly destitute Democrat senator, on his way to promote a documentary movie about the hold right wing billionaires have on the country.

“The Koch Brothers don’t care who they hurt!”

“The country wouldn’t treat wounded veterans so poorly”, said Senator Elizabeth Warren, herself so impoverished she was forced to accept a $525,000 advance for a new book in order to keep vichyssoise and caviar on the table.

“But just because a leader is a civilian womyn lawyer, the patriarchy feels it’s OK to treat you like dirt!”

“A few years ago, they wanted to send her and Barack Obama for coffee,” said former co-president Bill.

But most party leaders took a less confrontational tack. “Look,” said one high ranking party official and real estate salesperson, “Hillary’s had some rough times financially but she’s not looking for a handout. She wants to work!”

“All she wants is a job commensurate with her skills. You wouldn’t offer a broke Picasso a job painting houses, you can’t offer Hillary Clinton a job as CEO of a paint company.”

The time has come where we, America, repay our debt to Hillary Clinton by finding a position for her, something that would pay enough to get her back on her feet but still allow her some time for leisure activities, like travel and golf.

Maybe a nice, safe, government job. Like, say, U.S. president.

Government is simply the name for the things we do together,” states President Obama. We each play a part in this. The president’s part is picking the things we do and everyone else’s part is paying for those things. It’s time that we pay Hillary for that. (No, I care if that makes sense or not.)

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For a larger view click on the image.

As Obama EPA Regulations begin, more Scientists Reverse Belief in Global Warming

Climate Depot statement: “As President Obama is stepping up his “historic” effort to attempt to legislate weather and climate through EPA regulations, scientists from around the world continue to reassess the scientific claims of man-made global warming and are reversing themselves or are becoming more skeptical.” (The latest scientist is below. More scientists in the “related links” section.)

Prominent Scientist Dr. Daniel Botkin, who has studied climate change for 45 years, told the Committee in Q&A: 

‘I have been concerned about global warming since 1968 and in the 1980s, it looked like the weight of evidence lent towards human induced climate change, to a significant extant, and since then it’s moved against it.’

Later in the hearing, Botkin elaborated: ‘I was concerned that there was a human induced climate warning and I gave talks and TV interviews that said that, but since the middle of the 1990s, there is evidence that is running against that.

For example the temperature change is not tracking carbon dioxide very well. Then there is the information from the long term antarctic ice core and some from recent paper in the arctic,  that suggest that carbon dioxide does not lead temperature change,  it may actually lag it significantly or may not lead it at all, and if that is the case that is still an open but important scientific evidence.

So there are several lines of evidence that are suggesting that it (AGW) is a weaker case today, not a stronger case.’

Full Committee Hearing – Examining the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Process
2318 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 | May 29, 2014 11:00am
Examining the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Process
WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY.
MAY 29, 2014

Dr. Daniel Botkin, Professor Emeritus, Department of  Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara (Full Bio here)

Selected Excerpts: (Full Testimony here)

Since 1968 I have published research on theoretical global warming, its potential ecological effects, and the implications for people and biodiversity. I have spent my career trying to help conserve our environment and its great diversity of species. In doing so I have always attempted to maintain an objective, intellectually honest, scientific approach in the best tradition of scientific endeavor. I have, accordingly, been dismayed and disappointed in recent years that this subject has been converted into a political and ideological debate.

Related Links: 

Climate Depot Note: Dr. Botkin joins many other scientists who recently publicly dissented from man-made climate fears.The global warming movement continues to lose scientists, many formerly with the UN IPCC.

Another Prominent Scientist Dissents: Environmental physicist Dr. Jean-Louis Pinault: ‘This is a very uneven debate, skeptics cannot enforce their arguments in scientific journals that are subject to censorship’ – Declares AGW has produced an ‘economic and political media frenzy unprecedented in the history of science’

Another Dissenter: Geoscientst & former UN Consultant Dr. David Kear declares warming fears ‘based on unfounded unscientific beliefs’ – An ‘innocent gas, CO2, has been demonized and criminalized’

Another Prominent Scientist Dissents! Fmr. NASA Scientist Dr. Les Woodcock ‘Laughs’ at Global Warming – ‘Global warming is nonsense’ Top Prof. Declares

Flashback: UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Richard Tol admits no global warming for 17 years – Rips bias in IPCC – UN’s ‘inbuilt alarmism made me step down’ – ‘By the time the report was finished, however, it hadn’t warmed for 17 years’

Green Guru James Lovelock on Climate Change: ‘I don’t think anybody really knows what’s happening. They just guess’ – Lovelock Reverses Himself on Global Warming

More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore

Top Swedish Climate Scientist Says Warming Not Noticeable: ‘The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all’ – Award-Winning Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC: ‘We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified’

‘High Priestess of Global Warming’ No More! Former Warmist Climate Scientist Judith Curry Admits To Being ‘Duped Into Supporting IPCC’ – ‘If the IPCC is dogma, then count me in as a heretic’

German Meteorologist reverses belief in man-made global warming: Now calls idea that CO2 Can Regulate Climate ‘Sheer Absurdity’ — ‘Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us’

UN Scientists Who Have Turned on the UN IPCC & Man-Made Climate Fears — A Climate Depot Flashback Report – Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

‘Some of the most formidable opponents of climate hysteria include politically liberal physics Nobel laureate, Ivar Giaever; Freeman Dyson; father of the Gaia Hypothesis, James Lovelock — ‘Left-center chemist, Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the fathers of the German environmental movement’

Flashback: Left-wing Env. Scientist Bails Out Of Global Warming Movement: Declares it a ‘corrupt social phenomenon…strictly an imaginary problem of the 1st World middleclass’

Global Temperature Update: No global warming at all for 17 years 9 months

Congressional hearing links:

UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Richard Tol Rips IPCC at Congressional Hearing: ‘The IPCC leadership has in the past been very adept at putting troublesome authors in positions where they cannot harm the cause. That practice must end’

UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Richard Tol Rips 97% consensus claim: ‘The 97% is essentially pulled from thin air, it is not based on any credible research whatsoever’ – IPCC Lead Author Trashes 97% Consensus claims: UN IPCC Lead Author & University of Sussex economist Dr. Richard Tol: ‘Science is, of course, never settled.’
Tol: ‘The 97% estimate is bandied about by basically everybody.  I had a close look at what this study really did. as far as I can see, The estimate just crumbles when you touch it. None of the statements in the papers are supported by the data that’s in the paper. The 97% is essentially pulled from thin air, it is not based on any credible research whatsoever.

Flashback: UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Richard Tol admits no global warming for 17 years – Rips bias in IPCC – UN’s ‘inbuilt alarmism made me step down’ – ‘By the time the report was finished, however, it hadn’t warmed for 17 years’

UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Richard Tol: ‘One of the startling facts about climate change is that there are very few facts about climate change. Climate change is mainly something of the future so we are really talking about model projections’

Congressional hearing: Scientists say UN IPCC puts politics before science, needs reform – IPCC Lead Author Tol: ‘Competent people are excluded because their views do not match those of their government’

UN Lead Author Michael Oppenheimer Admits to Congress Climate Science Not ‘Settled’: ‘The question of exactly how warm the Earth will become as a result (of rising CO2), that’s not’ settled

Steve Lonegan: A Real Man Running for Congress

I suspect that many of you share my frustration with wimpy Republican candidates; afraid to embrace the Tea Party, afraid to stand up for conservative principles and values, afraid to stand up for the law, afraid to push back against bogus allegations of racism for not rubber stamping Obama’s fast and furious power grabs and attacks on our freedoms.

My dad taught me that a “real man” takes a stand and does the right thing, ignoring critics. He also does the right thing went nobody is watching.

Well, there is a real man conservative running for congress in New Jersey who is not afraid. His name is Steve Lonegan. Talk about a breath of fresh air, Lonegan has been fighting the good fight for conservatism in New Jersey politics for 30 years. Yes, you heard me correctly, I said New Jersey.

Though he put up a good fight, Lonegan was defeated in his run for U.S. Senate by the overwhelmingly well-funded Democrat Cory Booker. Oprah and her Hollywood posse pumped millions into that race for Booker. Still, there was a bright spot. Despite mega Hollywood outside funding, Lonegan strongly defeated Booker in the 3rd district which is where he is now running for congress.

Now get this folks. Standing on conservative principles, Lonegan won the 3rd district by the best numbers of any Republican in the last decade. Mitt Romney lost that district. It is my firm belief that when presented unfiltered by liberals, boldly and confidently, conservatism wins the hearts and minds of a majority of voters.

Sadly, far too many Republican candidates and the GOP establishment drink the Left’s Kool-Aid that we must tone down our message; in essence, become Democrat-Lite to win elections. Now, ask yourself. Why would the Left want to help Republicans/Conservatives win elections?

Conservative congressional candidate Steve Lonegan must defeat the liberal New Jersey Republican establishment’s candidate MacArthur in the primary; well-funded with millions.

The New Jersey GOP establishment wants a big government liberal in office. Pure and simple.

Contrast that with Lonegan who is committed to upholding the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, low taxes and reducing the size of government. One could say that Lonegan epitomizes the liberal wing of the GOP establishment’s War on Conservatism — the GOP recruiting wealthy RINO candidates around the country to run against conservatives.

MacArthur says he supports government funded low income housing to bring diversity to neighborhoods. Sounds like Obama, right? Lonegan has no problem with diversity, but is opposed to achieving it via government social engineering programs.

MacArthur has called Lonegan “too right wing”. Here are Lonegan’s goals which the GOP establishment candidate considers too right wing. Lonegan will fight to repeal Obamacare, repeal Common Core’s intrusion into our kid’s education, see the repeal of Dodd-Frank and dismantle the IRS. Lonegan is in great company. Ronald Reagan was also considered too right wing.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/R83p6bR6YrU[/youtube]

While his opponent runs with a war-chest of millions, Lonegan is the Tea Party candidate, running on ideology. Wow, what a concept and how gutsy. When other Republicans were distancing themselves from the Tea Party, Lonegan helped to organize the first major Tea Party rally in Piscataway, New Jersey, April 15, 2009.

Lonegan’s strategy for victory is to keep his grassroots army energized and mobilized; the same patriots who pushed him over the top to win the 3rd district in his bid for the Senate. Lonegan has high name recognition.

As Chairman of Conservative Campaign Committee, I have jumped aboard the Lonegan Express for Congress in New Jersey. Can you imagine the impact of a real man conservative elected in New Jersey? Awesome!

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of National Review Online.

Shock Study: As public school funding increased student SAT scores decreased

Long-term trends in academic performance and spending are valuable tools for evaluating past education policies and informing current ones. But such data have been scarce at the state level, where the most important education policy decisions are made. State spending data exist reaching back to the 1960s, but the figures have been scattered across many different publications. State-level academic performance data are either nonexistent prior to 1990 or, as in the case of the SAT, are unrepresentative of statewide student populations.

Using a time-series regression approach described in a separate publication, this CATO Institute paper adjusts state SAT score averages for factors such as participation rate and student demographics, which are known to affect outcomes, then validates the results against recent state-level National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores.

This CATO study produces continuous, state-representative estimated SAT score trends reaching back to 1972.

The CATO Institute presents paper charts of these trends against both inflation-adjusted per pupil spending and the raw, unadjusted SAT results, providing an unprecedented perspective on American education inputs and outcomes over the past 40 years.

The CATO study found:

In general, the findings are not encouraging.

Adjusted state SAT scores have declined by an average of 3 percent. This echoes the picture of stagnating achievement among American 17-year-olds painted by the Long Term Trends portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a series of tests administered to a nationally representative sample of students since 1970. That disappointing record comes despite a more-than-doubling in inflation-adjusted per pupil public-school spending over the same period (the average state spending increase was 120 percent).

Consistent with those patterns, there has been essentially no correlation between what states have spent on education and their measured academic outcomes. In other words, America’s educational productivity appears to have collapsed, at least as measured by the NAEP and the SAT.

That is remarkably unusual. In virtually every other field, productivity has risen over this period thanks to the adoption of countless technological
advances—advances that, in many cases, would seem ideally suited to facilitating learning. And yet, surrounded by this torrent of progress, education has remained anchored to the riverbed, watching the rest of the world rush past it.

Not only have dramatic spending increases been unaccompanied by improvements in performance, the same is true of the occasional spending declines experienced by some states. At one time or another over the past four decades, Alaska, California, Florida, and New York all experienced multi-year periods over which real spending fell substantially (20 percent or more of their 1972 expenditure levels). And yet, none of these states experienced noticeable declines in adjusted SAT scores—either contemporaneously or lagged by a few years. Indeed, their score trends seem entirely disconnected from their rising and falling levels of spending. [Emphasis added]

Following are the state charts for Florida:

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florida sat trends cato

To view the results for your state go to State Education Trends

RELATED STORY: More Bad News from Government-Run Education: The Corrosive Centralization of Common Core

cato school scores

For a larger view click on the chart. Courtesy of CATO Institute.

Saudi-led Gulf Squabble Spells Trouble for Obama?

The Obama White House and the world media are pre-occupied with Russian President Putin’s grab of the Ukrainian autonomous province of Crimea. There are undertones of “Back to the Future”- meaning a possible return to Cold War era geopolitics with Russia.

Despite that overriding ruckus there was a less well publicized series of events in the Persian Gulf region among members of the Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC). Does this spell trouble ahead for President Obama’s Middle East policies?

At the GCC meeting on March 5th in Riyadh, Qatar was effectively isolated by “sisterly” Sunni Arab states. The Emir of Qatar, a member of the GCC, has been prominent in supporting financial aid and assistance to Muslim Brotherhood (MB) affiliates in Egypt under Morsi, Hamas in Gaza and the Syrian Opposition Council, one of whose leaders is a dual American Syrian citizenLouay Safi.

Virtually on the heels of the squabble at the GCC gathering, Saudi King Abdullah announced decrees on Friday, March 7th. They listed the MB as a terrorist organization along with several AQ affiliates in Syria and Iraq, as well as Shia terrorist groups in North Yemen and in the oil rich Eastern Province. The latter are backed by both Iran’s Qod Force and Hezbollah. This should present problems and potential conflicts of interest for President Obama’s senior National Security advisor Robert Malley and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Both of these men espouse outreach to the MB, Iran and proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

This train wreck about to happen has been in development since the July 3, 2013 ouster by Egyptian Gen. al-Sisi of President Morsi in Egypt. Morsi was a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood endeavoring to create a Sharia compliant constitution with him as Emir. Egypt’s interim government in December 2013 outlawed the MB. This week an Egyptian court went after Hamas, the Gaza affiliate of the MB banning activities in Egypt. Following, the ouster of Morsi, Saudi Arabia and several of members of the GCC provided upwards of $12 billion in financial assistance to the interim Egyptian interim government. The stage now appears set for Gen. Abdel Fateh al-Sisi to run as the country’s President, a harkening back to the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser and the possible return of military autocracy in Egypt.

The flashpoint for the GCC isolation of Qatar was the notorious aged Egyptian MB preacher Yousuf al Qaradawi who had been in exile in Qatar before temporarily returning to Egypt in February 2011. He issued Fatwas for the reconquest of Al Quds (Jerusalem) and preached anti-Semitic hatred to crowds in Tahrir Square. In a January 2009 broadcast from Qatar, al Qaradawisaid about Jews: “kill them, down to the very last one.” While in Doha, Qatar he steadfastly refused to participate in annual International Interfaith Conferences.

A news report by Radaw noted the isolation of Qatar by “sisterly” Sunni Arab states because of the mischief of al Qaradawi and sanctuary provided by the Emir:

The Arab states of the lower Gulf are engaged in the latest and potentially most serious of their periodic family squabbles, which this week provoked three of them to withdraw their ambassadors from tiny Qatar.

The Qatar government expressed regret and surprise at Wednesday’s decision by the “sisterly countries” of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but said it did not plan to retaliate by pulling out its own envoys.

All four states, together with Kuwait and Oman, are members of the GCC.

The official reason for the diplomatic spat is Qatar’s alleged failure to live up to a recent commitment not to interfere in the internal affairs of fellow GCC states.

The three conservative states are particularly distressed that Qatar continued to provide a platform for Yousuf Al Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Egyptian cleric, to use his fiery sermons to attack Saudi Arabia and the UAE despite Riyadh’s threat to freeze relations unless he was silenced.

The scope of King Abdullah’s terrorist designations was reported by Al-Jazeera:

Saudi Arabia has listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization along with two al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Syria.

The decree against the Brotherhood, whose Egyptian branch supported the deposed Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, was reported on Saudi state television on Friday.

Egypt in December listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, prompting the arrest of members and associates and forcing the Islamist group further underground.

Saudi Arabia also listed Jabhat al-Nusra, which is al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Sham) (ISIS), which has been disowned al-Qaeda, as “terrorist organizations”.

It also listed Shia Huthi rebels fighting in northern Yemen and the little-known internal Shia group, Hezbollah in the Hijaz.

Early in February, 2014, Ayman al Zawahiri at Al Qaeda Central announced that the global Islamic terrorist group had no association with ISIS, instead providing support for the Al Nusrah front fighting against the Assad regime in Syria.  ISIS however has rampaged across the Anbar province in neighboring Iraq overtaking the Sunni town of Fallujah.

About the same time as the AQ ISIS declaration, King Abdullah had announced new counterterrorism policies that were directed against so-called reform movements in the Saudi Kingdom. The Washington Post  reported the new law “states that any act that ‘undermines’  the state or society, including calls for regime change in Saudi Arabia, can be tried as an act of terrorism.” This Saudi law appears  to be in violation of human rights taken for granted in the West, but clearly viewed as seditious in the autocratic and Sharia compliant Wahhabist Kingdom.

These latest Saudi initiatives could have significant implications for the Obama Administration and Secretary Kerry. Kerry is endeavoring to fashion an Israel- Palestinian final status agreement and resolution of the 37 month civil war in Syria.  We noted earlier the presence of Louay Safi as spokesperson for the Syrian Opposition Council at the recent Geneva II plenum talks. Safi was Research Director at the northern Virginia- based MB supported International Islamic Institute of Thought. Moreover, he was also Leadership Development Director at the MB front, the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008  Federal Dallas  trial and convictions of leaders of the Holy Land Foundation. The Muslim charity group had been accused of funneling upwards of $35 million to MB affiliate Hamas. Safi was also invited by the US Army Chief of Staff to lecture troops on Islam at Fort Hood in early December 2009 following the massacre perpetrated by Maj. Nidal Hassan a month earlier. Clearly, Safi’s rise to prominence in the Syrian Opposition Council is indicative of the MB controlling presence.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and senior National Security Aides were present at the May 2012 meetings of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. They were engaged in outreach to MB officials from Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab states and facilitated assistance to ousted President Morsi. Obama Appointments of MB members, especially Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Policy, Arif Alikhan and Senior Advisory board member Mohamed Elibiary have been problematic. National Security Advisor Malley was a former Middle East foreign policy aide to President Clinton during the failed 2000 Camp David Israel-Palestinian negotiations between former Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the late Yassir Arafat. Malley had accused Israel of nixing the agreement, when it was evident that Arafat had purposely sabotaged it. Malley went on to become head of the Middle East and North African program of the International Crisis group and later advised then Senator Obama and was part of the President’s transition team. He holds views that may further complicate Administration Middle East policies.  Malley propounded speaking with terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the MB. Malley, was recently appointed to the National Security Council. He has the portfolio for Israel -Palestinian peace talks and the Iran nuclear P5+1 diplomatic initiative.

Now that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have designated the MB as a terrorist group, would the Obama Administration dare follow their lead? How Messrs. McDonough, Malley and Secretary of State Kerry will contend with a plethora of problems arising from efforts by the Egyptian government and now the Saudi led GCC targeting the MB is a ‘puzzlement’.

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

Black Democrat attacks Justice Thomas for having a white wife

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Justice Clarence and Virginia Thomas. Photo courtesy of AllenBWest.com.

As we mentioned previously, black Conservatives receive no quarter, and here is the latest installment.

Black Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, and his wife Virginia Thomas were recently attacked by Alabama Democrat State Representative Alvin Holmes for having a white wife.

According to the Washington Times, ” While on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives, state Rep. Alvin Holmes, a black Democrat, explained why he so dislikes Clarence Thomas: because “he’s married to a white woman.”

Rep. Holmes didn’t help his situation when he spoke to a reporter for the Anniston Star. Holmes said he was misinterpreted, but added that Justice Thomas was an “Uncle Tom.” “I said some people might say I didn’t like him because he was married to a white woman,” Mr. Holmes told the Anniston Star, before including the “Uncle Tom” addendum.

Does anyone hear any criticism from the mainstream media? Did President Obama come out and denounce the use of such horrible words from Holmes, or Rev. William Barber — after all, wasn’t it our first (half) black president who said we didn’t need such vitriol in our political discourse?

Last week Justice Thomas told a crowd at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida that the “worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me, [were] by northern liberal elites, not by the people of Savannah, Georgia.”

But obviously it’s not just white northern liberal elites. Justice Thomas, along with many other black conservatives, must endure the unrelenting ugliness from black liberals. As we’ve mentioned before, North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber II referred to Senator Tim Scott as a “ventriloquist dummy.” And the silence from organizations like the NAACP and the faux black leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others is deafening.

I believe this to be a calculated white progressive socialist tactic — use liberal blacks to denigrate and attack conservative blacks who don’t tow the line of servitude to white liberals. After all, hundreds of years ago, blacks were captured and sold into slavery by other blacks from conflicting tribes in Africa.

Right here on our Facebook and website pages, you can read vicious comments from blacks who forgo a discussion of the issues to simply dispense their personal vitriol.

The hypocrisy is to me unconscionable. If white conservatives — actually white anything — challenge President Barack Hussein Obama’s policies they are admonished as “racists.” We are already beginning to hear “sexist” and “misogynist” hurled at those questioning the qualifications of Hillary Clinton.

But where are these liberal voices when black conservatives are hunted down and disparaged? Where is the “liberal tolerance?” The bottom line is this, liberal progressives — black, white, Hispanic or whatever – simply do not want opposition. They do not want political discourse. They do not want any challenge to their agenda. They demand abject obedience, subservience, subjugation and silence, and will destroy anyone standing in their way. They are American totalitarians and will use any means necessary to achieve their ends. Liberal progressives are the most hateful individuals in America — there is no other explanation for their actions.

Just last week while running through my neighborhood in PGA National, a white liberal woman riding in the passenger seat of a car, recognized me and flipped me off. I suppose that reflected the sophistication of her communications skills Her action didn’t depress me, but it certainly emboldens me.

I have no doubt the attacks will keep coming, with ever-increasing viciousness, as they attempt to disparage my honor and service to this country. Black conservatives know this will always be the case, but we will neither relent nor surrender.

Please don’t tell me how progressives are so compassionate and welcoming. What a crock. And to the leadership of the NAACP: you hypocrites are hardly seeking the advancement of Colored People. You’ve become like the tribes in Africa who captured and sold their brothers and sisters into slavery. You serve only your own self-interest and the white liberal Democrats — who have a history of enslaving blacks, whether physically as it once was, or economically as it is now. You should be ashamed to bear those chains. Black conservatives stand freely and independently. Join us.

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

Wild Bill is confronted by “Pasta Boy” in a local mall

I was accosted by a 400 pound boy wearing a t-shirt with the word “Pasta” printed on it at the mall … here is how it went.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/jgM9uvwH2Zk[/youtube]

Can you name the Benghazi four?

 

Anonymous’ hackers being used by Russian Intelligence?

Jeffrey Roman from Data Breach Today reported on the 2012 cyber attack against the Sheriff of Lake County, Florida computers. Roman wrote, “Hacktivists associated with Anonymous have reportedly released sensitive information from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. According to WKMG Local 6, hackers who came from an Internet server in Russia posted 16,000 files online, which include 911 calls, witness and victim statements, names of young crime victims, and names of Central Florida SWAT team members and their personal phone numbers, as well as the SWAT unit’s operating guide, the number of team members and number of snipers.”

“The hacking group LulzKnightz, which associates itself with AntiSec and Anonymous, has claimed responsibility, and took to a Pastebin page to post the data online, which equals 4.7 gigabytes of information,” notes Roman.

In a statement posted to that page, LulzKnightz explained its justification for the attack, saying, “More evidence that the illegitimate justice system protects their own, who get away with rampant corruption and theft, while the police apply unconstitutional profiling and pressure in their efforts to raise their arrest quotas and keep homeland security money rolling in.”

But is this attack about exposing an “illegitimate justice system”, “rampant corruption and theft” or something else?

Russian_Foreign_Intelligence_Agency

Seal of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service – Служба Внешней Разведки

Who was really behind this attack on a Florida sheriff’s computers and why? The who: The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service – Служба Внешней Разведки. The why: International espionage.

The Lake County Sheriff’s computers were targeted, as are tens of thousands of other law enforcement computers, by a foreign government – Russia. The purpose is to gather intelligence. Russia monitors groups like LulzKnighz, AntiSec and Anonymous. In some cases, Russia embeds its own people into these and other hacker organizations to gather needed intelligence. These groups become a cover for Russian intelligence operations. As one expert in cyber warfare put it, “Some of these hackers may be ignorant of the fact they are being used, but they are not innocent.”

In this particular case the data traveled to an Adidas server in Romania and then to servers in Moscow. Foreign intelligence services monitor hacker groups daily and when they detect a breach, such as what happened in the Lake County Sheriff case, they tag along and take what they really want. Who gets the blame? Not the Russians, of course, but Anonymous who is more than happy to take the credit. The consequences of these attacks have a direct impact on US national security.

The Russians wanted the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) usernames and passwords  on the Lake County Sheriff’s computers. Why? Because many of the members of the JTTF use the same username and password for their own department computers. This gives Russia access to a variety of federal computer systems like that of the FBI.

Anonymous is being used by Russian intelligence. Some members of Anonymous, and other groups, are actually plants. Others do it as proxies, a.k.a. spies, being paid by the Russians in Bitcoins for their work. Some just do it for the fun of exposing an “illegitimate justice system” and unknowingly are aiding and abetting treason against the United States.

Perhaps Anonymous needs to vett who their members really are? Some of them are part of Russia’s “illegitimate justice system”.

EDITORS NOTE: The feature photo is of members of the ‘Anonymous’ group travel on the London Underground system between Scientology’s Queen Victoria Street and Tottenham Court Road offices. The masks are those of everyman ‘V’ from the film ‘V for Vendetta’. It is courtesy of James Harrison.

RELATED COLUMN: Panicked Shoppers Fight Over Food Amid ‘Snowpocalypse’

The O’Nesky Report: Top Stories for Conservatives with a Conscience

The O’Nesky Report is a compilation of the latest stories for the Conservative with a Conscience. It is presented for those who want to stay current on the top issues impacting America and the conservative movement. It is the go-to news feed for those who have limited time but want to keep their finger on the pulse of conservative America.

I welcome any feedback. Thanks for reading The O’Nesky Report and taking the time to share it with your friends, family and social contacts.

“When the state intervenes to insure the indoctrination of some doctrine, it does so because there is no conclusive evidence in favor of that doctrine.” – Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Philosopher, educator, 1928

Republicans Shouldn’t Run Away From The TEA Party

Republican Party leaders seem willing, anxious even, to walk away from the Tea Party, certain that such bedrock support will brand the GOP as extremist in voters’ eyes. If anything, polls show, the opposite is true.  With 10 months to go before the crucial midterm elections, Republicans understandably will try to avoid screwing up their chances for victory.

Democrats have taken to vilifying any Republican who actually stands for something — such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — as a captive of what they’d like to label as the far-right fringe.  This can be seen in the efforts of Sen. Charles Schumer of New York — the Democrats’ top political strategist — to, in the words of The Hill, “poison the Tea Party by driving a wedge between its rich funders and its blue-collar rank and file.”

This kind of hardball has Republicans in a bit of a panic. And in case you’re wondering, it’s a big reason why they supported the pork-filled $1.1 trillion spending bill this month, and why GOP leaders are talking about legalizing millions of illegal immigrants.  But before they sell their souls to political expediency, they might want to look at a few recent polls that suggest the small-government, conservative ideals of the Tea Party are quite popular. To wit:

  • A Quinnipiac Poll finds 53% believe the Obama administration has been incompetent at running the federal government. And 56% oppose ObamaCare, the Democrats’ signature accomplishment since 2008.
  • In a recent Gallup Poll, almost two-thirds of Americans said the U.S. government has gotten too big and too powerful, and are unhappy with how it works.
  • A Fox News Poll found 62% believing income inequality is acceptable “because that’s just how the economy works.” Another 21% agreed inequality was bad, but that the government “shouldn’t get involved.”

Get the picture? Average Americans show a strong preference for smaller, more-accountable government. And which group most closely fits that description in its basic beliefs? Why, the Tea Party, of course.  Republicans would be wise to heed the people’s clear will and not fall for Democrat ploys to make them feel “extreme.” If anything, it’s the Democrats, now a party of the far left, who are the extremists.

Republicans shouldn’t look at them and say, “Me, too.” As a statesman once said, Americans deserve a choice, not an echo.

Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily – January 23, 2014

Pilots Stripped Of Constitutional Rights Forced To Transport Tens Of 1000s Of Illegal Muslims To US

This is a must watch video.  “Adherents to Shariah are fundamentally and unalterably opposed to the survival of the Constitution of the United States.” -Tennessee state Rep. Rick Womick

“Tennessee state Rep. Rick Womick, who participated in a panel called “Defending Liberty in Legislatures,” is an Boeing 777 airline pilot who has flown five flights with Somali immigrants on board from London to New York City.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P02baf-wcvk[/youtube]

ObamaCare’s Missing Uninsured

Most who have signed up already had insurance. The Medicaid numbers are no more reassuring.  “I’m not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time,” President Obama declared in November. Echoing his boss, White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted that millions of Americans are now “able to avail themselves of quality, affordable health insurance . . . many of them for the first time.”  The Affordable Care Act would right a great social wrong. Or so we were told. But reality is again intruding on the Obama administration’s narrative.

This newspaper reported Saturday that between 65% and 80% of those who have signed up for health insurance through the federal or state ObamaCare exchanges previously had coverage, according to insurers. A survey by McKinsey & Co. suggested that only 11% of those who purchased plans through the exchanges were previously uninsured.

Surprised? We shouldn’t be. This was forecast in a February 2011 study underwritten by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Researchers at the VA, Boston University’s School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School’s Mongan Institute for Health Policy focused on “crowd-out” effects in which employees and their families are moved “from private to public insurance without reducing the number of uninsured very much.” The study concluded that, over the long run, the Affordable Care Act “will shift increasing numbers of workers from employer-sponsored insurance to public insurance and federally-subsidized insurance purchased through exchanges.”

Crowding-out seems to have started earlier than anticipated. This is probably because the study (a) did not consider ObamaCare’s impact in causing the cancellation of many policies in the individual and small-group markets, or (b) its incentives for companies to drop employer-provided coverage, especially businesses with fewer than 50 workers. Whatever the explanation, most people getting private insurance under ObamaCare already had it, probably with lower premiums and deductibles…

It’s worth noting, too, that compared with the pre-ObamaCare period of July-September 2013, Medicaid applications in November were down 4.2% in states that expanded Medicaid and 15.2% in states that did not. One would expect all the hubbub about the new law, especially the availability of Medicaid in states that expanded coverage, would have produced more, not fewer, applications…

Did all these patterns continue in December? We don’t yet know. Although CMS reported November’s numbers on Dec. 20, Jan. 20 came and went without a CMS update for December. Perhaps they had a computer problem.

Regardless, most people signing up for the exchanges or Medicaid were already covered by private plans or eligible for Medicaid. This is not how it was supposed to be. Mr. Obama promised coverage for those without insurance and no disruptions for those already possessing it. Instead, tens of millions of Americans are not receiving coverage while there are massive disruptions for those who had plans before ObamaCare.

In doing great damage to our health-care system, Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats are also discovering there’s a big price for massive incompetence, hype and misdirection.

Karl Rove, The Wall Street Journal –  January 23, 2014

Target To Drop Health Insurance For Part-Time Workers

Target said it will end health insurance for part-time employees, joining Trader Joe’s, Home Depot and other retailers that have scaled back benefits in response to changes from ObamaCare, says Bloomberg.

  • About 10 percent of Target’s part-time employees, defined as those working fewer than 30 hours a week, use the company’s health plans now.
  • Target said it would pay $500 to part-timers losing coverage and a consulting firm will help workers sign up for new ObamaCare plans…

National Center for Policy Analysis – January 23, 2014

Board Declares NSA Data Sweep Illegal, Says Program Should Be Ended

An independent board tasked with reviewing National Security Agency surveillance called Thursday for the government to end its mass data collection program and “purge” its files, declaring the program illegal in a major challenge to President Obama.

The president did not go nearly as far when he called last week for ending government control of phone data collected from hundreds of millions of Americans. In its report, obtained by Fox News and scheduled for release Thursday afternoon, The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) said the program ran afoul of the law on several fronts.  “The … bulk telephone records program lacks a viable legal foundation,” the board’s report said, adding that it raises “serious threats to privacy and civil liberties” and has “only limited value.”

“As a result, the Board recommends that the government end the program,” the panel wrote.  It remains to be seen whether Obama will accept all or part of the recommendations, but the findings could nevertheless be used as leverage in federal lawsuits against NSA spying.  The report concluded that the NSA collection raises “constitutional concerns” with regard to U.S. citizens’ rights of speech, association and privacy.

“The connections revealed by the extensive database of telephone records gathered under the program will necessarily include relationships established among individuals and groups for political, religious, and other expressive purposes,” it said. “Compelled disclosure to the government of information revealing these associations can have a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights.”  The panel added that the program “implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments.”…

The report also rejected claims that the program was necessary to cover up a gap in intelligence arising from a failure to detect Al Qaeda members in the United States prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. U.S. officials had claimed that the phone data collection program would have made clear that terrorist Khalid al-Mihdhar was calling a safehouse in Yemen from a San Diego address.  “The failure to identify Mihdhar’s presence in the United States stemmed primarily from a lack of information sharing among federal agencies, not of a lack of surveillance capabilities,” the report said. “This was a failure to connect the dots, not a failure to connect enough dots.”

The board’s recommendations go well beyond the reforms ordered by Obama in a major speech last Friday, in which he said that the phone records database would no longer be held by the NSA. Obama also tightened restrictions on gathering and accessing phone data, but did not recommend the program’s end…

The oversight board was created at the urging of the independent commission on the 9/11 attacks as a key organizational reform needed to balance counterterrorism policy with civil liberties concerns. The board functioned fitfully for several years, often short on members because of Congress’ inaction. It finally won legislative approval last year for all five members and staff and took on its study of the NSA programs at the urging of Obama and congressional leaders.

AP, FoxNews – January 23, 2014

Moody’s Blames Obamacare For Downgrade In Health Insurers

Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday downgraded its outlook on U.S. health insurers from stable to negative, citing concerns with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  In its announcement, Moody’s said that the Affordable Care Act has continued to “create uncertainty for the industry.” “While we’ve had industry risks from regulatory changes on our radar for a while, the ongoing unstable and evolving environment is a key factor for our outlook change,” said Stephen Zaharuk, a Moody’s Senior Vice President and author of the report. “The past few months have seen new regulations and announcements that impose operational changes well after product and pricing decisions were finalized.”

The past few months have been full of problems for President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. For much of October and November,website glitches led to low enrollment numbers. Though most of those website issues have been resolved, Moody’s cited concerns with the demographic breakdown of enrollments.  Specifically, Moody’s said it was disconcerting that only 24% of enrollees so far have been between the ages of 18-34, when the original target for this group was around 40%. If the trend continues without enrollment from the young and healthy to balance out the older and sicker, it could lead insurers to increase rates.

Moody’s also cited a concern that insurers’ premium calculations could be insufficient to cover the industry assessment tax — the new tax on medical devices that begins in 2014.  “These changing dynamics will have an uneven effect on insurers…

Brett LoGiurato, Yahoo Finance – January 23, 2014

The Majority Of Voters ‘Get It’

  • 74 percent of U.S. voters say they feel that the nation is “still in a recession.”
  • 69 percent say their friends and family do not resent people who make a lot of money.
  • 62 percent accept the fact that some people make more than others because “that’s how our economy works.”
  • 21 percent say this phenomenon “stinks” and 13 percent say it “makes them angry.”
  • 55 percent say cutting federal taxes and reducing regulations will help the economy.
  • 55 percent say that giving unemployment benefits for those unemployed “a long time” discourages them from finding work.
  • 12 percent agree that “if someone becomes successful and makes a lot of money, it means that someone else has to make less money.”

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,010 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 19-21.

Jennifer Harper, Inside the Beltway – January 23, 2014

Oh, We Bad! Our Big-Boy President Takes To Trash-Talking al Qaeda

In his compelling and revealing new memoir, “Duty,” former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates describes that tense evening in the White House situation room when the Obama crowd watched the assassination of Osama bin Laden real-time.  When the world’s most wanted man had been popped, bagged and was enroute to the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the in-crowd rose to disperse. Obama would soon announce the news, igniting spontaneous street celebrations.

Gates worried about leaks of operational details revealing how Special Ops conducts such raids nightly in the world’s deadliest corners. He asked everyone to promise to reveal nothing more of what they saw than the bare facts. We got him. He’s dead. All raiders are safe. Everyone agreed.  “That lasted about five hours,” Gates recalls sadly.

So intense was the Obama administration’s need to gloat, brag, spike the football, chest-bump, end-zone dance that within hours officials, on background without identification, provided reporters the “tick-tock.”

That’s the beloved minute-by-minute account of some major news event that D.C. media gobble up faster than like free food. The raid timeline, number of raiders, stealth helicopters, refueling stops, radar-jamming, the hard-drives and documents seized, even the name of the SEALs dog, everything, each detail designed to make the campaigning president look good.  And if all this empty braggadocio made life more dangerous for the real combatants, well, that simply wasn’t a consideration.

Everyone agrees Obama sat and watched the bin Laden raid with tremendous courage, as the SEALs did their deadly duty half-a-world-away that night. Soon, Obama was repeatedly describing al Qaeda as on the run and decimated by military and drone strikes.

A year later this clearly-crippled and no-longer-effective terrorist organization and its affiliates sacked and burned the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing four Americans, including the ambassador. The Obama response was to fabricate a tale about an obscure video as the cause and stick to it, even after documented debunking by his own experts.  Last May in a major national defense speech, trying to pivot from his growing scandals, Obama naively proclaimed this country could not be perpetually at war — as if that’s a unilateral decision he can make regardless of actions by others.

Now comes another stunning example of Obama’s Amateur Hour. He had a recent conversation with David Remnick of the New Yorker. Now Remnick, like Bob Woodward, is a master at getting subjects to talk.  But Obama has just begun the 62d month of his presidency as commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military. He didn’t just fall off the sweet-potato truck. Yes, the Super Bowl looms near, prompting all kinds of inappropriate sports metaphors and analogies.

However, as he sought to explain White House thinking to his journalist visitor, Obama should know better than to stoop to the inflammatory, trash-talking level of a Richard Sherman.  “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a J.V. team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Forget for a moment, Mr. President, the fact that the hobbled Bryant has been out since late last year with no return date set. So, right now in basketball warrior terms, Kobe Bryant is useless.

Al Qaeda, on the other hand, has never controlled more territory. Thanks to Obama’s impulsive overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi with no replacement at hand, those terrorists now control most of Libya. They’re on the winning side of Obama’s vanished red line in Syria.  And they came within a few days of taking over Mali, but for a U.S. airlift of French troops. A reinforcement rescue the Obama administration was completely unprepared to undertake on 9/11/12 to save embattled Americans in Benghazi.

Remember Obama’s misplaced concern over bin Laden’s death photos? Never mind giving 317 million Americans the satisfaction of seeing that satanic symbol of murderous evil brought to final justice.  Instead, Obama’s ruling worry was over inciting crazy people to still do crazy things. As if sparing their delicate eyes from a bullet-riddled bin Laden would somehow cause terrorists to go easy on the next vest laden with C-4.

But now suddenly it’s OK for a dismissive Obama to flippantly liken the homicidal remnants of al Qaeda to pimply teen-aged boys who can’t make the varsity basketball team? Seriously? You can bet before the next game this clipping will go up on the bulletin board in al Qaeda’s locker room. Thank goodness, though, Obama finally appears to have gotten his priorities straightened out. Yes, he did vow that 2014 would be a year of action creating all those promised jobs. But that’s later.

Today’s big issue event for both the president of the United States and the vice president of the United States is to hear recommendations from a special commission they created to reduce wait times for voters. Seriously.

Andrew Malcolm, Investor’s Business Daily – January 22, 2014

The Netherlands Embarks On Welfare Reform

The Netherlands, which built one of the world’s largest welfare states, is trying to reduce welfare dependency, says Michael Boskin, a professor of economics at Stanford University.  In the 1960s and 1970s, the Netherlands developed a welfare program that contained so many subsidies and transfer payments that after-tax wages were barely higher than the benefits being paid out by the government. When Dutch citizens lost their jobs, they rarely returned to work.

The welfare state did a lot to damage the Dutch economy. King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, recently said: “Our labor market and system of public services no longer fully meet the demands of the twenty-first century….The classical welfare state is slowly but surely evolving into a participation society.”  As a result, the country is taking steps to change that:

  • Disability insurance led to skyrocketing disability payments, even while the percent of workers in dangerous jobs decreased. To deal with that rise in payments, the Dutch are requiring firms with high claim rates to pay more for the insurance, to incentivize workplace safety.
  • The country has begun using information campaigns to encourage the unemployed to return to work, and welfare recipients now must demonstrate proof that they are actively searching for a job before they can become eligible for benefits. They also must work or perform volunteer community service while receiving benefits. Even if a job requires a long commute, the system requires that recipients take that job.

Other countries should take similar steps. All countries are going to see an increase in dependency as life expectancies rise. The United States, in the next 30 years, will go from one retiree for every three workers to one retiree for every two workers, and Italy and Germany each will have a 1:1 ratio.

Governments should make an effort to rein in their unsustainable welfare state programs before it is too late.

National Center for Policy Analysis – January 22, 2014

The U.S. must reform [all the freebie programs] and it must be soon.  But that will require a positive change in the federal government.  Hopefully the GOP can win control of the Senate in 2014 and will start the process.  Don O’Nesky

He Must Have Known Obama!

“Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.” – Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American author, philosopher, awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

Aetna CEO: We May Have To Pull Out Of Obamacare, Or Heavily Hike Premiums

Via CNBC, an appropriate companion story to Moody’s decision to downgrade health insurers’ credit outlook to “negative.” At least one chief executive within the industry is openly warning markets and consumers that actions — and math — have real-world consequences, no matter how hard political actors spin.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Wednesday that Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the insurance company could be forced to pull out of program. The company will be submitting Obamacare rates for 2015 onMay 15. “Are they going to be double-digit [increases] or are we going to get beat up because they’re double-digit or are we just going to have to pull out of the program?” Bertolini asked…”Those questions can’t be answered until we see the population we have today. And we really don’t have a good view on that.” He said that so far, Obamacare has just shifted people who were insured in the individual market to the public exchanges where they could get a better deal on a subsidy for coverage. “We see only 11 percent of the population is actually people that were firmly uninsured that are now insured. So [it] didn’t really eat into the uninsured population.”

That brief excerpt underscores several intractable problems with the president’s healthcare law. (1) The risk pools’ demographics aren’t shaping up to be healthy enough to make the exchanges work well. (2) If insurers eventually begin to sever ties with Obamacare, the remaining plans will face an even more acute scarcity crisis. In other words, “access shock.” (3) Climbing premiums appear to be a fact of life under Obamacare, which was sold as an antidote to the problem. (4) Very few of the “newly” insured within the exchanges were previously uninsured — the very population that this expensive law was ostensibly designed to help. In light of those struggles, Jonah Goldberg poses the rhetorical question that many Americans are asking themselves: So what was the point of Obamacare, again? Bertolini went on to comment that because Obamacare represents such a small sliver of Aetna’s business, the prospect of a health insurance bailout is basically a non-factor for his company. That won’t be the case for other insurers, however, and I’d imagine that a (scheduled) industry bailout won’t go over particularly well with the public, for reasons outlined by Megan McArdle:

Summer 2014: Insurers get a sizable chunk of money from the government to cover any excess losses. When the costs are published, this is going to be wildly unpopular: The administration has spent three years saying that Obamacare was the antidote to abuses by Big, Bad Insurance Companies, and suddenly it’s a mechanism to funnel taxpayer money to them?

Those costs may not be published until 2015. I quoted McArdle’s piece at some length yesterday, and I’d encourage you to read the entire thing. She and another Obamacare opponent debated two supporters of the law on the hyper-liberal, tony Upper West Side of Manhattan earlier in the week. And they won.

For your reference, a “win” in this forum is determined by which side persuaded more people, based on pre- and post-debate votes from audience members. Obamacare’s critics doubled their percentage of the vote among a crowd that is heavily inclined to support the president and his liberal policies.

Guy Benson, TownHall
January 24, 2014

In Hoc Anno Domini – “In this year of our Lord”

Vermont Connecticut Royster

Vermont Connecticut Royster

Vermont Connecticut Royster was the editor of the editorial page of the The Wall Street Journal from 1958 to 1971. He was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his writing, and numerous other awards. Royster was famed for providing a conservative interpretation of the news every day, especially regarding economic issues.

Several of the editorials he wrote are considered classics: The Desolate Wilderness along with And the Fair Land are now the Wall Street Journal’s traditional Thanksgiving editorials, and In Hoc Anno Domini appears every Christmas since he wrote it in 1949.

In Hoc Anno Domini (In this year of our Lord) is reprinted here courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in diverse places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.