Happy New Year!

From the publisher and over 80 contributors to the DrRichSwier.com e-Magazine a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you and yours.

Rubio Tears Into Charlie Crist Over His “Failed Leadership”

Rubio always loves to rip into Crist over his political flip flops and “failed leadership”.

U.S. Officials in meltdown over Obama’s Ebola mission

In the Middle East, for the past 3 years, Obama has avoided exercising traditional U.S. leadership in the world community to mobilize support for the prevention of the continued slaughter of Christians (by his inaction, by taking no action), he has signaled ISIL that it is safe to continue slaughtering Christians.  Obama continues to state almost daily, that there will be no boots on the ground in the Middle East; ISIL has become emboldened by his telling them what he will not do..

Instead of inserting boots on the ground with small Special Operations units in the Levant of what used to be Iraq, to coordinate command & control, U.S. air operations & strikes, and gathering of actionable intelligence, and instead of putting 3000 military boots on the ground along the southern border to stem the massive influx of Illegal Immigrants, drug smugglers, human smugglers, and terrorist flooding across the southern border, Obama is executing a very dangerous plan to deploy 3,000 US military personnel to the Ebola infected jungles of Liberia.  Obama has placed the 3,000 military personnel under the command of the State Department not the Defense Department.

Helping contain Ebola is not the duty for the U.S. Armed Forces to perform, the US Military is not an organization that contain contagious and infectious diseases that have no cure.  It is something the UN Health Organization together with the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention should be doing, it is not a military mission the military was properly trained to execute.  U.S. Armed Forces personnel should be employed in combat operations; this is just another abuse of U.S. Military personnel by Obama. (please read the below listed article).

The Obama administration representatives could not answer some very basic questions: was there adequate protective and preventive medical equipment and health training procedures that they would provide to the 3000 military personnel, to make sure military personnel would not get infected with Ebola.  The Obama administration had no answers to those question posed by the press. In recent days, health officials around the world have become alarmed by the prospect that the Ebola virus could mutate and go airborne, then the spread of infection would be virtually be impossible to contain.

Obama’s order to deploy 3,000 boots on the ground in West Africa to help contain Ebola is risking infecting the nation with a  killer plague that has no medical cure.  This latest unsound and flawed initiative by the occupant of the Oval Office, hazarding the lives of 3000 US military personnel with the possibility of being infected with Ebola, further displays a lack of cautious and intelligent leadership.    The Speaker of the House endorsed Obama’s perilous policy, that risks the security of the nation and hazards the lives of children and the elderly in America.

Obama’s initiatives will be praised and celebrated by the left of center liberal media establishment. Obama’s very dangerous decision will be hazarding the entire nation, especially when the 3000 military personnel return—they should all be quarantined, off shore, for at least 2 months before they are allowed to set foot back on CONUS.  This risky initiative, will result in more of the American people not trusting the judgment of the President or the Speaker of the House, since they are both supporting a policy, that is endangering the safety and security of the American people.

U.S. OFFICIALS IN MELTDOWN ON OBAMA’S EBOLA MISSION

Can’t answer questions posed at congressional hearing on crisis

By JEROME R. CORSI

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday on Ebola, government health workers were unable to answer specific questions posed by Republicans skeptical of President Obama’s decision to deploy 3,000 U.S. troops to Liberia to combat the disease.

None of the government health witnesses testifying were able to answer basic questions, including how many physicians and nurses would be among the 3,000 troops allocated or what type of protective equipment and training would be employed to prevent infection.

The witnesses explained the State Department was in charge of the military mission, not the Pentagon.

“Who do we call when there is a problem with the troops in Liberia?” asked Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a physician and a guest on the committee.

“You call USAID,” replied Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID.

She explained the situation in Liberia is a medical emergency, and USAID is directing the Obama administration’s response in West Africa.

USAID reports to the State Department, not to the Department of Defense.

As WND reported, retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin has charged that sending American troops to combat Ebola in Liberia is “an absolute misuse of the U.S. military.”

Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., began the questioning by asking the government health witnesses whether or not the Obama administration has allocated sufficient funding to support the military mission in Liberia. Smith also asked what steps the administration plans to take to protect the health of the troops deployed there.

Unable to directly answer Smith’s questions, Lindborg stressed the U.S. wants to provide “command and control” in Liberia, coordinating international efforts to provide physicians and nurses.

Lindborg promised to deliver after the hearing a breakdown of the roles the 3,000 U.S. troops would play.

She explained the goal of the military mission is to establish a Joint Force Command headquartered in Liberia to serve as a regional command for U.S. military activities in the region. The plan is also to establish an Ebola “training boot camp” to train up to 500 local health care workers weekly and to set up a 25-bed hospital in Liberia open to all health care aid workers in West Africa who contract the disease.

“When will the 3,000 military be in theater?” Smith asked. “Can you also reassure the American people that the military deployed to Liberia will have adequate protective medical equipment and training to make sure our troops do not get infected with Ebola while in the region”

Lindborg was unable to provide Smith precise timelines for the arrival of U.S. troops nor was she able to detail the protective medical equipment and training the troops will be provided prior to arrival.

Coming to Limburg’s defense, Dr. Beth Bell, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained the CDC has prepared material regarding what medical personnel dispatched to West Africa to combat Ebola need to know before they arrive in the disease hot zone.

In her prepared opening statement, Bell appeared to minimize the risk presented by the current outbreak, stressing Ebola is “not a significant health threat to the United States.”

She argued Ebola is not easily transmitted and does not spread from people who are not ill She also noted cultural norms that contribute to the spread of the disease in Africa, such as burial customs, are not a factor in the U.S.

“There is a window of opportunity to tamp down the spread of this disease, but that window is closing,” Bell testified. “The best way to prevent the Ebola virus from reaching the United States is to contain the virus outbreak in West Africa now.”

She told the committee that the $600 million the United Nations believes will be needed to get supplies to West African countries to get the virus under control is “an underestimate.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained the NAAID has begun active human testing of various alternative therapies and experimental drugs to combat Ebola. The effort includes working with Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. to develop MB-003, a combination of three antibodies that has successfully prevented Ebola from developing in monkeys when administered as late as 48 hours after exposure.

In combination with the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, NIAID is testing an experimental vaccine that uses a chimpanzee virus similar to the common cold virus, Chimp Adenovirus 3 (Cad3), as a carrier, or vector, to introduce the Ebola virus genes into the body, with the goal of stimulating an immune response.

Fauci, under questioning from the committee, argued that while it is possible the Ebola virus could mutate in Liberia to become airborne, it is unlikely.

“The American public should not lose sleep over the possibility Ebola will go airborne,” he said. “But we have to contain the virus right now, because the more the virus escalating, infecting additional people, the greater the chance the virus will mutate.”

ABOUT JEROME R. CORSI

Jerome R. Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D., is a WND senior staff reporter. He has authored many books, including No. 1 N.Y. Times best-sellers “The Obama Nation” and “Unfit for Command.” Corsi’s latest book is “Who Really Killed Kennedy?”

Jimmy Carter’s Love for Terrorists

Jimmy Carter was elected President for one reason—Richard M. Nixon. The feeling in the nation was that the born-again Sunday school teacher and Georgia Governor was the perfect antithesis of the President who was forced to resign over the Watergate scandal. He defeated Gerald Ford, Nixon’s Vice President who was largely punished for the 1974 pardon he gave the disgraced Nixon.

In a similar fashion Ronald Reagan was elected President to replace Carter who was widely seen as a failure for both his domestic and foreign policies. For the years since, Carter was understood to have been the worst President, but a recent Quinnipiac University poll of 1,446 registered voters ranked Obama as the worst since the end of World War II, granting Carter an approval rating four times higher than Obama.

I never liked Carter and Reagan’s election in 1980 marked the beginning of my transition from liberal to conservative; one that I suspect occurred for many others as well. Larry Bell, a NewsMax contributor, commenting on the Quinnipiac poll, noted that “Just as with Obama, the Carter administration had inherited a recession and did little to improve a weak economy.”

After Carter took office Bell noted that “unemployment continued to rise, inflation reached 13 percent, and interest rates approached 20 percent.” Reagan set about improving the economy, rebuilt our military strength, confronted the Soviet Union, and the 1980s are remembered fondly by those who lived through his two terms.

Carter faced problems with Iran that had seized twenty U.S. diplomats in 1979 and held them for 444 days, unresponsive to his efforts to free them. A military attempt failed, killing thirty soldiers when our helicopters crashed. I have always thought that the Iranians took Reagan’s measure and feared what he would do. They released the hostages the same day he was first sworn into office.

On August 5, USA Today reported that Carter had “called upon the West to recognize the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas as a legitimate ‘political actor’ that represents the bulk of the Palestine population.”

Extremely critical of Israel’s military operation to protect its citizens against the deluge of rockets coming out of Gaza, Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson had their views published in a Foreign Policy article, saying “There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war.”

ap_mashaal_carter2_080421_main

Hamas leader Khaled Meshal and Jimmy Carter. Photo by ABC News.

Carter has never met a despot, from Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev to Bashar Assad and his father, Hafez, to the gang that runs Hamas that he didn’t like. That is the quintessential trait of liberals who have always been attracted to despots. They’re the ones who wear Che Guevara t-shirts.

Carter, different from most evangelicals, has never given any evidence of respecting Jews or Israel. The high point of his presidency was the Egypt-Israel peace treaty known as the 1978 Camp David accords, but both parties had their own reasons for agreeing to its terms.

In his twenty-first book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”, published in November 2006, Carter sided totally with the so-called Palestinians. Writing in the Middle East Quarterly’s spring 2007 edition, a longtime advisor to Carter, Kenneth W. Stein, criticized it at length, noting “egregious errors of both commission and omission. To suit his desired ends, he manipulates information, redefines facts, and exaggerates conclusions.” That’s a nice way of saying he lied a lot.

Stein pointed out that Carter’s book “omits mention that Hamas denies the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East and the group’s belief that historical Palestine belongs in its entirety to Muslims.”

The book’s title reflected the libel against Israel when it used the word “apartheid”, likening Israel to South Africa’s racial oppression of blacks until it was forced to rescind it. It is comparable to the lies that Israel is the “occupier” of lands won in the wars waged against it. It’s like saying the U.S. is the occupier of land formerly owned by Mexico.

Compounding Carter’s slur is the fact that Arab citizens of Israel have always had the same rights as Jews and others who emigrated there. At present there are eleven Arabs in Israel’s Knesset (parliament). In only one respect do they differ; Israel does not require Arab citizens to serve in its Defense Force, but they may volunteer to serve if they wish.

Recognizing a terrorist group like Hamas, as Carter calls for, is not that different from saying the same of Hezbollah or the newly-arisen Islamic State that has seized land from Syria and Iraq. It’s beyond stupid. It betrays a deeply held anti-Semitism. In 2009, that was so evident Carter apologized with an open letter to the Jewish community in America.

Hamas has not disavowed its stated intention to destroy Israel and kill all of its Jewish citizens.

That Americans are comparing Obama unfavorably to Carter, lifting Carter from the basement of presidential approval, tells us a lot about his performance in office since his 2008 election and 2012 reelection.

At least Americans had the good sense to end Carter’s presidency in one term, but it virtually assures that Obama will replace Carter as the worst U.S. President ever.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Judge Upholds Tennessee Marriage Amendment by Bethany Monk

A state judge in Tennessee ruled in favor of the voter-approved constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This is the first time a judge has upheld such an amendment since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2013.

The Tennessee case involves two men who obtained a marriage license in Iowa four years ago. The couple is now seeking a divorce in Tennessee.

simmons_russell_e

Roane County Circuit Judge Russell E. Simmons

In the decision, Roane County Circuit Judge Russell E. Simmons “rejected the idea that the Windsor decision undercut state authority,” Supreme Court reporter Lyle Dennison wrote on ScotusBlog.com.

Though the ruling applies only to this couple, it’s still notable.

“The value of this decision is in being able to counter the Left’s boasting that same-sex marriage is a ‘done deal’ in the courts. It’s not,” said Focus on the Family Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht. “And if the recent oral arguments in the 6th Circuit cases involving marriage amendments — of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan — provide any clues as to that court’s upcoming decision, it looks like those states’ right to define marriage as one-man, one-woman could receive a huge judicial boost as well.”

A similar case has been heard at the Texas Supreme Court. A decision has not been issued. Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, applauds Simmons for respecting marriage.

“The federal government and activist judges have no authority to redefine marriage in Tennessee, Texas, or any other state,” he explained. “It should continue to be a state’s right to recognize the ‘best definition of marriage’ and affirm the unique good that a mom and dad play in a child’s life. We will continue to proudly stand for what’s right, no matter how hard the federal government and the out-of-control judiciary tries to redefine marriage against the will of the people and states.”

Hausknecht agrees.

“The definition of marriage is a state issue, as Justice Kennedy told us in last summer’sWindsor decision,” he said. “It’s time that the courts took him at his word.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Read the decision in Borman v. Borman.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on Citizen Link.

Kurds Stand with Israel Against HAMAS at the White House!

On Saturday August 9, 2014, J. Mark Campbell, investigative reporter with The United West, captured a wonderful moment on tape in Lafayette Square across from the White House in Washington DC. As a Pro-Israel group was standing against a HAMAS rally, a group of Kurdistan supporters came over to the Pro-Israel group and stood in solidarity with them against the HAMAS terrorist group. Enjoy the moment!

Learn more at The United West website.

Proof that the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is HAMAS

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) describes itself as a “non-profit, grassroots membership organization…established to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America,” and to protect Muslims from hate crimes and discrimination. According to the council’s spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, “We are similar to a Muslim NAACP.” CAIR has further explained that it is “dedicated to presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public.”

There is one problem, this non-profit is supporting the blockade of ships coming to the Port of Oakland. The poster below was found by Ken, one of our readers, on the CAIR Facebook members page. Is this promoting a “positive image of Islam and Muslims in America”? Is this the role of a non-profit? Should not this clear political action against a U.S. ally not cause the IRS to review and potentially withdraw CAIR’s non-profit status?

cair poster

Poster on the CAIR Facebook members page. For a larger view click on the poster.

According to Discover the Networks, CAIR has strong ties to the terrorist group Hamas:

  • “[CAIR] was formed not by Muslim religious leaders throughout the country, but as an offshoot of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). Incorporated in Texas, the IAP has close ties to Hamas and has trumpeted its support for terrorist activities.” Former chief of the FBI’s counter terrorism section, Oliver Revell, called the IAP “a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants.”
  • CAIR’s head, Nihad Awad asserted at a 1994 meeting at Barry University, “I am a supporter of the Hamas movement.”
  • Former FBI counter terrorism chief, Steven Pomerantz, stated publicly that, “CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”

CAIR promotes extremist views and a radical Islamic vision:

  • At a speech in Fremont, California, Omar M. Ahmad of CAIR proclaimed that, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran…should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper equates Christian leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Rev. Jimmy Swaggart with Osama bin Laden because he claims that given the chance, they would commit mass murder against Muslims. “They’re the equivalent of our Osama bin Laden,” Hooper told WABC Radio’s Steve Malzberg. When asked to clarify if Osama bin Laden’s goal was to kill Christians, Jews and Westerners, Hooper responded, “Yes, that’s one of his goals. And I’m sure that, given the right circumstance, [Falwell, Robertson and Swaggart] would do the same in the opposite direction.”

  • CAIR is an apologist for convicted Islamic terrorists:
  • CAIR’s founder, Nihad Awad, wrote in the Muslim World Monitor that the 1994 World Trade Center trial, which ended in the conviction of four Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, was “a travesty of justice.” According to Awad — and despite the confessions of the terrorists from the 1993 attack — “there is ample evidence indicating that both the Mossad and the Egyptian Intelligence played a role in the explosion.”
  • On Feb. 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named Siraj Wahhaj as one of the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments. Yet CAIR deems him “one of the most respected Muslim leaders in America” and includes him on its advisory board.

CAIR is reluctant to condemn terrorists and terrorism:

  • In October 1998, the group demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as “the sworn enemy,” finding this depiction “offensive to Muslims.”
  • In 1998, CAIR denied bin Laden’s responsibility for the two Al Queda African embassy bombings. According to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, the bombings resulted from a “misunderstandings of both sides.”

CAIR supports organizations that fund terrorism:

  • When President Bush closed the Holy Land Foundation in December 2001 for collecting money that intelligence found was “used to support the Hamas terror organization,” CAIR decried his action as “unjust” and “disturbing.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Hamas top dog: We cannot coexist with “occupiers”
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Kerry “completely capitulated” to Hamas in ceasefire proposal
Gaza streets and homes rigged with explosives

Common Core: “Effing the Ineffable”

“’One size fits all’ may be a term of mockery used by people who disdain the top-down solutions of centralized power; in the technocratic vision, ‘one size fits all’ describes the ideal.” – Andrew Ferguson

In his column “The Common Core Commotion: Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Andrew Ferguson gives both an historical and technocratic analysis of Common Core State Standards. Common Core is the end game of a process that began under President Ronald Reagan and is now in full force under President Barack Obama.

Ferguson writes, “The logic of education reform always points to more education reform. With experts having shown they didn’t really know how to improve education on a broad scale, and with state school officials having proved themselves in many cases to be cheats and bunco artists, the solution was clear to every educationist: State school officials should get together with experts to come up with a new reform. Except this time it would work.”

Ferguson describes the “world view” on education by technocrats like Bill Gates and those within government run education from the U.S. Department of Education to the local School Board. Ferguson describes Bill Gates thusly:

His faith is technocratic and materialist: In the end he believes the ability of highly credentialed observers to identify and solve problems through the social sciences is theoretically limitless. ‘Studies’ and ‘research’ unlock the human secret. This is the animating faith of most educationists, too. All human interactions can be dispassionately observed and their separate parts identified, isolated, analyzed, and quantified according to some version of the scientific method. The resulting data will yield reliable information about how and why we behave as we do, and from this process can be derived formulas that will be universally applicable and repeatable.

Ferguson concludes with, “The delays and distancing suggest a cloudy future for the Common Core. Even its advocates say that the best possible outcome for now involves a great deal more unpleasantness: The tests will be given to many students beginning next spring, and the results will demonstrate the catastrophic state of learning in American schools. Of course, we knew that, but still. ‘Maybe this will be a reality check,’ one booster told me the other day. ‘People will take a look at the results and say, ‘Aha! So this is what they’ve been talking about!’ It will send a very strong signal.’”

Ferguson notes, ” “Eff the Ineffable” is the technocrat’s motto.” Common Core is the technocrats way of Effing the Ineffable.

The following chart is courtesy of Education News and compares the traditional and Common Core education models:

Description

Type #1

Traditional

Classical Learning

Type #2

CSCOPE and

Common Core Standards

 

Progressive,

Radical Social Justice Agenda

     
Instruction Direct instruction by teacher Self-directed learning, group-think Emphasis on:Subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, evolution, sexual freedom, contraceptives, environmental extremism, global warming and climate change, victimization, diversity, acceptance of homosexuality as normal, redistribution of wealth

 

 

De-emphasis on:

Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution, national sovereignty, Founding Fathers, American exceptionalism

 

     
Curriculum Academic, fact-based, skills, research Social concerns, project-based, constructivism, subjective, uses unproven fads and theories
     
Teacher’s Role Authority figure; sets the plan for the class; academic instruction Facilitator
     
Student’s Role Learn from teacher; focus on factual learning, develop foundation skills for logical and analytical reasoning, independent thinking Students teach each other; focus on feelings, emotions, opinions; group-think
     
English, Language Arts, Reading (ELAR) Phonics; classical literature; cursive handwriting; grammar; usage; correct spelling; expository, persuasive, research writing Whole language, balanced literacy,Guided Reading; no cursive writing instruction so cannot read primary documents of Founding Fathers
     
Mathematics “Drill and Skill,” four math functions learned to automaticity Fuzzy math, rejects drill and memorization of math facts, dependent on calculators
     
Social Studies Focus on American heritage and exceptionalism, national sovereignty, Founding documents Diversity, multiculturalism, globalization, revisionist history, political correctness
     
Character Development Pro-faith, self-control, personal responsibility, self-discipline, solid work ethic Secular, moral relativism, anti-faith, victimization
     
Equality Equal opportunities Equal outcomes
     
Assessment Students evaluated by earned grades, objective tests Inflated grades, subjective assessments evaluated based upon value system of grader, group grades
     
Outcomes Objective tests (right-or-wrong answers), emphasis on academic skills and knowledge Subjective assessments; emphasis on holistic, “feel good” scoring

Original chart produced by Carole H. Haynes, Ph.D. – chaynes777@gmail.comRevised chart produced 11.04.13.

How “Normal” is Bowe Bergdahl?

Twitter picture of Bowe Bergdahl and a Taliban friend.

There are few military crimes worse than desertion to the enemy short of outright treason by giving them aid and comfort.

So why is the U.S. Army declaring Sgt. Berghdal (he received a promotion from private first class while being either a Taliban captive or guest) a “normal soldier now”? When one’s entire unit declares him a deserter for leaving their Afghanistan based on June 30, 2009—as they did on a show with Fox’s Megyn Kelly—by what stretch of the imagination is he just a normal soldier stationed at the headquarters of Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston?

Fox News reported that former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow who served with Bergdahl as saying “I think it’s very clear he deserted his post. He thought about what he was doing, he mailed some things home, he walked away and we have witnesses who saw him walking away. And if you’re walking away in one of the worst, most dangerous areas of Afghanistan without your weapon and gear, I don’t believe you’re planning on coming back.”

AA - Taliban Released

The five Taliban commanders released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl.

If he is found to be a deserter, the release of five high level Taliban generals to get him back is one more Obama obscenity since it is well known that he has wanted to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center for enemy combatants captured on the field. Having already investigated the circumstances surrounding his having left his unit, the U.S. Army surely knew whether Bergdahl was a deserter at the time the decision was made to swap for him. I suspect, too, that a major ransom was paid the Taliban for his release.

This is, however, a different Army than the past. It, like the other elements of our military has become highly politicized by the Obama administration; one that continues to reduce its size under the cover of sequestration. Many of the military’s top officers have been relieved of command or pushed into retirement. Even officers in the field in Afghanistan are being fired. The effect on the troop’s morale is incalculable.

Fox News reported on July 14 that “Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could have a tax-free $350,000 dropped into his bank account if the current investigation into his disappearance from his base in Afghanistan was not desertion, and if he is deemed to have been a prisoner of war for the five years he was held by Islamic militants.”

Given the circumstances of his decision to leave his unit, immediately becoming liable to capture, and the reported statements, letters, and other views he held about his deployment and about the U.S. Army, Berghdal is most certainly not “a normal soldier.”

AA - Bergdahl Parents

President Obama with Bowe Bergdahl’s parents in Rose Garden.

One must ask why Obama thought the announcement of his release merited a White House presentation that included his parents; his father uttered an Islamic phrase that drew a presidential smile. The phrase “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” is a common Arabic phrase, considered by some to be a major pillar of Islam and featured prominently in the Koran.

To date, however, Bergdahl has reportedly not spoken to his parents. Why? And how “normal” is that?

If Bergdahl went AWOL in Afghanistan, why are we being told he is free to move around at will? One has to wonder if he doesn’t have some military “minders” with him at all times to avoid a problem that would cause a big scandal. What we do know is that this Army sergeant has hired a Yale University legal scholar to represent him.

I suspect that a major cover-up is going on and that the official Army decision will be that he was a prisoner of war after leaving his unit. A soldier whose return was celebrated in the White House rose garden by the President is not likely to see a day in the brig. At most he might receive a dishonorable discharge for going AWOL. After that both the White House and the Army will hope he sinks into anonymity.

Everything surrounding Bergdahl’s “disappearance” from his unit and his return shouts cover-up. One element is likely to be a very lengthy “investigation”, one that surely will not come to a conclusion before the forthcoming November midterm elections.

Given the honor, loyalty and sacrifice of thousands of U.S. soldiers on duty today, as veterans and as fallen heroes, the Bergdahl story is an offence to them and to all Americans. It is one more chapter in the legacy of a President who has been far more sympathetic to our nation’s enemies than our military.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

EDITORS NOTE: The featured Twitter photo is courtesy of the UK Daily Mail.

The IRS Is Not Out Of Control

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, provided an interesting perspective on last week’s House Oversight hearing on the IRS targeting scandal.

During the hearing, emails were presented showing that after seeing a draft copy of an IRS Inspector General report on the political targeting of non-profits, Lois Lerner told her co-workers to be “cautious” in their email communications because “Congress might be watching.” She also asked the IRS IT department if the department’s internal chat system was searchable.

Lerner’s IT colleague, Maria Hooke, responded, “No, the IRS does not routinely save chat communications – unless employees intentionally take steps to preserve their conversations.  These chat communications are not saved – and this is critical – despite the fact that “the functionality exists within the software.”

And how did Lerner respond?  “Perfect.”

I am reminded of something Lord Acton once said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”

Or, as Jay Sekulow opined, “Some have said the IRS was out of control.  I’d say the opposite.  It was very much in control – doing exactly what it was intended to do with relative impunity, including setting up its own IT resources not to preserve records but to cover its tracks.”

The online dictionary defines conspiracy as “an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot, a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose, an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.”

American citizens live in constant fear of the IRS wrecking havoc on their lives, seizing their assets and throwing them in prison – and all with impunity. Yet evidence now shows that Lois Lerner and certain colleagues at the IRS clearly conspired to punish select politically conservative individuals and non-profits; actions that are a clear violation of federal law.

If this were an isolated incident one could make the case that Lerner and her cohorts could have been given appropriate reprimands and the IRS resumed normal business operations. But this is not an isolated case. Political targeting and retaliation by the IRS has been standard operating procedure since the agency’s inception. It is part of the organizational and operational DNA.

The Lerner case demands a special prosecutor. And America demands that the IRS be given a national pink slip.

The FairTax® stands ready to fully replace the current income tax code. And it is the only tax replacement plan before Congress that gives the IRS their walking papers.

If you agree, please send a note to your local newspaper and ask the editor to endorse the FairTax.

If you are on Facebook, share this picture and tell your friends why you support the FairTax Plan.

My name is FairTax

Tell them that under the FairTax they will never have to dreadApril 15 again, because their days of filing tax returns will be over. Most importantly, be sure and let them know the FairTax disbands, defunds and eliminates the IRS.

To learn more take a quick look at the FairTax, flat tax and income tax comparison chart. Share this chart with your family and friends.

Root Cause of the “Income Equality” Crisis — The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy

The latest political slogan is “income equality.” Various news outlets report that the rich are getting richer and poor getting poorer. Various politicians cry out for more government intervention, more government programs and expanded government funding to address this national crisis. Cries are heard daily from politicians to raise the minimum wage.

But who is really behind this growing income inequality crisis? According to one monetary policy expert it is the U.S. Federal Reserve.

James Rickards in his book “The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System” explains how this has happened in America and will happen again. Rickards writes, “Critics from Richard Cantillon in the early eighteenth century to V.I. Lenin and John Maynard Keynes in the twentieth have been unanimous in their view that inflation is the stealth destroyer of savings, capital, and economic growth.”

Rickards warns, “Inflation often begins imperceptibly and gains a foothold before it is recognized. This lag in comprehension, important to central banks, is called money illusion, a phrase that refers to a perception that real wealth is being created, so that Keynesian ‘animal spirits’ are aroused. Only later is it discovered that bankers and astute investors captured the wealth, and everyday citizens are left with devalued savings, pensions and life insurance.” [Emphasis mine]

Rickards finds that the 1960s and 1970s are “a good case study in money illusion.” “Two lessons from the 1960s and 1970s are highly pertinent today. The first is that inflation can gain substantial momentum before the general public notices it… Second, once inflation perceptions shift, they are extremely difficult to reset,” states Rickards.

Is the Federal Reserve contributing to a money illusion?

According to Rickards, “[S]ince 2008 the Federal Reserve has printed over $3 trillion of new money, but without stoking much inflation in the United States. Still, the Fed has set an inflation target of at least 2.5 percent, possibly higher, and will not relent in printing money until that target is achieved. The Fed sees inflation as a way to dilute the real value of U.S. debt and avoid the specter of deflation. There in lies a major risk.” [Emphasis mine]

Rickards notes history tells is, “[A] feedback loop will emerge in which higher inflation leads to higher inflation expectations, to even higher inflation, and so on. The Fed will not be able to arrest this feedback loop because its dynamic is a function not of monetary policy but of human behavior.”

Rickards predicts:

  1. Skyrocketing gold prices and a crashing dollar;
  2. Russian, China and the International Monetary Fund will stand ready with gold and SDRs, not dollars, to provide a new reserve asset; and
  3. When the dollar next falls from the high wire, there will be no safety net.

Richards in his book notes, “The coming collapse of the dollar and the international monetary system is entirely foreseeable… The international monetary system has collapsed three times in the past century – in 1914, 1939 and 1971. Each collapse was followed by a tumultuous period.”

Santelli-Rick-rant-chart-July-2014-300x157Rick Santelli explains what he believes is happening in the U.S. today. Brian Maloney from MediaEqualizer.com writes: “So what exactly are his [Santelli’s] points? It’s actually simple.” (see chart right):

  1. By keeping interest rates artificially low, the Janet Yellen led Federal Reserve has encouraged reckless government borrowing and spending while crushing savers, especially America’s retirees.
  2. The Fed has focused all its efforts on making the rich even richer through Quantitative Easing while working people suffer and are ignored by Washington’s elite.

Who wins and who loses when there is another financial crisis like the DOT.com bust in 2000 and the housing crisis of 2008? The winners are the bankers and savey investors (the 1%) and their political allies. The losers left holding the bag are citizens living on Main Street U.S.A.

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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.”

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