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Rising Concerns over Muslim Refugee Resettlement in U.S. [Video]

Ann Corcoran’s brief video on Muslim Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. has gone viral since being put up on YouTube on April 20, 2015 by the Center for Security Policy. It has had over 200,735 hits to date climbing every day. Clearly, Corcoran’s message has resonated among concerned Americans. Watch it on YouTube:

Refugee Resettlement and Hijra jpgThe CSP YouTube video is a complement to her recently published book on the problems confronting America over the threat of mass Muslim migration that has transformed Europe and now troubles grass roots America, “Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America .

Corcoran and her team chronicle news and developments about this issue on the blog where she is editor, Refugee Resettlement Watch. You may have read our interview with Erick Stakelbeck, ISIS Threat to America  in the current edition of the NER where he drew attention to the Somali refugee communities in the American heartland sending jihadi terrorists in Somali and Syria.  He spoke of young Somali émigré men who have joined up with, first Al Shabaab in Somalia, and now increasingly, join the Islamic State to fight for the self-declared Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.   We have drawn attention to the problems of Somali refugee resettlement in NER articles and Iconoclast posts over the past eight years.  They have  covered  severe cultural and integration problems in the American heartland  in places like Shelbyville, TennesseeEmporia, KansasGreeley , ColoradoMinneapolis, Minnesota,  Columbus, Ohio, and Lewiston, Maine.

The Somali émigré jihadis aren’t the only terrorists among admitted refugees. Think of the brothers Tsarneav who perpetrated the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. See our NER article, “Refugee Jihad Terror in Boston.”  An ABC investigation reported that dozens of terrorists have been admitted fraudulently under the U.S. Refugee Admission Program.

 One example was two Iraqi refugees, al Qaeda operatives, arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2011 convicted in 2013. They were charged with sending weapons and cash to Al Qaeda. They lied on their Federal Refugee Admission forms about their prior terrorist involvements in Iraq. One had constructed IEDs, involved in killing four members of a Pennsylvania National guard unit in 2006 in Iraq. A check of fingerprints on the shards of the IED caught the perpetrator. Watch this 2013 ABC Report. Recently, one of those convicted, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, filed a motion seeking to overturn his conviction because his counsel said he wouldn’t get life.  That episode briefly raised the criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

In excess of 250,000 Somali and Iraqis have been admitted to the U.S. as refugees.  An estimated one million have immigrated to the U.S. from Muslim lands. Through births and admittance of relatives under the problematic P-3 Family Reunification Visa program the impact could mean millions of additional Muslim émigrés in the U.S.  Virtually all of the Somali and Iraqi refugees were Muslim.  Endangered Christians and other minority religion accounted for less than 8 percent of Syrian Refugees admitted under the State Department administered U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Eleven Christian, Jewish and special interest NGOs or voluntary agencies (VOLAGS) are paid by the billion dollar State Department refugee program to process and place refugees in American communities. VOLAGS like Catholic Charities, Lutheran World Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the International Rescue Committee. The total annual federal and state program costs of refugee resettlement are estimated to range in excess of $12 to $20 billion annually.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees  establishes priorities for U.S. Admissions under the Refugee Act of 1980. An Act co-sponsored by the late Edward Kennedy and then Senator, now Vice President in the Obama Administration, Joe Biden. The U.S. may be poised to accept another wave of over 75,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.   Doubtless they and growing number of  Muslim refugees from  elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia will be “seeded”  in American cities under the Fostering Community Engagement  and Welcoming Communities Project of  the Office of Refugee  Resettlement with the Soros-backed  NGO, “Welcoming America“.

 But now there is pushback by American cities, as witnessed by concerns expressed in letters to Secretary of State Kerry by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Judiciary Sub Committee on Immigration and Border Security. Both The House Subcommittee and the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) hold annual hearings over refugee allotments. Gowdy’s letter of April 13, 2015 was prompted by constituent complaints in Spartanburg, South Carolina of the establishment of a VOLAG office to processing Muslim refugees. He wrote Secretary Kerry seeking answers as to why the office was being established and had not been reviewed with state and local agencies. He ended his letter:

I request that any plans to resettle refugees in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area be placed on hold until my constituents and I receive your substantive responses to the questions and information requested in this letter. Additionally, before moving forward, both the Spartanburg community and I should have time to substantively review the information and be comfortable with the information provided.

As previously stated, I am troubled by the lack of notice and coordination with my office and the Spartanburg community, particularly local officials, regarding the plans to resettle refugees in the area. In that vein, I request at least one month’s notice prior to the arrival of the first refugee[s] in the Spartanburg area.

To find out more about what could become an important issue for evaluation of 2016 Presidential candidates, be sure to listen to an interview with Ann Corcoran of RRW by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates on 1330am WEBY “Your Turn.” The program will air at 5:30 PM CDT (6:30 PM EDT), Tuesday, May 12th.  You may Listen Live here. The recorded program will be archived and posted following the broadcast.  A transcript of the interview may appear in the June edition of the NER.

RELATED ARTICLES:

U.S. Welcomes Millions of Aliens ‘Sight Unseen’

“A Growing Threat”: You’ll be Amazed at the Number of Immigrants Who Have Come to America From Muslim Countries Since 9/11

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Minneapolis and San Diego: Six Somali Muslims arrested and indicted for Material Support of ISIS

When we reviewed Erick Stakelbeck’s latest book, ISIS Exposed we wrote:

Tens of thousands of young Muslims across the ummah from Minneapolis in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and even China have been drawn like bees to the holy beehive of the self-declared Caliphate which espouses Islamic purification through ethnic and religious cleansing.

Stakelbeck addressed an important question about why the large unassimilated Somali émigré community in Minneapolis has become the US hub for Al Qaeda and now ISIS recruitment. The shift of Somali émigré young men from traveling to Somali to join Al Shabaab to join ISIS occurred in the last two years facilitated by the ease of travel to Turkey to enter Syria and the attraction of building a Caliphate based on pure Islam.

Yesterday, six Somali émigré young men in their late teens and early 20’s  were arrested  and indicted by the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis for material support for the Islamic State or ISIS. According to the WSJ report:

All six charged Monday had been arrested Sunday. Four appeared in federal court in St. Paul, Minn.—Adnan Farah, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Hanad Mustafe Musse and Guled Ali Omar—where the court appointed lawyers. Two others appeared in a San Diego court—Mr. Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah—where they were arrested after driving from Minneapolis. They were ordered held pending a detention hearing this week.

 A seventh Abdi Nur is being separately charged as a recruiter as he successfully traveled to Syria to join and fight for ISIS. It is believed that  email exchanges and calls with the seventh  Somali  émigré young man from  Minneapolis Abdi Nur who successfully traveled  last May to Syria may have provided the evidence for the charges in the indictment of  material support for terrorism.  The FBI was able to connect Nur and two others indicted yesterday,  Daud and Yusuf, because of a police report of an accident involving the vehicle driven by Yusuf.

US Attorney for Minnesota Lugar at Press Conference Source Minneapolis Star Trubune

U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger announcing indictments of Somali émigrés. Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Last week we wrote about  Somali émigré Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud from the second largest Somali community in the U.S., Columbus, Ohio who was indicted on federal terrorist  charges following his return from Al Qaeda training in Syria..  Yesterday’s indictments announced by the US Attorney for Minneapolis capped a 10 month investigation.  The Wall Street Journal report on this latest development, illustrated the resourcefulness of those indicted.  Some used student loans to purchase airline tickets to travel to Turkey to enter Syria and join ISIS. The two detained in San Diego were caught trying to enter Mexico from which they intended to travel to Turkey and hence to Syria. Two had traveled by bus from Minneapolis only to be arrested at New York’s JFK Airport.

The WSJ reported the dynamics in this latest terror indictment involving Somali  émigré young men:

“The person radicalizing your son, your brother, your friend may not be a stranger. It may be their best friend right here in town,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said, calling the case an example of “peer to peer” terrorist recruiting.

The men, in their late teens and early 20s, faced barriers thrown up by authorities, their parents and others. They were finally ensnared in a security net that included an informant who turned on his former friends, a suspicious passport specialist and a car accident that helped investigators make a crucial link between the men.

The charges highlight what Mr. Luger called “a terror recruiting problem” in Minnesota. The state’s large Somali population has long been a focus of federal investigators targeting Islamic extremism and would-be foreign fighters in the U.S.

“It’s not a Somali problem, it’s not an immigrant problem. It is our problem. It is a Minnesota problem,” he said.

Three other alleged associates of the men, all of Somali descent, had been charged previously.

Watch this WSJ video interviewing one of the reporters, Andrew Goodman, discussing  the latest Somali Émigré ISIS –related indictments involving the Minneapolis community:

Stakelbeck posted these observations on these latest indictments of Somali émigré young men attempting to join ISIS :

Another day, another American arrested for attempting to join ISIS.

Make that six Americans–all young men of Somali descent in their late teens and early 20’s, and all hailing from Minneapolis–arrested by federal agents over the weekend for allegedly planning to travel to Syria and become soldiers in the Islamic State’s sadistic terror army.

This is just the latest in a disturbing series of foiled plots involving U.S. citizens looking to travel overseas to join ISIS, or stay at home and wage jihad on its behalf here on American soil.

Last week, I posted here about an Ohio man, also a Somali Muslim, who had trained in Syria with Islamic terrorists and then returned to the United States, reportedly with orders to carry out attacks on the homeland. His arrest followed similar recent terror-related busts in New YorkPhiladelphiaIllinois and Kansas. Now we have the Minnesota case.

Is anyone else noticing a pattern here? A few quick things to keep in mind:

  • The Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul are now officially Jihad Central in the United States. As I recount in my latest book “ISIS Exposed” dozens of Somali-Americans have left the Twin Cities in recent years to travel overseas and join terror groups like ISIS and the Al Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab–and some have even carried out suicide bombings. The jihad pipeline from Minnesota to hotspots like Syria and Somalia shows no signs of slowing down.
  • It may shock you to learn that up to 100,000 Somalis live in frosty Minnesota, a state which boasts the largest Somali population in North America. There are also significant Somali populations in Nashville, San Diego, Boston, Columbus, Ohio, Portland, Oregon and (of all places) Lewiston, Maine, thanks in large part to a taxpayer-funded refugee resettlement program run by the U.S. State Department (as explained in detail in Chapter Three of my 2011 book, “The Terrorist Next Door”).
  • I’ve spent a good amount of time on the ground in the Twin Cities’ Somali communities over the past few years reporting for CBN News on the growing jihadi recruitment problem there (watch my most recent reports here and here). My concern is that what we see developing among the Somalis of Minneapolis-St. Paul is similar to what has transpired in Western Europe, where unassimilated, self-segregating Muslim communities have become breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism.
  • Over the past year-and-a-half, the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab has carried out horrific attacks against a shopping mall and a university in Kenya (in both attacks, Christians were specifically targeted). Chillingly, Al-Shabaab has also called for attacks against the Mall of America outside Minneapolis–the largest shopping mall in the United States and a stone’s throw from the city’s Somali-Muslim communities.

Here’s a thought. Suppose the six Somali men who were arrested this weekend decided that, rather than travel to Syria, they’d simply stay put and wage jihad on U.S. soil, acting as what ISIS calls “City Wolves.”

Remember the chaos and carnage just ten men caused when they fanned out across Mumbai, India (the second largest city in the world) armed with assault rifles and bombs in November 2008?

Next Tuesday, April 28th, Stakelbeck will be interviewed by Mike Bates of 1330 AM WEBY Northwest Florida Talk Radio and this writer  on “Your Turn” about  his book, ISIS Exposed and these latest developments  arising from “Jihad Central” in Minneapolis.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Will the May 7th UK Election Result in a Rollback of Islamization?

On May 7th the Conservatives in the UK led by Prime Minister David Cameron, currently in a coalition with Deputy PM  Nick Clegg of the  Liberal Democrats, will face  Labor led by Ed  Miliband and a surge by  the UK Independent Party UKIP  led by Nigel Farage in the election of a new Westminster Parliament.  Farage has been a long term Member of the European Parliament seeking to take the UK out of the EU.  A decade ago, this writer was on a weekly  Radio  America program, originating out of Washington, DC, where Farageheld forth on his vision for the UK. Given recent polling in the UK, Farage may be poised to siphon off upwards of 2 million voters from the Conservatives, perhaps making the UKIP a plausible junior coalition partner in an emerging UK government following the May 7th elections.

Like Geert Wilders leader of the Dutch Freedom Party in the Hague Parliament and Paul Weston of the Liberty GB party in the UK, Farage has made significant inroads in normally Conservative voters over the issue of Mass Muslim immigration, and tolerant policies by the current Cameron government regarding Sharia law recognition and counterterrorism policies towards home grown Muslim rejectionists of British values and laws. Some of whom have committed horrendous terrorist attacks and slaughter on the streets of Great Britain killing dozens and injuring hundreds. Then there are reports of Muslim gangs controlling prisons or in British communities engaging in gang rapes and sex grooming of young girls, and illegal female genital mutilation within their own communities.  Add to that emergence of informal Sharia monitors in predominately Muslim areas in the UK like Tower Hamlets in London.

Hundreds of Muslim young men and women in the UK have left to join ISIS, some like “Jihad John” have prominently involved in ISIS videos beheading UK and American captives. Problems that Britain and the EU face in these matters are graphically depicted in Erick Stakelbeck’s new, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery, And The Hellish Reality of Radical Islam that we reviewed in the April edition of the New English Review, The Caliphate TriumphantHe likened what the UK has become to a dystopian Muslim version of Anthony Burgess’ 1962 book and 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange, depicting Britain ruled by gangs of rampaging young criminal gangs subjected by authorities to “aversion therapy”. His interview with Salafist and ISIS supporter Anjem Choudary of ‎Al-Muhajiroun  illustrated the barbarians already being monitored inside the gates in the UK.

UK Home Secretary Thersa May announcing Extremism Dispruption Orders September 2014

UK Home Secretary Theresa May announcing Extremism Disruption Orders, September 2014.

Soeren Kern in this Gatestone Institute, “British Home Secretary to Islamic Extremists: “The Game is Up” published today discusses Conservative Home Secretary’s platform proposals directed at curtailing Islamization in the UK. Meanwhile let us not forget that PM Cameron championing the City of London becoming the world center for Sharia Finance at an address before the World Islamic Economic Forum in London in 2013.

May’s plan for redressing untoward Islamization in the UK is outlined by Kern:

The plan is part of the Tory election manifesto, a declaration of policies and programs to be implemented if Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party stays in power after the general election on May 7.

The home secretary has pledged that a future Tory government would — among other measures— ban Islamic hate preachers, shut down extremist mosques and review whether Sharia courts in England and Wales are compatible with British values.

May has also promised to crack down on Islamic extremism in British prisons, to monitor how police are responding to so-called honor crimes, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, and to change the citizenship law to ensure that successful applicants respect British values.

May in a March 23rd speech laid out the basis for the Conservative ‘manifesto:’

“There is increasing evidence that a small but significant number of people living in Britain — almost all of whom are British citizens — reject our values. We have seen the Trojan Horse plot to take over state schools in Birmingham. Some concerns about religious supplementary schools. Widespread allegations of corruption, cronyism, extremism, homophobia and anti-Semitism in Tower Hamlets. Hate speakers invited to speak at British colleges and universities. Segregation by gender allowed at universities and even endorsed by Universities UK [a lobbying group representing British universities]. Charities and the generosity of the giving public abused by extremists. Examples of Sharia law being used to discriminate against women. Thousands of ‘honor’ crimes committed every year. And hundreds of British citizens who have travelled to fight in Syria and Iraq.

“It’s clear from these examples that extremism can take many forms. It can be ideological, or it can be driven by social and cultural norms that are contrary to British values and quite simply unacceptable. We have been clear all along that the Government’s counter-extremism strategy must seek to defeat extremism in all its forms, but it’s obvious from the evidence that the most serious and widespread form of extremism we need to confront is Islamist extremism.

“Islamist extremists believe in a clash of civilizations. They promote a fundamental incompatibility between Islamic and Western values, an inevitable divide between ‘them and us.’ They demand a caliphate, or a new Islamic state, governed by a harsh interpretation of Sharia law. They utterly reject British and Western values, including democracy, the rule of law, and equality between citizens, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. They believe that it’s impossible to be a good Muslim and a good British citizen. And they dismiss anybody who disagrees with them — including other Muslims — as ‘kafirs,’ or non-believers.

“Extremism is not something that can just be ignored. It cannot be wished away. It must be tackled head on. Because where extremism takes root the consequences are clear. Women’s rights are eroded. There is discrimination on the basis of race and sexuality. There is no longer equal access to the labor market, to the law, or to wider society. Communities become segregated and cut off from one another. Intolerance, hatred and bigotry become normalized. Trust is replaced by fear, reciprocity by envy, and solidarity by division.

“But tackling extremism is also important because of its link to terrorism. Not all extremism leads to violence and not all extremists are violent, but there is without doubt a thread that binds the kind of extremism that promotes hatred and a sense of superiority over others to the actions of those who want to impose their beliefs on us through violence.

“I know there are some people who disagree with me. They say what I describe as Islamist extremism is simply social conservatism. But if anybody else discriminated against women, denounced people on the basis of their religious beliefs, rejected the democratic process, attacked people on the basis of their sexuality, or gave a nod and a wink in favor of violence and terrorism, we wouldn’t hesitate to challenge them or — if the law was broken — call for their prosecution and punishment.

May ended her speech with a warning to Islamic extremists: “The game is up. We will no longer tolerate your behavior. We will expose your hateful beliefs for what they are. Where you seek to spread hate, we will disrupt you. Where you break the law, we will prosecute you. Where you seek to divide us, we will stand united. And together, we will defeat you.”

May’s Manifesto has unnerved Universities and Justice Ministers over free speech matters and control of imprisoned radical Imams.   Harass Rafik of the Quillam Foundationcommented:

“For the lifetime of this coalition government we have had no published strategy on tackling the ideas and ideology behind non-violent extremism. We are still having the same conversations. We are still talking about Sharia law, still talking about learning more, still talking about tackling non-violent extremism, why aren’t we doing it?”

Banning non-violent extremists in a liberal secular democracy does not work. We can say over the last 10 years the policy does not work. Take the policy of Anjem Choudary and Al-Muhajiroun. Once they were banned initially, they just kept popping up under different names.”

There were the usual Muslim advocates decrying May’s plan as “Islamophobia:”

 The chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh, said: “Nobody will be fooled by the Home Secretary’s claims that these measures are designed to tackle extremism. They are a shameless expression of a hate and bigotry that is increasingly becoming normalized in Britain.” Manzoor Moghal, the chairman of the Muslim Forum, a think tank, told the BBC that May’s proposals would infringe on freedom of speech. “We might be sleep walking into what would be like a police state,” he said. Moghal also said that Sharia courts “do not contradict British laws” and were “subservient to British laws all the time.”

However, as Kern noted in his conclusion, my radio panel colleague of a decade ago, Nigel Farage’s UKIP now is ranked the third party in the UK because of its strong stand against Islamization that appeals to British voters. Kern notes that it “twice as popular as the Liberal Democrats” in the current Cameron government coalition. A tight race coming up on May 7th that might mark a roll back of Islamization in the UK, before it becomes a dystopian Muslim version of Burgess’ A Clock Work Orange.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Minneapolis the U.S. Hub for Islamic State Recruitment?

Abi Nur  on Right in Syria Abdullah Yusuf left -stopped _ Twitter from American w Islamic State

Abdi Nur, right, posted a photo online from Syria. A friend, Abdullah Yusuf, left, was stopped as he tried to depart. Top, an image of Western passports put up by a Twitter user who says she is an American with the Islamic State. Source; New York Times

The Sunday New York Times had a front page story on the chronicle of a pair Somali émigré youths in the Twin Cities, one of whom successfully traveled to Syria to join ISIS, while his friend was stopped before he could board a flight  to join his fellow mujaheddin, “From Minneapolis to ISIS: An American’s Path to Jihad”.   

Abdi Nur was the 20 year old community college attendee who originally wanted to become a lawyer, instead opting for becoming a Jihadist recruit for the Islamic State Caliphate in Raqaa, Syria.  His unlucky comrade, 18 year old, Abdullah Yusuf didn’t make it and finds himself sentenced by the court to the equivalent of a re-education program by a federal judge. Both boys may have been recruited by a youth leader at a Bloomington, Minnesota Al Farooq Mosque.

The article covers the story we wrote about last September concerning  the death of Abdirahmaan Muhumed an ISIS jihadi, a 29 year old  Somali Emigre from Minneapolis, who had airport security access while working as a airline cleaner.  The article attempts to explain what attracted Somali émigré youths and other American Muslims to the Salafist Jihadist Takfir doctrine. Why they were motivated to pick up stakes, abandon their families, cruise IS social media, eventually downloading a veritable Fodor –type guide for Hijrah (immigration) to the Islamic State and obtain free plane tickets to travel to the Caliphate. The Times authors focus on federal investigations and local community intervention and re-education programs that appear to offer few if any relevant answers.

This is the latest story of how  the U.S. humanitarian refugee program, controlled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, flooded this major Midwestern community with 100,000 East Africa Muslims.  Many of them failed to assimilate into American culture with radical Mosques recruiting dozens of native born jihadists to fight and die for first al Shabaab in Somalia and now for ISIS in Syria. We have written about this repeatedly since 2008. The Times article didn’t delve into how the Somali refugees came to the Twin cities with the assistance of voluntary agencies  paid by the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to process them, provide cash assistance, Medicaid and receive a green card to  eventually citizens. All while many of these Muslim émigrés rejected American values, instead seeking to impose their Sharia law on the host non-Muslim community.

ISIS-ExposedErick Stakelbeck on Tuesday, March 17th, aired his version of this story on CBN’s The Watchman“Minneapolis- the U.S. Capital of ISIS” – a prelude for his latest book, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Realities of Radical Islam, by Regenery Publishing.  We are rapidly ploughing through it and will review it for the April NER; hopefully along with a short interview with Stakelbeck about ISIS and the failure of U.S. policy.  Stakelbeck’s latest book, like his previous books on The Brotherhood; America’s Next Great Enemy and Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat reads like a thriller, but with a very important message. Stakelbeck knows the Somali émigré terror recruit story and how our humanitarian refugee program played a major role in creating the radical Muslim environment in these communities that indoctrinated and recruited these youths. He visits the areas that have the look and feel of Mogadishu in Minnesota. He speaks with frustrated Somali community and former law enforcement officials about the futility of trying to divert these youths from a likely dead end that have befallen dozens who preceded them.  He also delves into what attracts these young American Somali and other Muslim émigrés and converts to follow this delusional self destruction jihadist cause.

Watch Stakelbeck CBN ISIS program.

Last Monday, March 16th, Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel was interviewed on Bill Bennett’s Morning America program about what attracts Western and other foreign Muslims, to join the barbaric cause of the Islamic State. Welner provided insights as to what attracts Islamic State recruits that raise serious questions about the social media messaging initiatives of the Obama Administration. Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner explains the root of ISIS’s appeal and why people continue to join its cause. Listen to this informative YouTube interview with Dr. Welner by Bill Bennett:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.