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6 Reasons Why the U.S. Should Not Arm the Syrian ‘Moderates’ [+ Videos]

The Free Syrian Army is on the wrong side. Here’s its bloody track record and disturbing alliances.

In PJ Media I explain why this plan that both Democrats and Republicans is a recipe for disaster:

6. The Free Syrian Army terrorized the Christians of the Syrian village of Oum Sharshouh.

In July 2013, Free Syrian Army fighters entered the Christian village of Oum Sharshouh and began burning down houses and terrorizing the population, forcing 250 Christian families to flee the area.

Terrible things happen in wars, of course, and the FSA’s terrorizing of a Christian village doesn’t necessarily mean that it wouldn’t be effective against the Islamic State. But given this behavior, what kind of a society might the Free Syrian Army establish in Syria, were they to come to power? Apparently not one that would secure the rights of religious minorities, for the terror attack at Oum Sharshouh was not an isolated incident…

5. The Free Syrian Army murdered Christians in the Syrian town of al-Duwayr.

Worthy News reported that just two days after the attack on Oum Sharshouh, Free Syrian Army rebels, targeted the residents of al-Duwayr/Douar, a Christian village close to the city of Homs and near Syria’s border with Lebanon…. Around 350 armed militants forcefully entered the homes of Christian families who were all rounded-up in the main square of the village and then summarily executed.

4. The Free Syrian Army is proud of its attacks on Christians.

In September 2013, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry praised the Free Syrian Army as “a real moderate opposition,” the FSA took to the Internet to post videos of its attack on the ancient Syrian Christian city of Maaloula, one of the few places where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken.

3. The Free Syrian Army attacked the Lebanese border town of Arsal in conjunction with the Islamic State and the jihadist Nusra Front.

Investigative journalist Patrick Poole reported in PJ Media that “multiple media reports indicate that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) is operating openly with ISIS and other designated terrorist groups.”

Indeed. The New York Timesreported in August that, according to Abu Osama, a member of a Nusra Front brigade that participated in the attack, the Arsal assault was “a combined operation involving fighters from the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front and ISIS.” The Times was skeptical:

Abu Osama’s remarks could not be immediately verified, and such cooperation between the F.S.A., the Nusra Front and ISIS would be unusual; the groups have clashed in bouts of rebel infighting in Syria.

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2. The Free Syrian Army has admitted that it is working with the Islamic State.

The Times’ skepticism was unwarranted. Bassel Idriss, a Free Syrian Army commander, said in early September: “We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun.” Perhaps aware his group is supposed to be full of “vetted moderates” who are ready to fight the Islamic State, not work with it, he added: “We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice. Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.” What mission and what values? “Our battle is with the Assad regime, and it is on Syrian lands only.”

In other words, they have no plans to go to battle against the Islamic State in Iraq, no matter what Barack Obama says.

1. FSA members have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and handed over its weapons to Islamic State jihadis.

People love the strong horse, said Osama bin Laden, and that applies to at least some members of the Free Syrian Army. Jordan Schachtel reported at Breitbart in July that “several factions within the Syrian opposition force known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have pledged services to the Islamic State, the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Sources and eyewitnesses said that the FSA has handed over its weapons to the Islamic State in large numbers.”

Now the House and the Senate have given Barack Obama the green light to give them even more weapons, and the Senate is certain to agree. Will those, too, end up in the hands of the Islamic State?

Placing hope in and giving weapons to the Free Syrian Army to take down the Islamic State is the pinnacle of Obama’s fantasy-based policymaking. If only we had a viable opposition party in Congress – then this mad scheme might have been averted.

EDITORS NOTE: After this column was written the U.S. Senate passed the funding bill allowing President Obama to support the Free Syrian Army.

Why is Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL 16) worried about the West African black rhino?

U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL District 16) sends out email alerts to his constituents to keep them informed on what is happening in Washington, D.C. and key issues facing Floridians. Buchanan co-chairs the Florida Congressional delegation and sits on the House Committee on Ways and Means.

One recent email caught my eye. The email had the powerful titled “Mass Extinction”. When I first opened it I thought it was about Hamas wanting to destroy Israel. Buchanan is a stalwart supporter of Israel and its security. However, this email was about recent changes to the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website:

The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend…

Under the ESA, species may be listed as either endangered or threatened. “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened. For the purposes of the ESA, Congress defined species to include subspecies, varieties, and, for vertebrates, distinct population segments.

I thought it important to analyse Buchanan’s comments and give them some perspective. My analysis of Buchanan’s statements are indented in italics.

“Mass Extinction” by Rep. Vern Buchanan

Once a species is extinct, it’s gone forever.

Stating the obvious is interesting but not necessarily germane (relevant) to the issue. There have been many species, like the dinosaurs and most recently the West African black rhino, who have become extinct.

The majestic West African black rhino was declared extinct in 2011. The black rhino was killed off by poachers who sold its horns as an aphrodisiac. Here in the United States, the Endangered Species Act has saved an estimated 227 species from extinction, including the bald eagle, the humpback whale and the grey wolf.

The market demand for the aphrodisiac associated with rhino horns, including those of the black rhino Buchanan refers to, was created in the 1950s by Mao Zedong, the new leader of Communist China. John R. Platt from Scientific American reported, “Mao promoted so-called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a tool for unifying the country he had recently come to lead. That’s when poachers descended on Africa. Between 1960 and 1995 an astonishing 98 percent of black rhinos were killed by poachers, either to feed the new and voracious demand for TCM or, to a lesser extent, for horns to be used as ceremonial knife handles in the Middle East.”

Platt reported, “In 1999 the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) published a report called “African Rhino: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan.” The authors wrote of the almost insurmountable challenge in preserving these final 10 western black rhinos. “Demographically and genetically the western black rhino seems doomed unless the discrete populations are captured and concentrated in one area of its range. Under current conditions, however, this would probably make the remaining animals more vulnerable to poaching.” The act of locating, catching and collecting these rhinos in one place would also be expensive and logistically next to impossible, as Cameroon at the time was plagued by corruption, civil unrest, currency devaluation and mistrust of the West. Even if that feat had been accomplished, the land in northern Cameroon was poorly suited for rhinos and provided very little food. Providing safe habitat for just 20 rhinos would require a fenced-in sanctuary 400 square kilometers in size.”

As the WWF noted government action would not have saved the West African black rhino as the costs of doing so were “insurmountable.” 

The Endangered Species Act is one of the most significant and successful environmental programs enacted in the past half century.

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) states, “The Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed in 1973, was designed to recover species to a level at which they are no longer considered endangered and therefore do not require the Act’s protection.  Unfortunately, the law has had the opposite effect on many species.  The ESA can severely penalize landowners for harboring species on their property, and as a result many landowners have rid their property of the species and habitat rather than suffer the consequences.” [Emphasis mine]

I wanted to let you know of an important – and unfortunate – vote that took place in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. Over my strong objections, the U.S. House voted to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

I was one of eight Republicans to oppose this misguided bill, which was soundly criticized by the Sierra Club, the U.S. Humane Society, the League of Conservation Voters and many other environmental groups.

On the Board of Directors of the League of Conservation, an environmental lobbying group, is Carol Browner, Chair Center for American Progress. Ms. Browner most recently served as Assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, where she oversaw the coordination of environmental, energy, climate, transport, and related policy across the federal government.

 The National Review’s Wesley J. Smith in his column “The Sierra Club’s War on Humans” writes, “Take a new book being promoted by the once sane Sierra Club that advocates cutting the work week in half so that we can all live less prosperous lives. From the promotion of the book Time on Our Side in Sierra magazine:

“There’s no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the U.S.,” Worldwatch senior fellow Erik Assadourian says. “We have to de-grow our economy, which is obviously not a popular stance to take in a culture that celebrates growth in all forms.

But as the saying goes, if everyone consumed like Americans, we’d need four planets.” Whether you move to a smaller house or an apartment, downsize to one or no car, or simply have fewer lattes to-go, a smaller paycheck could reduce consumption overall…

Shorter workweeks could mean more time for psychologically gratifying pursuits such as gardening, reading, or biking.In other words, we should intentionally become poorer in order to save the planet. [Emphasis mine]

This bill will divert money away from saving wildlife for the purpose of creating a reporting database of highly questionable value. In fact, this new “transparency” actually could put endangered species at greater risk of poaching by publicizing the nesting sites and specific location of threatened wildlife. The bill also waters down the definition of “best available science” by requiring federal agencies to utilize all information submitted by cities, counties and tribes even if the data is unscientific, flawed and inaccurate.

The NCPA notes, “Over 1,900 species of plants and animals — 1,351 domestic and 570 foreign — are currently considered by the federal government to be in danger of extinction.  Once a species is listed, they are subject to a variety of conservation efforts, including federal recovery plans that can include a wide variety of measures including habitat protection.  However, these conservation efforts rarely, if ever, consider the total costs of species recovery to federal, state or local governments, and especially to private landowners. The greatest problem with the Act is its land-use control provisions.”

The Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition said the bill “makes a mockery of science” and “prevents species from getting critically needed safeguards.” It passed the House 233-190 and now heads to the U.S. Senate. Fortunately, it is not expected to gain any traction in the Senate.

The Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) is a political action group much in line with the Sierra Club and League of Conservation. Brock Evans joined ESC in 1997 as the Executive Director and President of the Endangered Species Coalition. Prior to assuming leadership of the ESC, Evans served as Vice President for National Issues for the National Audubon Society for 15 years. Earlier, he had served for eight years as Director (head lobbyist) of the Sierra Club’s Washington DC Office.

Member groups include the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Earth Action Network and  1000 Friends of Florida

Promoting the preservation of animal and plant species should be a bipartisan issue important to all of us. Since its enactment in 1973, the Endangered Species Act been so successful that 99 percent of the species placed under its protection have been saved from extinction.

The National Center for Policy Analysis disputes what Buchanan states. NCPA reports:

The ESA’s punitive nature also helps explain the Act’s sorry record conserving species.  Proponents of the ESA cite species that have recovered due to the Act.  Yet, almost invariably these claims are untrue or exaggerated.  For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially claims 46 delisted species — 19 due to recovery, 17 due to data error, 9 due to extinction and one due to partial recovery/data error.  In reality, the delistings were due to the following:

  • Twenty-seven species have been removed due to data error — including the American alligator, which was delisted soon after its initial listing because it was found to be abundant, clearly indicating it was never endangered and was improperly surveyed.
  • Nine species were determined to be extinct.
  • Five species were delisted due primarily to factors unrelated to the ESA, including the ban on the pesticide DDT.
  • Five species were delisted for a variety of other reasons including: private conservation; state, not federal, conservation efforts; and recovery despite harm done by the ESA.

Congress and others have offered cosmetic reforms to improve the ESA’s effectiveness — tacitly admitting that the Act’s punitive approach has failed and that new approaches are needed.  However, these reforms will do little to remove the penalties that undermine the ESA.

The key to future success for endangered species protection is to set a new course based on the recognition that landowners will be cooperative and even helpful when they benefit from, or are at least are not harmed by, conservation initiatives.  This means stripping the ESA of its land-use controls. [Emphasis mine]

Earlier this year, I was honored to receive the U.S. Humane Society’s Legislative Leader award for my record in Congress. I will continue to be a strong advocate for the Endangered Species Act and fight to preserve our wildlife and ecosystems now and in the future.

Steve Foley from the California Report writes, “In parts of New Mexico children have no choice but to wait for their school bus inside of cages. These ‘kid cages’ are the result of government agencies abuse of the Endangered Species Act. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service has placed wolves in populated areas where they have become an economic burden for small business owners, infringed upon private property rights, burdened taxpayers with management costs, and placed fear in the hearts of those who have to deal with them on a daily basis.”

Please let me know what you think,

Vern

If you would like to email Representative Buchanan on this issue please use his online contact form. You may also call or visit one of his offices located in Washington, D.C., Bradenton, FL and Sarasota, FL.

RELATED ARTICLE: Op-Ed: ‘Climate-Smart’ Policies for Africa are Stupid and Immoral

RELATED VIDEO:

Wolves in Government Clothing

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of two West African black rhinos is courtesy of StreamAfrica.com.

Florida Congressional Delegation votes to defund our Veterans and fund Illegals

Heritage Action for America reports, “The budget agreement crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) would lift the discretionary spending caps to $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015 and increase revenues through an assortment of tax increases (which are labeled fees) in exchange for promises of future spending reductions.”

The deal represents an immediate increase in federal spending — $63 billion over the next two years. This is a significant achievement for President Obama, who believes that government spending is a panacea to America’s economic woes.The deal also relies upon promises of future cuts to offset the immediate spending increases. Amazingly, negotiators moved roughly a third of the deficit reduction ($28 billion in cuts) to 2022. By increasing spending, increasing fees and offering up another round of promises waiting to be broken, the deal represents a step backwards.

Newsmax reports, “Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is urging both parties to work through Christmas if necessary to keep the bipartisan budget deal from harming disabled veterans. Ayotte has filed two amendments she says would pay for the $6 billion lost by restoring cuts to veterans’ retirement benefits, but she said Tuesday on CNN’s ‘The Lead with Jake Tapper’ that her amendments will not be taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.” These amendments failed.

The Florida Congressional Delegation is co-Chaired by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R FL-16) and Alcee Hastings (D FL-20). The following is how members of the Florida Congressional Delegation voted for the Ryan-Murray Budget:

Republican members voting YES:

FL 1 REP. JEFF MILLER
FL 15 REP. DENNIS ROSS
FL 7 REP. JOHN MICA
FL 3 REP. TED YOHO
FL 12 REP. GUS BILIRAKIS
FL 2 REP. STEVE SOUTHERLAND
FL 17 REP. TOM ROONEY
FL 16 REP. VERN BUCHANAN
FL 4 REP. ANDER CRENSHAW
FL 27 REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN

Democrat members voting YES:

FL 9 REP. ALAN GRAYSON
FL 14 REP. KATHY CASTOR
FL 23 REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ
FL 21 REP. TED DEUTCH
FL 18 REP. PATRICK MURPHY
FL 24 REP. FREDERICA WILSON
FL 20 REP. ALCEE HASTINGS
FL 26 REP. JOE GARCIA

The following Florida Delegation members voted NO:

FL 6 REP. RON DESANTIS (R)
FL 11 REP. RICHARD NUGENT (R)
FL 8 REP. BILL POSEY (R)
FL 10 REP. DANIEL WEBSTER (R)
FL 22 REP. LOIS FRANKEL (D)

The following Florida Delegation members DID NOT VOTE:

FL 19 REP. TREY RADEL
FL 5 REP. CORRINE BROWN

PODCAST: How Mother Nature will Accelerate the Looming Fiscal Avalanche

Many are writing about the looming fiscal cliff that Congress and the Obama administration will deal with upon return from the Thanksgiving break. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) warns of a looming fiscal avalanche.

In After Fiscal Cliff Comes Fiscal Avalanche, Rejection of U.S. Debt, Senator Lee writes, “While Washington is preoccupied with the so-called fiscal cliff, little attention has been given to the fiscal avalanche that will occur if we continue down an unsustainable, long-term path, causing markets to turn sour on U.S. debt and leading to a spike in interest rates.”

Senator Lee states, “The Congressional Budget Office projects that under the most likely policy scenario, in 30 years, net interest payments on the debt could total $3.8 trillion in today’s dollars. That is more than total government spending for 2011.”

Robert Wiedemer co-author of America’s Bubble Economy – Aftershock wrote America has suffered through a number of financial bubbles and the aftershock following each. To date each of these bubbles, the most recent being the housing bubble, have burst and fallen onto two other looming bubbles. These two bubbles are the “dollar bubble” and the “debt bubble”. Wiedemer predicts these two bubbles will burst when pricked by the pin called “inflation”.

The government fiscal policies which have lead the US to the fiscal avalanche may be helped along by mother nature.

Relying heavily on the research of experts globally, as well as his own original research that correctly predicted the change in the Sun’s behavior, Mr. John L. Casey has spelled out in his book Cold Sun a convincing case that a new cold era has arrived. In Cold Sun, Mr. Casey presents the evidence showing:

1. Global warming ended years ago.
2. The Sun has entered an ominous state of ‘hibernation.’
3. The Earth’s ocean and atmospheric temperatures are dropping rapidly and are now on a long term decline for the next thirty years.
4. Glacial ice worldwide is growing again and the threat of rising sea levels is over.
5. Why we should be preparing now for the coming cold and its ill-effects including record earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions as well as global agricultural devastation.

Mr. Casey’s predictions of mother nature taking her own course fly in the face of current government policies at the national, state and local levels. In this exclusive interview Mr. Casey explains how mother nature will have her way no matter what we try to do:

While government is focused on reducing CO2 emissions to prevent global warming, the earth is in fact cooling. According to Casey this cooling will shorten the growing season causing food prices to increase, require more fuel and energy to heat homes and businesses. The US will experience an increase in the number of natural disasters costing human life loss and property damage on a grand scale. The US ability to recover from such natural disasters here and globally will be restricted by our debt and cost to service that debt in the long term.

The world’s growing population depends on food. Brian M. Carney in his article for the Wall Street Journal asks, “Can The World Still Feed Itself?“. Mr. Carney interviews Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of Nestle’ the world’s largest food-production company. According to Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe, “Politicians do not understand that between the food market and the energy market, there is a close link.” That link is the calorie.

Carney reports, “The energy stored in a bushel of corn can fuel a car or feed a person. And increasingly, thanks to ethanol mandates and subsidies in the U.S. and bio-fuel incentives in Europe, crops formerly grown for food or livestock feed are being grown for fuel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent estimate predicts that this year, for the first time, American farmers will harvest more corn for ethanol than for feed. In Europe some 50% of the rapeseed crop is going into bio-fuel production, according to Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe, while “world-wide about 18% of sugar is being used for bio-fuel today.”

What does this all mean?

If John Casey is correct in his predictions, and SSRC always is, then cold weather brings with it a shorter growing season and increased demand for fuel to keep people warm. Therefore, we must have policies that increase calories, not decrease the food supply.

These natural events will occur during the same 30 year period where our payments on the national debt will increase to $3.8 trillion.

RELATED COLUMN: Are we living in the Hunger Games?

Rep. West Receives Guardian of Small Business Award

Congressman Allen West (R-FL) received the National Federation of Independent Business Guardian of Small Business Award Thursday.

The award is presented to members of Congress who NFIB considers “champions” of small business owners. West received a perfect score of ‘100’ for his votes on 13 key NFIB supported pieces of legislation concerning issues from healthcare, energy and Federal Government regulations.

Rep. West received a perfect score from the National Federation of Independent Businesses as did sixteen other members of the Florida delegation. Republican Senate Candidate Connie Mack received a 100 percent, with Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz garnering a zero. Senator Bill Nelson received a score of 36 and Senator Marco Rubio a score of 100.

Here is the list of the Florida delegation by district and their NFIB scores:

1      Miller, J. 100
2      Southerland 100
3      Brown, C. 0
4      Crenshaw 100
5      Nugent 100
6      Stearns 100
7      Mica 100
8      Webster 100
9      Bilirakis 100
10    Young, C.W. “Bill” 100
11    Castor 8
12    Ross, D. 100
13    Buchanan 100
14    Mack 100
15    Posey 100
16    Rooney 100
17    Wilson, F. 0
18    Ros-Lehtinen 9
19    Deutch 0
20    Wasserman Schultz 0
21    Diaz-Balart 92
22    West, A. 100
23    Hastings, A. 8
24    Adams 100
25    Rivera 100

For a complete look at how each Member of the 112th Congress voted, click here

“Our small businesses are at the heart of keeping this economy going and I am proud to receive this award,” West said. “As I travel Dixie Highway in Palm Beach County and visit small businesses in South Florida, I see firsthand the importance of expanding opportunities and reducing burdensome regulations on our independent employers. Our small businesses represent the best of the American spirit and I will continue to be their voice on Capitol Hill.”

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner praised West for his commitment to American business owners.

“In the 112th Congress, Representative West proved he is willing to stand up and do big things for small business,” Danner said. “Guardian-award winners are genuine small business champions, consistently voting to promote and protect the right of small business owners to own, operate and grow their businesses.”

Congressman Allen West is a member of the House Committee on Small Business and is a member of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce and the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations.

The Guardian of Small Business Award is presented to lawmakers who vote with small businesses 70 percent or more of the time and demonstrate a commitment to protecting free enterprise.

National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small business association. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB has 350,000 members and its mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.