Friday, December 11, 2015

Would banning Muslim immigration be illegal?

We see the predictable huffing and puffing from Left-leaning lawyers below saying that the ban would be unconstitutional -- opinions which blatantly ignore the fact that the USA has a long history of limiting immigration by certain groups.  What the lawyers "forget" is that the American constitution protects Americans, not other nationalities. The first amendment, for instance, says that you are free to practice your religion in the USA.  It says nothing about a right to enter the USA or immigrate to the USA.

And, anyway, who cares about the constitution these days?  Obama has shown how to use executive orders to ignore both statute and constitutional law.  If Obama can do it, why not Trump? Democrats never seem to realize when they are setting bad precedents.  They live only for today

And how come you must not say anything derogatory about Muslims?  Leftists pour out hate at Christians all the time.  Why is that different?  Why is one religion sacrosanct and another is abomination?  Why are beheadings just fine while public Christian prayer must be stopped?  Plainly, it is not religion that Leftists want to protect. What they want to protect is people who hate Western civilization as much as they do. Leftists are the enemy within

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump set off a political firestorm Monday when he called for at least temporarily barring Muslims from entering the United States – even U.S. citizens trying to return from travels outside the country. Earlier, fellow GOP candidate Ted Cruz proposed accepting for U.S. resettlement only those Syrian refugees who are Christian.

But could the nation’s chief executive legitimately order such actions, even with congressional approval?

“It violates the Constitution. It’s discrimination on the basis of religion, which is prohibited by the Constitution,” said Suzanna Sherry, a professor at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Trump’s plan is “a troubling proposal,” also potentially breeching the 14thAmendment’s equal protection clause, said Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the law school at the University of California, Davis. “It’s really amazing in its breadth and hostile in its unconstitutionality.”

“Our entire legal and regulatory system is based on nondiscriminatory policy,” said Jonathan Turley. The George Washington University legal scholar wrote in his blog Tuesday that Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States “would violate a host of domestic and international protections.” And, he told VOA, “Instead of being a country that has long defended religious freedom, we would become the scourge of religious freedom.”

“Donald Trump is dividing us along religious lines. That’s un-American,” added Akhil Reed Amar, a Yale University law professor.

They were among the constitutional scholars who weighed in with VOA on Tuesday, a day after billionaire real estate developer Trump issued a statement urging a ban on Muslims’ entry “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” It followed terrorist attacks last week in California and last month in Paris.

“Large segments of the Muslim population” have expressed “great hatred” toward Americans, Trump said, reiterating his calls for suspending access both at a South Carolina campaign rally later Monday and on multiple U.S. news talk shows Tuesday.

His remarks drew widespread condemnation, including from House Speaker Paul Ryan and other prominent Republicans seeking to distance themselves and their party from Trump.

But U.S. Senator Cruz of Texas held a news conference Tuesday to “commend Donald Trump for standing up and focusing America’s attention on the need to secure our borders.”

Cruz acknowledged he disagreed with Trump’s plan and highlighted his own. Accompanied by Texas’ Republican governor, Greg Abbott, the senator announced he’s introducing a bill that would let governors opt out of refugee resettlement in their respective states if they believed advance screening was insufficient to ensure public safety. Cruz already has introduced legislation calling for a three-year moratorium on accepting refugees from countries where the Islamic State group operates.


U.S. immigration laws long have differentiated among potential newcomers based on their nations of origin.

“We do not have the best history when it comes to this country,” said UC-Davis’ Johnson, author of “The Huddled Masses Myth,” a book about U.S. immigration and civil rights. “In some ways, you could view this as a revival of the now-discredited Chinese exclusion laws.”

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first of several legislative maneuvers to block Chinese immigrants. Later, the Immigration Act of 1924 created quotas that favored white Europeans over people from Asia and Africa, a policy curtailed in 1965. In subsequent decades, the U.S. government, fighting Soviet-style communism, welcomed Cubans as political refugees but discouraged Haitians as economic refugees, because “it was important for us to repudiate a communist regime on our doorstep,” Amar said.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government in 2002 and 2003 required male noncitizens 16 and older to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service if they’d come from one of 25 countries with predominantly Muslim populations. The program ended after the INS was absorbed by the Department of Homeland Security.



Jimmah did it.  Why not Trump?

Liberals are beside themselves that Donald Trump would suggest a hiatus on permitting Muslim refugees to thwart terrorism, but one very liberal President did almost the same thing.

During the 1980 hostage crisis, then-President Jimmy Carter issued a series of executive orders to tighten the screws on the government of Iran – among them were banning Iranians from entering the United States. Here are Carter’s comments upon making the action:

The Secretary of Treasury and the Attorney General will invalidate all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly."

Carter did this while hundreds of Americans were held hostage by Iranian students in Tehran. At the time, there were no comparisons to Hitler, or Mussolini or even right-wing Republicans.


It could be said that Jimmah was REALLY racist -- as he targeted a national group, not a religion -- JR


Politicians Hate Trump's Muslim Ban, But What Do Voters Think?

Although insiders in both parties expressed outrage over Trump's Muslim comments, the voters have a different view: they love it! As Bloomberg notes:

    "Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

    Those are some of the findings from a Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll, an online survey conducted Tuesday, that shows support at 37 percent among all likely general-election voters for the controversial proposal put forward by the Republican front-runner"

It seems like once again, the Washington establishment is out of touch with the concerns and opinions of every day Americans.



Rev. Graham backs Trump

In reaction to the radical Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., involving one jihadist who entered the U.S.A. on a fiancĂ© visa, evangelical preacher Franklin Graham said “border control,” not more gun control, is part of the answer, and added that “no Muslims” should enter America until a safe vetting process is in place.

“President Obama and his administration are trying to blame this incident on gun control when it was caused by hate-filled hearts intent on killing infidels in the name of Islam,” said the reverend.  “Take away the guns and this couple would’ve still slaughtered innocent civilians. Their apartment was a bomb-making factory!”

“Mr. President, we don’t need more gun control—we need border patrol,” said Graham.

“No Muslims should be allowed into this country until there’s a process in place to fully vet them,” he said.  “We’ve got to turn away those who could potentially pose a threat until this war with radical Islam is over.”



Trump vindicated again. British police claim he is RIGHT about parts of London being so 'radicalised' they are no-go areas

He was proven right about Muslims cheering the fall of the twin towers and now he has been proven right about Muslim Britain. It's going to be amusing to see how the British elite wear the egg on their faces

Serving police officers today backed Donald Trump's claim that some Muslim communities in the UK are no-go areas because of extremism.  Several Met officers have said the 'Islamification' of some parts of the capital requires 'extra vigilance' and they can't wear uniforms for safety reasons - despite Scotland Yard claiming the tycoon 'couldn't be more wrong'.

Home Secretary Theresa May tonight rejected Mr Trump's claims, insisting: 'The police in London are not afraid to go out and police the streets.'

The US presidential contender caused worldwide consternation yesterday after a string of incendiary remarks about Muslims, including in Britain, and said: 'We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that police are afraid for their own lives.'

But one serving officer said today Trump had 'pointed out something plainly obvious, something which I think we aren't as a nation willing to own up to'.

Another policeman said that he and other colleagues fear being terror targets and spoke of the 'dire warning' from bosses not to wear a uniform 'even in my own car'.

Mr Trump has said the US should close its borders to all Muslim migrants and claims parts of Britain are no-go areas because of Islamic extremism.

MPs responded by calling for the property tycoon to be stopped from entering Britain, where he owns several golf courses. Scotland Yard also hit back last night,

But one serving officer in west London said: 'Islamification has and is occurring', adding: 'You have to have extra vigilance in certain parts when you are working'.

Even if one of us did get killed or dragged off in a van. It would just be reported as a 'one-off incident' and no reason to change the 'British style of policing'

A Lancashire Police officer told MailOnline: 'There are Muslim areas of Preston that, if we wish to patrol, we have to contact local Muslim community leaders to get their permission'.

One officer from Yorkshire said on the online forum Police.Community: 'I'm not allowed to travel in half blues to work anymore IN MY OWN CAR as we're 'All at risk of attack' - yet as soon as someone points out the obvious it's 'divisive.'  He added: 'In this instance he (Trump) isn't wrong. Our political leaders are best either ill-informed or simply being disingenuous.

'He's pointed out something that is plainly obvious, something which I think we aren't as a nation willing to own up to - do you think a US Police Department would ban officers from wearing their uniforms under jackets etc due to FEAR of their cops being killed by extremists?

Another Met officer who resigned this year said: 'I was a PC in the Met for 11 years - I resigned as I couldn't handle it anymore

'Whilst provocative Trump's comments does carry some weight. PCs are not permitted to even come to work in 'half Blues' (just wearing trousers and shirt) for fear of attack whilst going to work. That is a directive from Scotland Yard.

'PCs have come out to find police cars having the brake lines cut and sometimes their own personal cars damaged'.

Another serving police officer agreed and said: 'Same here regarding the dire warnings of wearing half blues even in my own car and I'm not in London'.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rand Paul backs Trump on Immigration -- cautiously

Paul is a bit more subtle.  Wants "high risk" people barred, not "Muslims"

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says the United States should shift its focus away from bulk data collection and simply stop all immigration from "high risk" countries to prevent future attacks.

“I think what we've had in the past is the government has said, ‘Well, we need to collect the whole haystack.’ And the haystack is Americans' privacy,” Paul explained Sunday on Meet the Press.“Every Americans' privacy. We have to give up all of our privacy.

"But what I'd like to do is make the haystack smaller. So I think that we have to be very careful about who comes here from the Middle East. And I've introduced legislation to say, ‘For right now, let's stop it,’ from about 34 countries.”

Paul submitted an amendment last week calling for moratoriums on visas and refugee admissions from many African and Asian “high-risk” countries. These included Iraq, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.

Paul's comments were in response to a question from Meet the Press host Chuck Todd about what he would say to make Americans feel safer in the context of a discussion on whether the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of phone records was appropriate.

“You were on the forefront of trying to change this law. Any second thoughts?” Todd asked.

Paul replied that NSA's phone data collection was still occurring, but had failed to thwart any terrorist attacks. He also framed the decision to monitor phone records as a trade-off between liberty and a false sense of security.

"It's been ongoing for the last six months. So the Paris tragedy... happened while we were still doing bulk collection, all bulk collection. Also in France, they have a program a thousand-fold more invasive, collecting all of the data of all of the French. And yet, they still weren't able to see this coming," Paul responded.

“So my question is, how much liberty do we want to give up for a false sense of security? The government has investigated our program of collecting, through a generalized fashion, everyone's phone records in the country. And they have found that no terrorist case has been thwarted through this,” Paul stated.

In response to his call to stop immigration from the Middle East, Todd said: “That’s a version of profiling.”

To which Paul responded, “Well, people who want to come to this country don't have constitutional rights. Once they get here, they do. But coming here is not a constitutional right.”

Paul went on to decry the current state of migrant vetting and asserted America’s ability to choose who comes and doesn’t come into the country. “So we do, as a nation, have the ability and should have the ability to decide who comes here and when they come here.

“Right now, we don't know who is here. The woman that was admitted, that ended up being married to this terrorist, I don't think she was properly vetted. I think she came here and I don't think we adequately knew enough about her.

“And I think also there's some indication that the papers she filed to come here were a lie to begin with. So I don't think we're doing an adequate vetting process of those who are coming to our country,” Rand said.



Trump stands firm

 Donald Trump on Tuesday stood by his call to block all Muslims from entering the United States, even as the idea was widely condemned by rival Republican presidential candidates, party leaders and others as un-American.

Trump, the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, defended his plan for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by comparing it with President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to inter Japanese Americans during World War II.

“This is a president who was highly respected by all,” Trump said Tuesday. “If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse.”

Trump’s campaign has been marked by a pattern of inflammatory statements, dating back to his harsh rhetoric about Mexican immigrants. He has taken a particularly hard line against Muslims in the days since the Paris attacks, advocating enhanced surveillance of mosques due to fears over radicalization.

Since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more, a number of Republican presidential contenders have proposed restrictions on Syrian refugees — with several suggesting preference for Christians seeking asylum — and tighter surveillance in the U.S.

But Trump’s proposed ban goes much further, and his Republican rivals were quick to reject the latest provocation from a candidate who has delivered no shortage of them. “Donald Trump is unhinged,” Jeb Bush said via Twitter. “His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”

Despite his controversial rhetoric, Trump has maintained his popularity among many Republican voters, with less than two months to go before the first 2016 primary contests. Many Republicans worry that his rise will damage the party’s chances of winning the White House in November, as Hillary Rodham Clinton consolidates her own front-runner status on the Democratic side.

The Muslim ban announced by Trump Monday evening drew swift rebukes from abroad. British Prime Minister David Cameron slammed it as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.” Muslims in the United States and around the world denounced it unconstitutional or offensive.

The front page of the Philadelphia Daily News pictured Trump holding his right hand out as if in a Nazi salute with the headline “The New Furor.” In morning TV interviews Tuesday on ABC and CNN, Trump was asked about being compared to Hitler.

The candidate didn’t back down, saying that banning all Muslims “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on” is warranted after attacks by Muslim extremists in Paris and last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14.

“We are now at war,” Trump said, adding: “We have a president who doesn’t want to say that.”

Trump’s proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of a religion practiced by more than a billion people worldwide.

Trump announced his plan to cheers and applause at a Monday evening rally in South Carolina.



POLL: Trump Strongest Candidate on Fighting Terrorism

A new survey of more than 1000 adults from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute puts terrorism as the second-leading issue America faces. Americans are also personally concerned about attending large public events and about the adequacy of security measures generally.

When respondents were asked to indicate whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, or were unsure about policies and opinions in the news, these findings emerged:

More than three-quarters, at 78.2 percent, strongly or somewhat agree that “It is likely ISIS terrorists are hiding among Syrian and other refugees in order to enter Europe and the United States.”

Two-thirds, at 66.9, percent agree strongly or somewhat with “a pause in accepting Syrian refugees into the United States until additional FBI background checks and approvals are added to the current screening process.”

When respondents were asked which current presidential candidate—despite personal preference—”would likely mount the strongest and most effective effort against terrorists worldwide while protecting Americans at home” they said, in descending order:

Donald Trump, 24.1 percent
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 20.7 percent
U.S. Senator (VT) Bernie Sanders, 7.7 percent
U.S. Senator (TX) Ted Cruz, 5.5 percent
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, 4.7 percent
Dr. Ben Carson, 4.4 percent



Rupert Murdoch Defends Trump: ‘Complete Refugee Pause’ Makes Sense

On Tuesday, none other than Rupert Murdoch defended Donald Trump, tweeting that a “complete refugee pause” in order to fix the vetting problem “makes sense.”

Murdoch sent his Tweet a day after GOP frontrunner Donald Trump called for a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States.

“Has Trump gone too far?” Murdoch Tweeted. “Regardless, public is obsessed on radical Muslim dangers, Complete refugee pause to fix vetting makes sense.”

Murdoch has been one of the most prominent supporters of comprehensive amnesty legislation, writing in 2014 after a meeting with President Barack Obama’s confidante and top adviser Valerie Jarrett that amnesty for illegal immigrants and an unlimited number of high-tech visas for corporations to displace U.S. workers “can’t wait.”



U.S. Borders Present 'Significant' Terrorist Pipelines

The Obama administration’s lax border security and unquestioning acceptance of everyone who wishes to enter the U.S. is no longer just a question of immigration policy. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) told an audience at the National Defense University Monday that the Islamic State has tried to use the refugee program to enter America. “I can reveal today that the United States government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U.S. refugee program,” McCaul said.

Last week, a report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found that violent jihadists could easily cross the borders with Canada and Mexico. There are reports of an Islamic State training camp in Mexico, and the Canadian government’s policies toward Syrian immigrants could provide a pathway for Islamic State militants to simply travel south and hop across the U.S.-Canadian border. “Security observers have argued that Canada represents a substantial vulnerability, because it provides immigrant visas to individuals who pose a significant threat.” the Senate’s report read. “Witnesses testified before the committee that if someone gets into Canada, they will most likely be able to enter the U.S.”

This is not an unfounded fear. Judicial Watch reported a group of five men were arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border at the beginning of December. They were of Middle Eastern decent, and Border Patrol agents discovered “stainless steel cylinders in backpacks,” Judicial Watch said. McCaul suggested refugees — by definition people who want to return to their homes — should shelter under a no-fly zone in Syria enforced by the countries battling the Islamic State. But that would require a strategy from the Obama administration. But instead, the director of the Department of Homeland Security held a press conference Monday with the ADAMS Center, an Islamic group that has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Obama keeps sending all the wrong messages.



Defeating Terrorists with Privateers

Privateers -- private individuals or groups authorized by the government to fight on its behalf for a portion of the spoils -- helped America win its independence from Britain. The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to utilize privateers (see the provision on "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" in Article I, Section 8), but not since the War of 1812 have lawmakers authorized any. Independent Institute Research Fellow William J. Watkins, Jr., calls for the reinstatement of privateering to take on terrorist groups like ISIS.

"Terrorists employ creative methods to inflict brutality and death, but the civilized world has not responded with an innovative response," Watkins writes. "Allowing privateers would encourage such a response. Congress or private charities could reward entrepreneurs who hack terrorist communication networks, locate stashes of assets, or uncover terrorist cells hiding in our cities."

Watkins notes that the private sector has long been used for investigations and security-sometimes even in a military context. But the use of letters of marque and reprisal-more broadly, the use of economic incentives-could provide decisive help in combatting terrorism, as long as privateers and other counter-terrorism agents are held liable for any misconduct. "Allowing more private security firms to deploy their equipment and know-how would go a long way toward putting terrorist groups on the dustbin of history," Watkins writes. "It's time that we let them."


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.

ISIS themselves have said that many of their fighters are embedded among the Syrian refugees so this is in fact the only way these Jihadis can be kept out.  "Screening" is a joke.  What do you screen and how?  But if you want to find out if someone is a Muslim, that's easy.  Just ask them to say: "Islam is a false religion"

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called Monday for barring all Muslims from entering the United States.

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," a campaign press release said.

Trump, who has previously called for surveillance against mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S., made his latest controversial call in a news release. His message comes in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by suspected ISIS sympathizers and the day after President Barack Obama asked the country not to "turn against one another" out of fear.

Trump's comments are likely to roil the Republican presidential race, forcing many of his opponents for the nomination to engage in a debate over whether there should be a religious test to enter America.

But his proposal was met with enthusiasm by many of his supporters, who showed their approval via social media as well as at his rally on Monday night.

"I think that we should definitely disallow any Muslims from coming in. Any of them. The reason is simple: we can't identify what their attitude is," said 75-year-old Charlie Marzka of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Moreover, the Muslim travel ban will likely do little to dent Trump's own popularity among Republican primary voters. The billionaire businessman has dominated the GOP contest for months despite repeated controversies that would likely sink other White House hopefuls.

"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine," Trump said in a statement. "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."

The release pointed to an online poll from the controversial Center for Security Policy, which claimed that a quarter of Muslims living in the U.S. believe violence against Americans is justified as part of a global jihadist campaign. Critics have questioned the reliability of the organization's information. It also pointed to a Pew Research poll, which the campaign declined to identify, which the campaign claimed points to "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population."

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN on Monday that the ban would apply not just to Muslim foreigners looking to immigrate to the U.S., but also to Muslims looking to visit the U.S. as tourists.

"Everyone," Lewandowski said when asked if the ban would also apply to Muslim tourists.

Trump confirmed that his policy would not apply to current Muslims in the U.S. during a Fox News interview on Monday evening.



Turkey's Human Wave Assault on the West?

For months, Western policymakers have agonized over what to do with the masses of Sunni Muslim migrants flooding Europe by the boatload, particularly Syrians. Largely missing from this discussion is the question of why this flood is happening.

For starters, it doesn't have much to do directly with the civil war in Syria or the rise of ISIS. The vast majority of the 886,662 migrants who illegally entered Europe this year embarked from Turkey, a little over half of them Syrians who took shelter in the country over the past four years. "EU officials have said . Ankara was very effective in previous years in preventing the outflow of refugees from the country," according to the Wall Street Journal.

What caused the spike in migration is that Ankara stopped containing it. Over the past year or so, the Turkish government has allowed human traffickers to vastly expand their operations, bringing prices down tenfold (from $10,000-$12,000 per person last year to around $1,250 today, according to one report. This spawned what the New York Times calls a "multimillion-dollar shadow economy" profiting from the traffic, ranging from the smugglers to manufacturers of cheap rafts, life vests, and other equipment.

By the spring of this year it had become easier and cheaper than ever before to illegally enter Europe through Turkey, and more people have taken advantage of the opportunity Ankara has created.

So why did Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan open the spigot? Put simply, to extract financial, political, and strategic concessions from European governments in exchange for closing it.

Ankara certainly hasn't been shy about asking for money over the course of its negotiations with EU officials in recent weeks. On November 29 the EU agreed to provide Turkey with an "initial" $3.19 billion and take steps to expedite its bid to join the EU in exchange for Turkish promises to better patrol its coastlines.

Erdogan also used the crisis to generate foreign political support ahead of snap elections on November 1, essentially a re-do of the June 2015 elections that saw the ruling AKP lose its parliamentary majority for the first time. Though Western diplomatic protocol frowns on state visits during election time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Istanbul for high-profile meetings with Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu just two weeks before the vote. The European Commission postponed the release of a report detailing the erosion of the rule of law, freedom of expression and judicial independence in Turkey until after the election in order, according to Reuters, "to avoid antagonizing" its president.

Most worrisome, perhaps, is Turkey's pursuit of strategic payoffs for its human wave assault on Europe. In a letter sent to European leaders at the September 23 EU migration summit, Davutoglu proposed the creation of a "safe zone" and U.S.-enforced no-fly zone stretching from the Turkish border 80 km into northern Syria, where his government has backed a variety of Sunni Islamist insurgents against both pro-regime Syrian forces and local Kurds.

Although the start of Russian military intervention in Syria on September 30 put an end to this fantasy for the time being (which perhaps explains why the Turks were so trigger-happy in shooting down an SU-24 that only slightly violated their airspace on November 24), you can bet Erdogan will use the migrant crisis to pressure the West into supporting his ambitions in Syria.

If all of this sounds familiar, it's because the late Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi used to play the same game, turning the pipeline of illegal trans-African migration into Europe on and off as a way of extracting concessions. The most vexing question, then as now, is not what to do with the migrants, but what to do with a government that so callously manipulates masses of downtrodden human beings as a diplomatic pressure tactic.

On this there's room for debate. But the first step in doing anything about it is to call Erdogan out for what he is - dangerous and manipulative - no partner for Western leaders. Still, after meeting with the Erdogan in Paris on Tuesday, President Obama praised Turkey for being "extraordinarily generous when it comes to its support of refugees."

The next step, instead of bribing Turkey with ransom payments to end the hemorrhaging of Syrian and other Middle East refugees into the West, should turn the tables on Ankara. The potential loss of Western support to Turkey as it deals with both Russia and ISIS should be the sword of Damocles, convincing Erdogan to contain the refugee crisis.

Western material support to Turkey should be cut off entirely unless Ankara puts an end to the refugee crisis it is manufacturing and begins to play a constructive role in bringing stability to the region. How appropriate that an ancient Greek tragedy disrupt the current calamitous Turkish-born reality.



In the Wake of the Terror Attack, Democrats are currying favor with Muslims

As Americans are arming up and demanding that government come up with a solution for the radical Islam problem, Democrats are doing the unthinkable- attending service at a radical Islamist mosque

Democratic lawmakers are planning to attend prayer services at a Washington-area mosque that has been accused of acting as a front for Hamas and that served as the home of terrorist spiritual leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly mentored two of the 9/11 hijackers.

On the heels of a deadly mass shooting by two Muslim individuals in San Bernardino, California, a group of Democratic lawmakers said they would attend Friday prayer services at the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque in Virginia, which has been linked to the financing of terrorists and where al-Awlaki served as the spiritual leader

Republican leaders are offering all different kinds of solutions for the Islamic terrorism problem, while Democrats are blaming it on global warming and law abiding gun owners. Their frontrunner is walking around cutting ads with her head covered in submission to Islam. Whomever your candidate, the message is clear. There is one party in this country who has no interest in confronting the radical Islamist threat to America.



Is Liberalism Good for Poor People?

When is the last time you heard Hillary Clinton talk about poverty? How about Barack Obama? Or Bernie Sanders?

Granted, they use the word "middle class" a lot. But when is the last time you heard them talk about what they want to do for the "poor"? I can't remember.

Take housing. On any given day about 565,000 people in the United States are homeless. That problem isn't going away any time soon. In fact, at the current rate of progress it will take 40 years before the homeless disappear from our shelters and streets. I don't recall any Democratic proposals to change that.

Ironically, the chronically homeless decreased more under President Bush (30%) than under President Obama (21%). Hillary Clinton actually charged a group of homeless veterans $500,000 to give a speech. (I have no idea where they got the money.)

When they talk about the problem at all, liberal Democrats invariably say we need to spend more money. But that's not the answer. Like the problems of education, transportation, medical care and lack of job opportunities, the housing problems of the poor are largely the creation of bad government policies. The cheapest, most efficient way to solve these problems is to change the bad polices.

In 1900, more than half the population was living in poverty, using today's definition. That was a time when there were huge influxes of people into the cities and urban areas. So where did all those people live? Were they all sleeping under bridges? Since we had a largely free market for housing, the private sector seemed to do quite well at meeting people's needs.

Not many of today's readers would want to live in the tenements that housed families 100 years ago. But at least they were housed. They weren't sleeping on the streets.

One way in which the private sector created housing space is with single room occupancy or single resident occupancy dwellings-usually called SROs:

    [These are] a form of housing in which one or two people are housed in individual rooms (sometimes two rooms, or two rooms with a bathroom or half bathroom) within a multiple-tenant building... SRO tenants typically share bathrooms and/or kitchens, while some SRO rooms may include kitchenettes, bathrooms, or half-baths... many are former hotels ... primarily rented as a permanent residence.

These were born out of urban overcrowding, as cities scrambled to meet housing demands produced by industrialization and the urban population explosion of the early 20th century. But today, they are largely illegal. As Mariana lonova writes:

    [T]he number of legal SROs in New York City has dwindled dramatically, with some 175,000 units disappearing between the 1950s and today. Single-room dwellings also fell out of favor in other urban centers across the country, which led in the loss of nearly 1 million SRO units nationwide. Between 1960 and 1980, Chicago lost 80 percent of its 38,845 SROs, while Seattle saw 15,000 units disappear. In San Francisco, more than 10,000 units were converted or demolished between 1960 and 2000....

Today, there are only 30,000 legal SROs in New York City, but there are an estimated three times that many illegal units-meeting an ever increasing demand:

    ... poverty in New York has persisted and even worsened-today nearly a fifth of New Yorkers live in poverty, compared to less than a sixth in 1969. Meanwhile, changing gender and family norms have meant a massive increase in the number of single-person households in the city, which rose from 185,000 in 1960 to more than 700,000 in 1987 to an estimated 1.8 million today.

That city and state housing polices contribute to a housing shortage in places like New York and San Francisco and exacerbate the problem of homelessness is not even controversial. Here is a whole speech on the matter by Jason Furman, Prescient Omasa's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. (HT: John Cochrane.) And here is an editorial on the issue by Paul Krugman.

Yet, neither Furman nor Krugman makes the point I made in "How Liberals Live." The worst housing shortages, the most homelessness and the worst inequality exist in the cities that are the most Democratic and the most liberal.

I wonder why?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

'You ain't no Muslim bruv'

The above words have been eagerly seized on by those who are trying to ignore that it is orthodox Islam that lies behind the recent spate of terrorist attacks by Muslims. The words were uttered by a bystander while the most recent terrorist attacker was being confronted by police.  The attacker was an African with an "Arabic" accent.

I initially assumed that the words were from somebody who knew the assailant personally and who knew the assailant as having only marginal contact with Islam.  And I still think that is most likely.

The idea that the words are a precise theological statement is certainly absurd.  At best it represents the opinion of someone with no authority to pronounce on what is Islamic.  And yet it has been taken as if it were.

We know that there are occasional voices from the Muslim world that condemn terrorist attacks but they are few and far between. Muslim mullahs and muftis normally refuse to condemn such attacks.    And the refusals are few and far between for a good reason: Attacks on infidels are not only permitted by the Koran but commanded by it.  Start reading at Sura 9 if you doubt it. The opinion of some presumably black bystander in London is no match for the Koran as an Islamic authority.

One understands that the willingly blind seize any crumb of comfort in a world made very dangerous by enthusiasts for Islam but closing your eyes is not a good way to keep yourself safe.

Report of the incident below:

The defiant words shouted by an East Londoner at the knifeman involved in the terror attack at Leytonstone tube station last night have become an internet sensation.

'You ain't no Muslim bruv' hashtag has swept through social media, described as the 'perfect' London response to the atrocity.

During footage recorded of the standoff between the knifeman and police, the witness can be heard repeatedly yelling: 'You ain't no Muslim bruv!'

The powerful statement has been widely quoted on social media with many people saying the man's actions represented only the work of a killer rather than someone showing their support for Syria.

The knifeman allegedly slashed two people at the tube station, shouting, 'this is for Syria' before being Tasered by police in what has been described by Scotland Yard as a terrorism attack.



Barack mentions the M-word. He's even decided that America is exceptional after all

On Sunday, December 6, President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office on the steps his government is taking to  keep the American people safe from Jihadis.  Some excerpts below. He's now convinced that there is a threat from Muslim terrorists and that they are a bad lot. He has yet to acknowledge the widespread approval of their actions in the Muslim world, however.  He thinks that Muslims who don't wage jihad are on our side!  That they might lie low simply for fear of the consequences has apparently not occurred to him

The FBI is still gathering the facts about what happened in San Bernardino, but here is what we know. The victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their coworkers and his wife. So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people.

Over the last few years, however, the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase. As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009; in Chattanooga earlier this year; and now in San Bernardino. And as groups like ISIL grew stronger amidst the chaos of war in Iraq and then Syria, and as the Internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston Marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers.

We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.

Even in this political season, even as we properly debate what steps I and future Presidents must take to keep our country safe, let’s make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional.



Mass Surveillance and the Politics of Fear

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Arkansas) has put forward a bill to allow the National Security Agency to sidestep protections in the USA Freedom Act.  The bill would allow the NSA to keep the metadata records they illegally obtained through warrantless mass surveillance

There will always be those eager to scare us into giving away our liberties.

As Senator Tom Cotton is working to reverse some of the important surveillance reforms in the USA Freedom Act, establishment Republicans are lining up to defend his actions. Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, responding to a FreedomWorks press release, accuses the liberty wing of the Republican Party of “preying on the public’s fears.”

To be sure, there is plenty of fear mongering going on, but Ms. Rubin is a little muddled if she thinks it’s coming from the people speaking out against the surveillance state. On the contrary, fear has always been used to justify more intrusion into the private lives of ordinary citizens. I’m hard pressed to think of a time when the opposite was the case.

We have been told, and continue to be told, that we need to surrender our liberties in order to remain safe. If we don’t act, swiftly and decisively, the terrorists will kill us all, and then what use will our privacy be? We can worry about freedom when things are not so dangerous.

It’s such a compelling narrative that it can be effectively sold to the American people, again and again, even when the proposed action doesn’t actually solve any existing problem. The illusion of doing something, anything, is enough to make many people give up their most basic rights. Add to this the fact that the promised “less dangerous time” never really happens. That is, it does happen, but the powers that be refuse to acknowledge it.

If you actually take the time to look at the numbers, crime rates and deaths by war have continually declined. Even the trend in mass shootings has remained essentially flat. We’re much less likely to die from violence now than we were in the fabled domestic utopia of the 1950s, but you’d never know it from watching the 24-hour news networks.

In the case of the NSA’s bulk data collection program, Ms. Rubin’s own paper reported that the administration can’t point to the program’s use to stop any terrorist attacks. There have also been reports from industry insiders that the indiscriminate, bulk collection of data is actually a hindrance to the detection of actual threats, since it consumes so many of these agencies’ finite resources.

Edward Snowden explained this problem succinctly: “We miss attacks, we miss leads, and investigations fail because when the government is doing its ‘collect it all,’ where we’re watching everybody, we’re not seeing anything with specificity because it is impossible to keep an eye on all of your targets.”

So, not only does the program Tom Cotton wants to preserve not catch terrorists, it hurts our ability to do so. People are, justifiably, scared, and the appearance of doing something is better than the appearance of doing nothing, so we end up with incredibly misguided proposals like this one.

It’s not “preying on the public’s fears” to ask that we be smart about national security, while still taking care to preserve the essential liberties enshrined in our Constitution. What does constitute preying on fear is constantly telling people that they are going to be killed unless they surrender their privacy into the government’s hands. Franklin Roosevelt was on to something when he said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, or rather, that our fear can be used as a weapon to make us give up everything we hold dear.

There will always be dangers in the world we have to guard against. There will always be an excuse to trade liberty for the illusion of security. But only by resisting that temptation can we hope to preserve anything like a free society.



The Internet sales tax is not just about taxes

As Black Friday gave way to Cyber Monday, the familiar complaints from physical retailers about the perils of online competition once more began to surface. At issue is the way internet sales, or more specifically remote sales, are taxed, with many retailers calling for new legislation to empower states to collect more taxes from online sellers.

Discussions about the proposed internet sales tax usually devolve rather quickly into accusations that one side is simply selfish: they want to shop online tax free, and they don’t care about a level playing field for brick-and-mortar stores. The American lust for low prices, they argue, is trumping notions of fairness and equity. Hence, the Marketplace Fairness Act and its similar derivative, the Remote Transactions Parity Act.

Don’t be fooled by the words “fairness” and “parity” in the titles of these bills. While useful as a marketing tool, this language is wildly inaccurate. Far from creating tax equality, this legislation would grant unprecedented new taxing powers to the states.

This is where the claims of greediness on the part of consumers fall apart. Opposition to the Internet sales tax is not about the money, although that’s part of it. More broadly, it’s about keeping government power within its proper limits. A little explanation will illustrate the point more clearly.

Currently, states can collect sales taxes on businesses with a physical presence within their borders. This includes brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online sellers with distribution centers, warehouses, or physical storefronts in the state. In this way, physical and online stores are already treated equally by the tax code. However, if a consumer in one state orders something from a store located in a different state, the destination state is not required to collect taxes on the sale.

The reason for this is simple: Florida’s government doesn’t have the right to reach across the country to California and demand that sellers in the latter state do the dirty work of tax collection on its behalf. The whole point of designing the United States as a series of separate units instead of as one unified whole was to preserve independence in policy, recognizing that the same rules were not appropriate for different areas of the country with different needs. The states were also intended to be “laboratories of democracy” where different ideas could be tried alongside one another to see what works best.

All these benefits of federalism are lost if state governments can start extending their taxing and regulatory powers across borders. Currently, a low sales tax rate has been a tool used by states to attract businesses. The Internet sales tax makes this competition irrelevant, and state legislatures lose the incentive to strive for lower rates.

Additionally, the proposed law would require small businesses to keep track of the various tax jurisdictions across the country, in order to accurately collect taxes for wherever consumers might be located. At last count there were around 9,600 of these tax jurisdictions. For a seller like Amazon, which has distribution centers pretty much everywhere anyway, this is no big deal, but imagine what a burden this would be on a site like eBay, which coordinates thousands of individual buyers and sellers, each of which would have to master the administration of these tax laws simply to effect a single sale. This is clearly not a matter of fairness, but of squeezing out small sellers in order to protect big ones who can afford to comply with the new rules.

The Internet sales tax is a danger to e-commerce in general, but more importantly, it is a danger to the liberty and independence of the states. The precedent of allowing tax collectors to wander outside their jurisdictions and practice their reviled profession anywhere they please has profound implications for the future of our country, and whether the model of federalism so cherished by its founders will be abandoned once and for all.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, December 07, 2015

Terrorism: Time to Take the Gloves Off

The horrors unleashed by devout Muslims are becoming worse and worse and more and more frequent. As they ratchet up, popular demand will make inevitable the expulsion of the population that breeds these horrors.  In the meantime ....

After the terror attack in California on December 2, everybody agrees we have to do something different to counter the threat from ISIS-inspired attacks in the United States, even as commentators endlessly debate what that should be. Ultimately, there are three things that would make a real difference and enable us to win what looks to be a long, long fight.

First, all individuals in this country who display evidence of extreme radicalization should be subject to surveillance, not just those who show signs of violence. Expanded surveillance not only increases the likelihood of detecting terror plots, but helps build deeper institutional knowledge of how Islamism functions in the United States.

The fact that the FBI knew Syed Rizwan Farook was in contact with the targets of an ongoing terrorism investigation and did nothing to keep tabs on him (presumably because he had not mentioned he was going to shoot people) is a tragic mistake that cannot be repeated.

Next, the United States must give unequivocal support to those states in the Middle East that are committed to resisting the spread of Islamism (Israel, Jordan, the Kurdish Regional Government, and a handful of others), shun those that aren't or who contribute to the problem (Saudi Arabia, Turkey), and get out of the business of attempting to politically engineer stable states in the Islamic world.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we must ostracize mainstream Islamic institutions that preach intolerance and America-hatred. These range from Saudi-funded Wahhabist mosques to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Foreign nationals who preach hate should be deported, and American citizens who encourage radicalization should be watched carefully.

Here's why we must act to diminish the influence of these organizations.

Mere hours after fourteen people were massacred, after one of the perpetrator's Muslim-sounding name was made public, CAIR rushed to the side of the shooter's family and held a hastily-arranged press conference designed to deflect blame from Islam and warn about possible blowback against members of the Muslim community as a consequence of the attacks.

CAIR continues to claim that it does not support radical ideologies, despite growing public evidence that its founders funded, aided, abetted and justified terrorist attacks by radical Islamists.

CAIR's words and deeds are about as far apart on that point as you can imagine. At the press conference this week, CAIR's leaders said they were against violence and terrorism. They called for an investigation into the shooters' motives and their actions.

Despite these words, CAIR – or at least the group's predecessors – has not had a problem supporting the violent radical Islamist terrorist group Hamas. The Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas front group convicted in America's largest terrorism financing case, made an early $5,000 donation to CAIR to help establish it. Several CAIR founders and/or officials were convicted in the same case. Subsequently, the FBI severed its liaison relationship with the CAIR, banning it from cooperation for the foreseeable future. CAIR was not indicted as a defendant, but was deemed to be an unindicted co-conspirator. The FBI did "not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner" and "suspended all formal outreach activities" with it.

CAIR's playbook calls for it to change the subject as quickly as possible to Muslims-as-victims. The organization does this masterfully. Less than two days after the massacre, CAIR has already placed articles complaining about the post-shooting spike in "Islamophobia" in prominent papers like the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The Post article not only prominently quotes CAIR, but also the imam of a Falls Church mosque, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a mosque with which CAIR seems to have warm ties. The mosque was attended by at least three people convicted of terrorism, Ahmed Abu Ali, Amine El Khalifi, and Paul Rockwood, Jr., and visited by at least two others, Hani Hanjour and Nawaq Alhamzi.

Let's stop treating terrorist sympathizers like they have a place in our society.

In the coming days we can expect many more details to emerge about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. We will likely learn what led the two assailants to plan and execute such a heartless and cruel attack against a soft target filled with innocents. And we will begin, once again, to grapple with the question of how best to protect the American people from terrorist attacks inspired by radical Islam.

There is a lot we do not yet know about what happened this week, but the public would be wise to look beyond the surface of CAIR's PR efforts. CAIR and its ilk are trying to whitewash the deadly impact of radical Islam under the guise of supporting civil rights. Let's tell it like it is and stop treating terrorist sympathizers or supporters like they have a place in our society.



Days After a Radical Islamist Attack, THIS is the Obama DOJ's Top Priority

Just days after a radical Islamist couple engaged in a terropr attack on American soil, the Obama DOJ announced its top priority: prosecuting those who slander Islam!

The day after a horrific shooting spree by a "radicalized" Muslim man and his partner in San Bernardino, California, Attorney General Loretta Lynch pledged to a group of Muslim activists that she would take aggressive action against anyone who used "anti-Muslim rhetoric" that "edges toward violence."

Speaking to the audience at the Muslim Advocate's 10th anniversary dinner Thursday, Lynch said her "greatest fear" is the "incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric" in America and vowed to prosecute any guilty of what she deemed violence-inspiring speech. She said:

The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence. My message to not just the Muslim community but to the entire American community is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.

Assuring the pro-Muslim group that "we stand with you," Lynch said she would use her Justice Department to protect Muslims from "violence" and discrimination.
You see, it's not radical Islamists who are the problem, it's law abiding, patriotic American gun owners. The Obama administrationm and their cronies are playing a dangerous game, where they deny facts about terrorism that would challenge their PC worldview and and go out in search of straw conservative monsters to destroy.



More evidence that Democrats should be denied gun permits on mental health grounds [/sarcasm]

An online dating profile appearing to have once belonged to San Bernardino killer Syed Farook provides new insight into his life.

In the Arab Lounge dating account, Farook described himself as an “Allah fearing, calm thought full [sic] and simple man.”

“I am born and raised here, I try to live as a good Muslim, looking for a girl who has the same outlook, wear hijab, but live the life to the fullest, be my partner for snow boarding, to go out and eat with friends, go camping, working on cars with me. Also be calm cool thought full, love to spend time with friends and family,” he wrote.

It was previously reported that Farook traveled overseas where he met his wife online, but it was not clear exactly when his Arab Lounge account had been created.

Farook listed his political views as “very liberal,” contrary to the predictions of many analysts and journalists who initially guessed as news of the attack unfolded that he’d be of Republican or libertarian persuasion.



Moscow bans Soros

Russia on Monday banned two foundations funded by the progressive Jewish-American philanthropist George Soros, claiming they posed a “threat to national security” and were undermining the Russian constitution.

The prosecutor general of Russia said in a statement that the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were to be put on a list of “undesirable” organizations, Reuters reported.

“It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represent a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state,” the statement said.

The prosecutor did not offer further details as to why the foundations were labeled a threat.

Under the conditions of the ban, the foundations are prohibited from funding any Russian organizations, The Guardian reported.

The Hungarian-born Soros said he hoped the ban would be lifted.  “We are confident that this move is a temporary aberration; the aspirations of the Russian people for a better future cannot be suppressed and will ultimately succeed,” he said.

Earlier this year, Soros called for more Western funding to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression in the region, Reuters reported.



ISIS is not the problem

The largely successful Leftist attack on all values is the problem.  A comment on the recent British decision to bomb Syria below

The way the pro-bombing side talks about Raqqa is striking. ‘It is from Raqqa that some of the main threats against this country [emanate]’, says David Cameron. London mayor Boris Johnson says Raqqa is ‘the origin’ of the violence facing France, Britain and other European nations. He describes the city as ‘a landscape of the imagination for the Western would-be jihadists and those at risk of radicalisation’. In short, this capital city of IS barbarism is the lure to our misguided youth, tempting them towards nihilism and chaotic violence. The phrase used by many of those in favour of bombing — that Raqqa is ‘the head of the snake’ — is especially striking, suggesting that if we pummel IS in Raqqa then the poison of Islamo-extremism will dissipate, and die.

This is so wrong. Even if Raqqa were to be obliterated, and IS with it, the problem of Paris and other recent attacks, and of Islamic radicalisation in the West more broadly, would still exist. In fact, these things existed even when Assad was fully in control of Raqqa and before IS was formed. From Madrid to 7/7 to the stabbing of Theo van Gogh, from the rise of Islamist militancy on Western campuses to the growing disdain for Enlightenment values among both Muslim and other Western youths, the embrace of Islamism by Western-born or Western-educated individuals was happening long before IS conquered Raqqa. And that’s because the entrenchment in Europe of an Islamism that self-consciously juxtaposes itself to an allegedly decadent West speaks far more to a crisis of values here at home than it does to the rise of an extremist caliphate in the city of Raqqa.

This is what our leaders are utterly incapable of getting to grips with: the way in which the West’s own abandonment of its commitment to the Enlightenment values of liberty and democracy, and its embrace instead of the toxic politics of identity, the culture of victimhood and the divisive ideology of multiculturalism, has done far more than any finger-wagging imam in a Syrian bolthole to cultivate self-pitying, West-hating Islamism within our communities, which occasionally explodes into violence. It isn’t the pull of ‘the landscape of the imagination’ of Raqqa which explains the rise of Islamo-nihilism in the West; it’s the push of our own societies’ ditching of liberal values and cultivation of new forms of separatism and communalism.

Bombing Raqqa would not be, as Clausewitz thought of war, ‘the continuation of politics by other means’. It would be the avoidance of politics, the avoidance of the moral crisis facing the West. It would represent a militaristic stand-in for the moral rethink the West so urgently needs. Even supporters of bombing Syria admit that their militarism might make things worse, but it will at least represent, they say, a loud display of some kind of Western value or ideal. Tony Blair’s former speechwriter, Philip Collins, has argued that, yes, Western bombs will ‘mean chaos’, but at least we’ll ‘add weight to our moral impulse’. There. That’s exactly what the argument for attacking Raqqa represents: a desperate desire to add weight to something that our leaders can no longer articulate in any meaningful way or with ideas or policies: an idea of the good, Enlightened West. Bombs take the place of vision.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslims.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, December 06, 2015

Solar Beer, Killer Snails, and Unlicensed Llamas: New Report Calls Out Outrageous Gov’t Waste

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) released a “Federal Fumbles” report Monday that calls out 100 examples of the misuse of taxpayer dollars through out of control government spending and regulation.

Some of the most outrageous examples include a killer snail card game for elementary school children, solar panels for brewers, and a USDA demand that the owners of a pair of celebrity llamas obtain licenses in order to be able to showcase their animals or risk fines.

The report initially noted that the national debt is “careening towards $19 trillion (yes, that is a 19 followed by 12 zeros), and federal regulations are expanding at a record pace.”

Here are 10 over-the-top examples of government waste and over regulation from Lankford’s report:

Truck Driver Weight Loss Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent $2,658,929 in taxpayer dollars to fund a weight loss program for truck drivers. “From 2011 to 2015, NIH awarded Oregon Health & Science University a total of $2,658,929 to conduct a cell-phone-based program for a ‘weight loss competition’ and ‘motivational interviewing,’” the report said.

Studying the History of Tobacco Use in Russia

The NIH also announced in April 2015 a $48,500 grant to produce a book entitled, “Cigarettes and Soviets: The Culture of Tobacco Use in Modern Russia.”

According to Lankford’s report, “The supposed hook into NIH and public health relevance is that ‘understanding Russia's distinctive history may suggest different strategies for U.S. policy initiatives’ and that it can ‘provide insights into the successes and failures of government-led tobacco control efforts.’”

Media Ethics Training in India

The State Department announced July 2015 that it was seeking proposals for a media ethics course for journalists in India. “Since Indian journalists are ‘part of a global community of media professionals,’ as the ad put it, the course would supply ‘a baseline understanding of the international industry standards media should strive to meet,’” the report explained.

Unlicensed Llamas

Two llamas who achieved Internet stardom, inspiring the #LlamasOnTheLoose hashtag after escaping their farm in Phoenix, Ariz., brought their owners scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), who informed them that “they needed a license to ‘showcase’ their llamas, even if people only took a few pictures with the llamas.”

Studying How Bugs React to Light

The National Park Service (NPS) thought a study of the responses of insects to artificial lights and noise in areas that naturally have little to no light was an excellent use of $65,473 in taxpayer funds. “Anyone raised in a rural area can attest that one way to attract insects is to turn on a light. This type of ridiculous spending is why American taxpayers have been saddled with a debt of approximately $19 trillion,” Lankford noted.

Solar Beer

The USDA spent $35,000 in taxpayer dollars to install solar panels at a northern Michigan brewery supporting seven percent of their annual energy needs as part of “the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was created by the Farm Bill in 2002.” The report noted that “in 2015 a $13,810 grant was awarded to a Wyoming brewery, also to install a solar panel.”

Dancing Raisins to Promote Raisin Sales Abroad

The report noted that USDA Foreign Agriculture Service’s (FAS) Market Access Program (MAP) continues to provide annually “nearly $200 million in American tax money to companies and trade groups to subsidize the advertising, market research, and travel costs of their overseas product promotions.”

According to the report, “One annual recipient of MAP funding, the Raisin Administrative Committee, has received more than $38 million since 1998, including $3 million in FY 2015, to promote their products outside the United States.”

“One example of the use of MAP funds was a $3 million advertising campaign in Japan in the 1990s,” the report recounted. “The campaign featured the animated dancing raisins and used the theme song ‘I Heard It through the Grapevine.’ Tragically the song could not be translated into Japanese, and they just ran the ad in English.

“The result was incomprehensible shriveled dancing figures that disturbed Japanese children, who thought they were potatoes or chunks of chocolate. Moreover, their four-fingered hands made the viewers think of criminal syndicate members whose little fingers are cut off as an initiation rite. For some reason the Raisin Board struggled to sell their product in Japan,” the report added.

Study of Seniors Looking for Love

The National Science Foundation (NSF) spent $375,000 for a study that began in summer 2015, which aims at obtaining a “more comprehensive understanding of relationship maintenance efforts” for older adults. The report suggested that “unless this ‘federal’ for seniors develops policy solutions to bring down the debt, maybe this one is better left to the private sector.”

Killer Snail Card Game for Kids

The NSF also provided a $50,000 grant in support of “Killer Snail: An Interactive Marine Biodiversity Learning Tool.” The project is supposed to develop an eBook for elementary school students “told from a snail's point of view, and a mobile video game allowing players to experience and explore the life of marine snails.”

“Thus far, it appears the grant money has only yielded a physical game. Killer Snails: Assassins of the Seas is a card game in which the player has to ‘collect predatory cone snails that prey on fish, worms and other mollusks, to build a venom arsenal of potentially life-saving peptide toxins. Race your opponents to create the winning venom cocktail and win the game!’” Lankford’s report noted.

Study on Why Politics Stresses People Out

Finally, the NSF awarded a $149,000 grant for a researcher “to better understand which facets of social interaction about politics are most stress inducing, for which kinds of people, and in which contexts,” the goal being to decrease stress to “energize and enfranchise citizens who are discouraged by our current political system.”

“One could argue that the most stressful thing about politics is the waste and bloat of government spending, including researching topics such as this,” Lankford’s report suggested.



Remarkably Absent-Minded Liberal Senator Crows About Gun Control, Forgets Key Fact

Oh boy. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama took the stage in Paris, fell in love with the sound of his own voice, and was so intoxicated with himself that he wondered aloud why mass shootings only happen in America, just two weeks after jihadis shot up a Paris nightclub. It seems his cognitive dissonance is contagrious.

In a video, Barbara Boxer brags about California's robust gun laws, suggesting they're a platform for national reform. Nevermind that despite those robust gun laws, a man who conferred with people on the terrorist watch-list was able to obtain serious firepower, construct bombs, and massacre a load of people.

If anything, what the story in California illustrates is that we can't simply legislate evil and violence out of existence. They're an indelible part of the human condition. That these events haven't given Boxer pause about the wisdom of her positions suggests that some people are totally immune to logic and reason



Trump 100% Vindicated: CBS Reports ‘Swarm’ On Rooftops Celebrating 9/11

The DC Media has spent the last two weeks attempting to destroy Donald Trump with lies. Outright lies, and they are doing so in order to protect a 14 year-old cover up. Not only have eyewitnesses and contemporaneous reports proven Donald Trump 100% correct about Muslims celebrating 9/11,  a just-uncovered  local CBS News (WCBS-TV in New York) report completely vindicates Trump’s claim of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center.

The video below is from a September 16, 2001 news report:

Just a couple of blocks away from that Jersey City apartment the F.B.I. raided yesterday and had evidence removed, there is another apartment building, one that investigators told me, quote, was swarming with suspects — suspects who I’m told were cheering on the roof when they saw the planes slam into the Trade Center. Police were called to the building by neighbors and found eight men celebrating, six of them tenants in the building.

The F.B.I. and other terrorist task force agencies arrived, and the older investigators on the task force recalled that they had been to this building before, eight years ago, when the first World Trade Center attack led them to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, whose Jersey City mosque lies between the two buildings getting attention today. And the older investigators remember that the suspects that eventually got convicted for the first Trade Center case … lived in the building where these same eight men were celebrating the destruction that they saw from the roof. Calling this a hot address, the task force investigators ordered everyone detained.

ADDED: People are arguing falsely that the fact that only 8 suspects were apprehended contradicts the “swarm” claim. Read it again. An “investigator” told CBS about the “swarm.” The fact that a certain number were brought into custody does not change the fact that there was a “swarm.”  The obvious impression is that of the “swarm,” only eight were brought into custody. Eight people do not swarm on all those rooftops. They “gather.” Look at the video of the rooftop and picture “swarming.”

You want to get into semantics about how many people make up a swarm?

But that’s not all.

You have to add up all of the contemporaneous news reports. You are Donald Trump. You are taking in all the news during that awful week. You are told by the media that “swarms” of Muslims in a known terrorist’s neighborhood were seen on rooftops celebrating 9/11. Just two days earlier you have read this in the New York Post:

Here in New York, it was easy to get angry listening to Egyptians, Palestinians and the Arabs of nearby Paterson, N.J., celebrate as they received word of the murderous attack in New York and Washington. But Mayor Giuliani (who has been tireless and magnificent in this crisis) rightly warned New Yorker-ers that is would be wrong to take their anger our on the city’s Arab and Muslim residents. Attacks on Arab-Americans in Paterson or elsewhere are utterly indefensible.

You hear radio news reports about Muslims celebrations.

MTV runs a news report about Muslim celebrations.

From all of those news reports, it is perfectly reasonable and nothing close to lying to put together a picture of “thousands”.

FACT: Donald Trump is now 100% vindicated.

If these celebrations did not occur, the only thing Trump did wrong was to believe the same media that is now calling him a liar — and doing so to cover up the truth about American Muslims celebrating 9/11 and their own covering up of that fact.

Numerous times I’ve suggested Trump exaggerated the “thousands” claim, and for that I apologize.



The San Bernardino Shooting was a carefully planned attack by a devout Muslim

 While we know little about the 14 people killed and the 17 injured in the mass shooting yesterday in California, authorities have released very distressing details about the two dead shooters.

1. Syed Farouk was a 28-year-old American citizen. His accomplice was 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik. According to Police said the two were either engaged or already married. The Los Angeles Times reported Farook met Malik online. She was living in Saudi Arabia at the time. It’s not clear if Malik was a U.S. citizen or not.

The couple is believed to be the parents of a six-month old baby who was reportedly staying with grandparents at the time of the attacks. They left the baby with the grandparents and said they had to go to a doctor’s appointment.

2. Farook was identified by co-workers who witnessed the Christmas party being held by the San Bernardino County public health department, which had rented a room at the Inland Regional Center. At about 11:40 a.m., an officer told dispatchers a witness said a male left the building “out of the blue,” and 20 minutes later the shooting started. The witness said he matched the physical description of one of the shooters and was acting nervous before leaving.

3. Farook’s father said his son was a very devout Muslim.

Farook recently took a trip to Saudi Arabia for about a month and came back with a wife, a co-worker told The Associated Press. On a dating website where Farook set up a profile, Dubai Matriomonial, he said he was a Sunni Muslim.

4. This attack was very well planned. The attackers were (as Col. West describes it) fully “jocked up” in tactical gear, including masks, vests – even GoPro cameras. It would appear they planned to survive the attack, and were not initially suicide attackers.

As Fox News reports, “They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.



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