Putting Law Enforcement People At Risk

There are some real questions as to President Obama’s attitude toward police. A recent executive order really raises more questions.

Fox News reported Wednesday that:

President Obama issued Executive Order 13688 in January after the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Mo., amid concerns about the “militarization” of the police fueling a heavy-handed response.

The article explains:

Sheriffs using the program are outraged, saying that the main focus of the initial backlash – the armored tracked vehicles – are purely defensive vehicles that save lives in crisis situations, and double as rescue vehicles in areas with rough terrain.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard of Oakland County, Mich., told FoxNews.com of a situation in which an active shooter was holed up in his house shooting out of the windows, hitting nearby homes. Bouchard said they were able to use the vehicle to evacuate residents from houses, while also protecting police officers from being shot. During the siege, over 500 rounds of ammunition were exchanged.

“There’s no question that saved lives,” Bouchard, who is also a former senatorial and gubernatorial candidate, said. “We have letters from people we evacuated saying ‘we don’t know what you could have done to save us without that armored vehicle.’”

Bouchard said the federal government’s crackdown on the equipment is an example of the disconnect between Obama’s claims and reality.

“His verbiage calls these tanks. These aren’t tanks. There is no offensive weaponry mounted on a tracked armored vehicle in any police department. These are big safe boxes,” he said.

This is not the time to ask local police departments to give up weapons and machines that keep them safe. We are under a rather severe terrorist threat, and local police departments need all of the weapons they can get.

The executive order to take these weapons away from local police was part of President Obama’s response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri. We need to remember some of the specifics regarding the events of Ferguson. The policeman involved did not use excessive force, the criminal (yes, he had robbed a convenience store) had already attempted to steal the policeman’s gun and was charging the policeman. Remember that at one point in the Baltimore riots, the police were told not to restrain the rioters. These are things to think about.

Stop and think for a moment. If the local police force is stripped of all of its heavy weapons, who will have those weapons? Do you trust a federal government with weapons that would be overwhelming to local police forces? Do local police forces need safe vehicles to use in the case of terrorist attacks?

At the same time, ask yourself why in August of 2012  it was reported that Social Security Administration had purchased 174,000 rounds of ammunition, adding the agency to a growing list of federal agencies that have purchased multithousands of rounds of ammo over the last six months. This was reported in The Examiner on August 15, 2012.

I support the right of local law enforcement to have whatever armor and weapons they feel are needed. I also support the right of individual citizens to own guns.

There Is A Problem In The United Nations

It is becoming very obvious that the world has a terrorism problem. The civil war in Syria and the rise of ISIS in the Middle East have caused a tremendous amount of instability in the region and around the world. The goal of both the Iranians and ISIS is the establishment of a world-wide caliphate to be ruled by Sharia Law. They are in total agreement on that—what they don’t agree on is whether the Shia or the Sunnis should run the caliphate. Iran and ISIS have a lot in common in the way they treat non-Muslims, gays, and anyone who stands in the way of their desire for this caliphate. Enter the United Nations, established after World War II to prevent any more wars.

CNS News posted an article today about the United Nations’ comments on the cause of the violence in the Middle East.

The article stated:

Amid a wave of jihadist terrorism in France, Sinai, Lebanon and Mali, members of the United Nations met on Monday to focus on “Palestine,” with several speakers accusing Israel of fueling the violence across the region.

“The continued Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territory is the main challenge before the international community to achieve peace and stability in the region and the world,” said Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi, in a speech read out by his representative.

“This occupation represents the main cause for the spread of terrorism and extremist ideology in the region,” he said.

“Failure to find a just solution to the Palestinian cause – as the core issue in the Middle East – has started fueling conflicts in the region, threatening to affect international peace and security,” said Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani.

This statement is a result of what has happened to the United Nations in recent years. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has become the major voting bloc in the United Nations. One of the goals of the OIC is to rid the Middle East of the State of Israel. In attempting to reach this goal, the OIC has been behind numerous votes in the United Nations citing Israel for civil rights violations, war crimes, and anything else they could invent. The average consumer of news has no idea who the people behind these charges are or what their goals are.

The article further reports:

“We cannot separate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from this global threat,” he said.

Monday’s meeting in New York kicked off an annual intensive U.N. focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This year’s U.N. “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinia People,” Nov. 29, falls on a Sunday so was marked instead on Monday.

Later on Monday, the U.N. General Assembly began considering a raft of reports and draft resolutions related to two ongoing agenda items, “the question of Palestine” and “the situation in the Middle East.”

(At the U.N., the “situation in the Middle East” does not refer to the situation in the Middle East writ large – for example, to developments in Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Iran – but deals solely with Israel and its relations with the Palestinians and neighbors like Syria.)

It is long past time for America to get out of the United Nations and remove them from New York City. The United Nations is telling the U.S. government how many and which refugees to accept from the Middle East. The United Nations is also involved in attempted to undermine the Second Amendment rights of Americans. The United Nations is also attempting to impose a legal definition of free speech on its member countries that would put those countries in compliance with Sharia Law. Any altruistic goals that might have been there at the founding of the United Nations have long since been replaced by petty politics. It is time to end what might have been a good idea at the time, but has become a miserable failure.

I Don’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry

The War on Terror has reached the stage where Americans are asked not to travel abroad. Brussels has recently been in lockdown. France is nervous. Americans are wondering who is walking among them. The world has become a truly dangerous place. Well, there is a ray of sunshine in the works for Americans who live in New York City. Obviously, New York City was a target more than once in the past, and the fear is that it will be a target in the future. Fear not, Giovanni Gambino, a member of the Gambino crime family has offered to protect the city.

The American Thinker posted an article today about the offer. I am reminded of something I heard Joan Rivers say in an interview a long time ago.. She commented that when the Mob ran Las Vegas a handshake on a deal to appear there was all you needed. I am not praising the Mob, I am just noting that they take business seriously. There was also an incident of a New England blogger who hosted a weekly radio show. Da Tech Guy Blog is written by a friend in Massachusetts who hosted a radio show. At times conservative bloggers have been under attack physically (that is the reason my name does not appear on this blog). Someone called in and asked if Pete was worried about being physically attacked. His reply was very simple–“For some reason people seem reluctant to get into a grudge match with a Sicilian.” True.

Back to the article.

The American Thinker reports:

So word to the wise: if ISIS warriors would rather not wake up with a pig’s head in their bed, have hellfire visited upon them, be dismembered in a pork sausage factory, or prematurely meet 72 virgins after being dipped in a vat of boiling bacon grease, maybe the bloodthirsty should pick another neighborhood to carry out the commands of the Quran.

And in case ISIS is willing to gamble, there’s a track record both here and abroad to prove that unlike Barack Obama, if ISIS dares crosses the “red line,” the family will not hesitate to follow through on their word.

Taking that into consideration, in a city that overlooks the capital of Sicily, ISIS’s made men have decided that because of the threat of Mafia retaliation, the mountainous region of Palermo may not the best place to wage terrorist attacks or establish underground cells.

An Italian security official disclosed that out of fear of being eradicated by mob bosses, ISIS cells are afraid to enter certain areas such as “Sicily, Calabria, Puglia and Campania – including the city of Naples.”

I am not fond of this solution, but it is a reflection on the ineffectiveness of both local and national governments in dealing with ISIS. Admittedly, part of that failure is due to the limitations of the U.S. Constitution (which I have no desire to change), but part of that failure is due to people in power who refuse to admit that Islamic radicals are responsible for the current wave of terrorism.

The article further states:

A little closer to home, Gambino reminded the wary that “[t]he world is dangerous today” and reassured “people living in New York neighborhoods with Sicilian connections [that they] should feel safe.”  Rest assured Giovanni means it when he says, “We make sure our friends and families are protected from extremists and terrorists, especially the brutal, psychopathic organization that calls itself the Islamic State.”

Speaking of “brutal, psychopathic organizations,” in truth, the Mafia is just a more effective facsimile of the U.S. federal government.  Both entities extort money with the promise of protection.  The difference is that the Mafia is an organization that actually delivers on the promise.  


Manipulation At Its Finest

One of the most effective ways to manipulate people is through guilt. A well-written news article about a poor victim of some horrible right-wing activity is a favorite of our left-leaning media. That method is being used now to encourage Americans to let down their guard regarding who enters the country. However, every now and then the efforts of the left to make the right look bad totally backfire. The ericontheradio website posted an amazing example of this phenomenon today. The story also serves as a warning to Americans to be aware of the associations of some supposedly moderate Muslim groups. Whenever you hear CAIR  (Council on American-Islamic Relations) mentioned anywhere, remember that CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Trial. If you are not familiar with the trial, look it up and read the exhibits. They are guaranteed to curl your hair.

The article at ericontheradio reports:

Nonetheless, MSNBC a few years ago highlighted the terrible plight of Saadiq Long. He became the poster child for opposing the “no fly list.”

…Long’s cause got international attention when Glenn Greenwald published an article at The Guardian saying that Long was “effectively exiled from his own country.” Kevin Drum of Mother Jones branded it the “Kafkaesque World of the No-Fly List.” CAIR has 22 article entries related to Long’s case on its website.

After several months of wrangling between his CAIR attorneys and the Department of Homeland Security, Long was temporarily removed from the no-fly list and allowed to return to Oklahoma.

Once home, however, he was still subject to FBI surveillance according to claims he made during a press conference with his CAIR handlers.

After an incident with local police and the FBI, Long was apparently placed back on the no-fly list, preventing his return to Qatar.

Eventually he was taken off the list and allowed to return to Qatar. If the story ended there, it would be fine. However, Long and several family were arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell. But he was such a nice-looking young man…

It’s Those Pesky Emails Again

The problem is those pesky emails again–only they are not Hillary’s. Catherine Herridge at Fox News is reporting today that at least two emails were sent to analysts at U.S. Central Command requesting that they ease off negative assessments about the Islamic State threat.

The article reports:

Those emails, among others, are now in the possession of the Pentagon inspector general. The IG’s probe is expanding into whether intelligence assessments were changed to give a more positive picture of the anti-ISIS campaign.

The former Pentagon official said there were “multiple assessments” from military intelligence and the CIA regarding the “rapid rise” of ISIS in Iraq and North Africa in the year leading up to the group’s territory grab in 2014.

Similar intelligence was included in the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB – the intelligence community’s most authoritative product — during the same time period. Yet the official, who was part of the White House discussions, said the administration kept “kicking the can down the road.” The official said there was no discussion of the military involvement needed to make a difference.

The IG probe started earlier this year amid complaints that information was changed to make ISIS look more degraded than it really was.

National security is not a game–nor is it a political issue–it is an issue that impacts all Americans. I would be somewhat sympathetic if I thought information was sanitized to prevent creating a panic, but I am not sympathetic at all to information being sanitized for political purposes. The investigation needs to proceed without being compromised by interference by the White House or those in the Obama Administration.

Bad Faith In Negotiations

We seem to have totally missed the mark on our recent negotiations with Iran. We never asked Iran to release the American citizens they were holding hostage, Pastor Abedini for example. Now Iran has sentenced Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to prison on charges of spying. Jason Rezaian is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen.

Politico reported today that Tholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, announced that Rezaian has been sentenced to an unspecified prison term. An appeal is expected, and Ejehi described the verdict as “not finished.”

The article reports:

Rezaian, who has covered Iran for the Post since 2012, grew up in Marin County, California and spent most of his life in the United States. The Post, U.S. officials and Rezaian’s family have all called for his release. Iran does not recognize dual-nationality.

“By withholding information about the verdict and sentence, the Iranian government shows that its pursuit of Jason Rezaian on bogus espionage charges is nothing but a facade to prolong his unjust imprisonment,” said Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

“The authorities should immediately drop all charges against Jason Rezaian and release him, along with all journalists imprisoned in Iran in relation to their work,” he said.

The CPJ says 30 journalists were behind bars in Iran in 2014, making it the second worst jailer of reporters, after China.

We should not even be discussing the time of day with the government of Iran until they release the Americans they are currently holding in prison. We need to add economic sanctions on them until these people are returned home.

One Government Agency Stuck On Stupid

Today’s Washington Times posted an article about the U.S. Labor Department’s Center for Civil Rights. In order to celebrate it’s recent accomplishments, the managers threw a football-themed tailgate party for the staff in the office parking lot. Sounds like fun, right? Well, it was a great idea until political correctness reared its ugly head.

The article reports:

Even the regular office dress policy was relaxed. “Show your team spirit and wear your favorite sports or club theme gear and come and enjoy tailgating favorites like dips, chili, chicken wings, nachos and more game-day grub,” the invite said.

There was only stipulation: no Washington Redskins jerseys, paraphernalia or memorabilia.

“It has been respectfully requested that employees voluntarily refrain from wearing clothing or other sports memorabilia that promote Washington D.C.’s professional football team, the Redskins, or other teams that use names, characters, etc. that may portray American Indians or other cultures in a derogatory manner,” an asterisk-marked note at the bottom of the invitation reader.

Isn’t it part of my First Amendment rights and civil rights to be able to wear whatever national football league jersey I want to? Are some national football league teams more equal than others? The part of the name that all Americans should be ashamed of is not Redskins–it’s Washington.

Smile, You Are Being Manipulated

Right now there is a lot of discussion as to whether of not American should allow Syrian refugees into America. There are a lot of aspects to this problem, but one that may not have been fully explored is the political left’s use of Saul Alinsky‘s Rules for Radicals.

Rule No. 4 states:

The left is using the refugees as a wedge issue. They are following Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #4, which states: RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.).

America has had problems with Muslim refugees in the past. Here are links to two articles dealing with past problems: one from The Clarion Project and one from World Net Daily. In June of this year, The Center for Security Policy posted the following:

According to the just-released survey of Muslims, a majority (51%) agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.”  When that question was put to the broader U.S. population, the overwhelming majority held that shariah should not displace the U.S. Constitution (86% to 2%).

More than half (51%) of U.S. Muslims polled also believe either that they should have the choice of American or shariah courts, or that they should have their own tribunals to apply shariah. Only 39% of those polled said that Muslims in the U.S. should be subject to American courts.

…Even more troubling, is the fact that nearly a quarter of the Muslims polled believed that, “It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed.”

Understand that Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution are not compatible. The Muslim definition of free speech is not compatible with the American First Amendment. Under Sharia Law, the definition of slander includes saying anything negative about Islam whether or not it is true. Slander can be punishable by death.

Many of the Somali refugees in the midwest have left America to join Islamic terrorists. The Boston bombers were refugees. The refugee issue is not as simple as letting anyone into America who is fleeing violence. It is something that needs to be handled cautiously and without politics. I am not sure our present leaders are capable of either.

About That Transparency Thing…

As anyone who regularly reads this blog is aware, I am involved in the fight against Common Core in North Carolina. There is a better plan, the North Carolina Education Plan, that would better suit the students of North Carolina–it will encourage critical thinking and improve both their reading and mathematics skills. Common Core is a one-size-fits-all group of standards that is heavily funded by the Bill Gates Foundation and supported by the political class in Washington, D.C. Bill Gates himself has stated, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.”  The father of Common Core is the “No Child Left Behind” Law which moved a large part of education in America under the control of the federal government. Just for the record, the federal government does not have the Constitutional right to control local education. Well, No Child Left Behind has morphed into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now before Congress.

On Thursday, Truth In American Education posted an article about the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The article stated:

Because the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) will be the largest piece of federal education legislation Congress will pass in over a decade, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) should allow the bill to be made publicly available for at least 60 days before the House considers it.

The bill is not scheduled to be made publicly available until November 30th. Thus, a vote should not be scheduled until late January. Currently, it is scheduled for December 2; two days is clearly not sufficient. House members will be forced to vote on a bill they haven’t read.

The American people expected a new style of leadership under Speaker Ryan, not more of the same. If he allows a bill of this magnitude to become law without adequately vetting its merits and faults, it will affirm that the same ills that plagued Congress under Speaker Boehner remain fully intact.

Transparency is obviously an issue here, but there are other issues.

The article further states:

What we have heard, but can’t confirm:

The new bill is hundreds of pages longer than either prior version.

It contains new programs that weren’t in either prior version.

There is a new competitive grant for pre-schools- think Race to the Top for Tots

Very complex language that is unclear. This means the US Depart of Education will have tremendous leeway to interpret it to the advantage of the federal government. Because it has discretion over how to administer the law, unclear language makes it easier for the US Department of Education to justify and make decisions to place requirements on the states through its rule-making authority.

Education needs to be under local control. Admittedly, every student in America needs to learn basic English and Mathematics, but different areas of the country have different educational needs beyond that. Americans are individuals, we need to have an education system that educates individuals. One size does not fit all.

One thing that could really help the federal budget would be to get rid of the Department of Education on the federal level. In 1953, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare became a cabinet-level agency of the U.S. government. In 1979, Jimmy Carter created the cabinet-level Department of Education. In 1979, the Office of Education had 3,000 employees and an annual budget of $12 billion. When the Department of Education was created, it had an annual budget of $14.2 billion and 17,000 employees. According to the government Budget Office, the U. S. Department of Education currently administers a budget of $67.1 billion in discretionary appropriations. I truly think it is time for them to go away.

I also think it is time for Speaker Paul Ryan to live up to his promises about transparency.

Debunking The Media Lies

Donald Trump is not a media darling. He is not even an establishment Republican darling. His support seems to come from people who are fed up with politics the way it is currently done and looking for change. He has a few major political players gunning for him–Republican and Democrat. Therefore it should not be surprising when his remarks are twisted to make it sound like he said something he did not. I need to mention here that I am not a supporter of Donald Trump. He is not at all my first choice for a Republican presidential candidate, although I would vote for him instead of Hillary Clinton.

The Associated Press is reporting today:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has voiced support for creating a mandatory database to track Muslims in the United States – the latest in an escalating series of responses following the deadly attacks in Paris.

This seems like an odd comment from someone who generally handles the press as well as Donald Trump does. Well, Rush Limbaugh posted the actual transcript of the remarks the media statement claims to be quoting.

This is the transcript (from Rush Limbaugh):

TRUMP:  There should be a lot of systems beyond database.  We should have a lot of systems.  And today you can do it.  But right now we have to have a border.  We have to have strength.  We have to have a wall.  And we cannot let what’s happening to this country happen.

REPORTER:  But is it something your White House would like to implement?

TRUMP:  Oh, I would certainly implement that, absolutely.

REPORTER:  What do you think the effect of that would be?  How would that work?

TRUMP:  It would stop people from coming in illegally.  We have to stop people from coming into our country illegally.

REPORTER:  Muslims specifically, how do you actually get them registered into a database? 

TRUMP:  It would be just good management.  What you have to do is good management procedures.  And we can do that.

It seems to me that Donald Trump was talking about a wall to keep illegal immigrants out. I think the question he was answering was not the same as the question he was being asked.

At any rate, the story is questionable at best.

The commentary at Rush Limbaugh also mentions the following:

I think the reporter is Hunter Walker.  If that’s who it is, you need to know that this guy is a major backer of Hillary Clinton, as most in the Drive-By Media are.  He has written endless articles championing her, and now I think he writes for Yahoo News and is the Business Insider politics editor. 

We are in the silly season–the time when you really can’t believe most of what you hear from the mainstream media. Be on guard, there is an obvious attempt at manipulation here.

Opening The Door Wide For Identity Theft

Identity theft is a problem in the electronic age. Credit cards with chips can be stolen without anyone actually going near the actual card. The internet is a gold mine for identity thieves. Now the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is going to make it really easy to have your identity stolen.

Freedomworks posted an article yesterday about a new rule the IRS is proposing on charitable donations.

The article reports:

A new rule is proposing that non-profit organizations collect the “tax identification numbers” of all their donors who give over $250. For you and me, that means our Social Security numbers.

It’s hard to imagine a more chilling regulation on charitable giving. Would you be willing to enter your Social Security number into an internet donation form, knowing that the government will get to see it? Would you be willing to write that number down and mail it through the U.S. Post Office alongside a check? I wouldn’t.

The article continues:

This is part of the IRS’a continued efforts to reduce the reach and effectiveness of non-profit organizations. Many of you will remember the proposed regulations from last year that would have narrowly defined “social welfare” to shut down conservative organizations critical of the IRS. Through a massive grassroots activism campaign, FreedomWorks, along with other organizations, was able to stop the regulation by driving a record number of comments – over 150,000 – to defeat the rule. This new regulation is a resurrection of the same idea – identify and deter voters to causes the government doesn’t approve of.

In addition to the compliance cost of organizations having to keep track of all these numbers, the potential for civil liberties violations is huge. The Constitution guarantees us the freedom of association, but that freedom is compromised when the we know the government is watching us, especially when the watching is being done by an organization capable of inflicting punishment in the form of fines, audits, asset forfeiture, and general harassment.

We saw that harassment when a business was boycotted because they gave money to support Proposition 8 in California. If this information is required, we can expect to see donors to conservative causes targeted. We have already seen thegovernment harass businessmen who contributed to conservative causes using audits and safety inspections.

The comment period on this new rule is open until December 16. Please comment and let the IRS know that they have no right to demand your Social Security number for charitable contributions.

In What World Does This Make Sense?

I celebrate the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison today. Jonathan Pollard, 61, was given a life sentence thirty years ago for selling American intelligence secrets to Israel. He has been released and will spend at least the next five years on parole. He sentence seems a little harsh, as we spy on our allies all the time. Spying on allies seems to be a normal mode of operation. Contrast this thirty-year sentence with the recent sentence of Jared Fogle, former spokesman for Subway sandwich shops. Mr. Fogle has been sentence to 15 years for child pornography and sex with a minor.

Yahoo News posted a story about Jonathan Pollard yesterday.

The story includes the following:

Both the Justice Department and Pollard’s lawyers have so far declined to discuss his parole conditions, but one longtime supporter, Rabbi Pesach Lerner of New York, told a radio interviewer this month that Pollard would have to abide by a curfew and wear a GPS unit to track his movements.

He has also been ordered to stay off the Internet, Lerner said, which could complicate his ability to hold a job.

“We’re concerned that maybe they are trying to set him up so they can say he broke his parole and send him back,” Lerner told Nachum Segal, who hosts a program on Jewish affairs on WFMU in New Jersey. “They’re keeping the reins on him very tightly.”

This man was never a threat to national security. There is no reason to believe that he will become a threat. It is obscene that he was kept in prison so long and that excessive restrictions are being put on him after his release. I wish the Obama Administration was as diligent about tracking the terrorists they release from Guantanamo.

An Amazing Story From A Middle School Teacher

The following was written by a friend of mine who teaches Middle School. My hope is that they are many more teachers like him and many more students like his students.

Sharing a Wonderful Experience

I know many of us grow weary and worried for the future of our great nation. This is often amplified when we look at our younger generations and the fruit of our educational system. It can certainly be food for depression. However, I would like to share a dose of superb sunshine and positive encouragement I recently received while working with two classes of middle-school students.

I was presenting material on folk literatureoral traditions. We were specifically studying fables. I had selected two pieces which create an opportunity for challenging and discussing some of the troubling modern thinking. The first selection was “The Grasshopper and the Ants.” The second was “The Scorpion and the Frog.”

The students were given the first passage to read for homework. In addition to reading the selection, the students were to answer one question, were the ants right in their response to the grasshopper? They were to write three brief paragraphs which would include their answer and support for their answer. On the following day, I asked the students to get into one of two groups – those who thought the ants were wrong, and those who thought the ants were right. We then proceeded to have a structured debate with opening comments, rebuttal statements, a period for questions and answers, and closing statements. It was an absolute joy to see the majority, about 4/5, of my students supporting the ants. Through the course of the debate/discussion, my students further impressed me with their passionate arguments supporting the rights of the producer/worker to reap the rewards of his labor. When presented with the counter argument that the ants should have at least been a little helpful to the starving grasshopper, a few students promptly set the record straight by arguing that the ants had tried to help by warning the grasshopper and encouraging him to do some work in preparation for the coming winter. When asked if it would be right for some outside force, The Grasshopper Protection Society of the Universe, to pressure/force the ants to give a portion of their goods to the grasshopper, my students responded with a resounding no. They did acknowledge that the ants could choose, on their own, to give some of their goods away, but the choice belonged to the ants. Even when applying to real-life situations – one of which was the sharing of academic success with under-achieving students – my students argued that those who worked for successful outcomes should benefit from their work and choose how to help others. They submitted that if others wanted to be successful they need to work for that success.

A real encouragement came when similar results occurred in my second class.

The second fable, given for the next day’s assignment, dealt more with the influence of our nature – i.e. the scorpion stings and kills the frog saying he had to because that is what scorpions do. The question for my students was, did the scorpion have to do what he did. Again, we had a group discussion – not a debate, but a sort of panel with a randomly selected student to represent the frog and another to represent the scorpion. At the conclusion of this discussion, I presented the students with a final question, what is stronger and more important – your nature or your power of choice? My students warmed my heart with a unanimous outcry that our choices are the most powerful.

Again, similar outcomes for both classes.

While this year has been a good year already, these two days were extraordinary! Our country will be great if these young people have anything to do with it. Find them, and encourage them.

This Won’t Help Me Sleep Nights

Breitbart.com reported yesterday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed that eight Syrian illegal aliens were taken into custody as they attempted to enter America in the Laredo Sector.

The article reports:

Agent Garza further stated that in matters as sensitive as Syrians crossing the border from Mexico, it would be highly unlikely that federal agencies would publicize it or inform a broad group of law enforcement. He did say that Local 2455 is taking the reports seriously and that they “will be issuing an officer safety bulletin advising Border Patrol agents to exercise extra precautions as they patrol the border.”

Breitbart Texas can confirm that a Syrian did attempt to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas in late September. The Syrian was caught using a passport that belonged to someone else and U.S. authorities decided against prosecuting anyone involved due to “circumstances.”

The obvious question here is, “If eight were caught, how many got through?”

What Is Being Said Here?

Howie Carr at The Boston Herald posted an article today about remarks Secretary of State John Kerry made at the U.S. Embassy in Paris on Tuesday.

The article posted:

At the U.S. Embassy in Paris Tuesday, the secretary of state compared the two Muslim terrorist massacres in France this year — the shooting up of the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and then last Friday’s celebration of diversity.

“There’s something different about what happened (Friday) from Hebdo,” he says on the tape, “and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not legitimacy — but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and, ‘OK, they’re really angry because of this or that.’ ”

The implication here is that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were caused by the actions of the editors. Actually, those responsible for the Charlies Hebdo acts were the people who planned them and carried them out. Note to Secretary Kerry–nothing justifies the kind of cold-blooded murder that went on at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices.

There is another aspect to this. In his book, Catastrophic Failure, Stephen Coughlin explains that one of the goals of the Islamic Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is to institute Islamic Law on non-Muslims, beginning with the concept of slander. In Islam, slander is defined to any speech that mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true, if it is negative, it is considered slander. The penalty for slander is death. We need to be careful that we do not compromise our free speech rights in this area. People who commit crimes because they do not like what is being said need to know that there will be consequences for their behavior. Unfortunately, what Secretary Kerry said implied that killing people because you don’t like what they published is understandable. Americans need to state clearly that this is neither understandable nor justifiable.

The invented word ‘Islamophobia’ is an example of the attempt to curtain the First Amendment rights of Americans. If we tell the politically incorrect truth about the goals of Islam, that word is often invoked. It is a way of avoiding the truth. It is unfortunate that our Secretary of State did not choose his words more carefully.

Free Speech?

One of the foundations of our representative republic is free speech. This can be a very mixed blessing. We have the right to speak freely–we don’t have the right not to be offended. Some of our politicians have rather thin skins.

Yesterday Judicial Watch reported that the Laugh Factor, a comedy club in Hollywood, has been contacted by the Hillary Clinton campaign because of a short video (less than three minutes) of a performance at the club which targets Hillary Clinton which is posted on the website of the club. Jamie Masada, who owns the club, says that a Clinton campaign staffer called him and threatened to put him out of business if he didn’t take down the video. The campaign also demanded personal contact information on the performers in the recording.

The article describes the performance as somewhat crass and including some profanity, but that does not disqualify it from being free speech. Anyone who does not approve of the language or the content has the option of turning it off–that’s part of what free speech is about.

The article reports:

Masada told Judicial Watch that, as soon as the video got posted on the Laugh Factory website, he received a phone call from a “prominent” person inside Clinton’s campaign. “He said the video was disgusting and asked who put me up to this,” Masada said. The Clinton staffer, who Masada did not want to identify, also demanded to know the names and phone numbers of the comedians that appear in the video. Masada refused and hung up. He insists that the comedy stage is a sanctuary for freedom of speech no matter who is offended. “Just last night we had (Emmy-award winner) Dana Carvey doing Donald Trump and it was hilarious,” Masada said.

Can you imaging Donald Trump doing this in response to all the jokes about his hair? This should be a red flag for anyone planning to vote for Hillary. The lady is thin-skinned and not above threatening someone to avoid bad press–even if it comes under the heading of comedy.

This Is A Great Place To Cut The Federal Budget

The Daily Caller posted a story today about Veteran’s Administration (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald’s policy regarding bonuses to employees.

The article reports:

For 2014, employees received a total of $140 million in performance awards. Almost 50 percent of the 340,000 workers at the VA took home bonuses. The sheer number of employees awarded has raised questions about low-bar performance standards.

Regardless, McDonald was quick to justify the bonuses in an op-ed in USA Today. First, the bonuses covered the time period of October 2013 to September 2014, meaning that they are not based on current scandals. Second, bonuses play a large role in retaining talent. Third, the huge majority of the 156,000 workers who did receive bonuses definitely put veterans first.

I don’t want to see the VA budget cut in the areas that provide services to veterans, but it seems to me that bonuses at this particular time might be a little over the top.

The article includes a few illustrations of how bad things are:

Kim Graves, a regional benefits director in St. Paul, who recently pleaded the Fifth Amendment at a congressional hearing, received an $8,700 bonus.

Dr. David Houlihan, infamously known as the Candy Man at the Tomah VA, took home a bonus fo $4,000 10 months before he was fired from his post.

We need accountability in government spending. This sort of thing is unacceptable. Congress needs to do a better job of oversight.

Getting Past The Rhetoric

There is a lot being said right now about what to do with the Syrian refugees fleeing their country. The Center for Security Policy posted an article yesterday that shines a different light on the situation.

The article reports:

President Obama made headlines today in reaction to a question from the press regarding the possibility of taking in Syrian Christian and other religious minorities ahead or in place of Syrian Muslims (Syria is majority Sunni Muslim.) The President responded aggressively claiming such a policy was, “… not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

The reality however is that the Refugee Resettlement system already has “a religious test of their compassion”, to quote the president. And that’s a test which actively disfavors Christians, according to figures released by the State Department:

Of 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, only 53 (2.4 percent) have been Christians while 2098 (or 96 percent) have been Muslims, according to State Department statistics updated on Monday. The remaining 33 include 1 Yazidi, 8 Jehovah Witnesses, 2 Baha’i, 6 Zoroastrians, 6 of “other religion,” 7 of “no religion,” and 3 atheists.

According to the CIA Factbook, Syria has a Christian population of 10%. Approximately between 500,000 and 700,000 Christians have fled Syria–about 16% to 23% of the estimated 3 million Syrians who have fled. Since Christians are one of the main targets of the Islamists, this figure makes sense.

So what is going on here? America does not get to choose her refugees.

The article reports:

As Nina Shea highlights at National Review, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is typically the deciding agency, and recommends to the United States which refugees will be resettled. So the selection process hits several snags. Firstly, Christian refugees almost overwhelmingly avoid United Nations refugee camps out of legitimate fears of possible violence against them. Reports of attacks on Christians refugees by their Muslim counterparts have been reported, such as when Christian refugees on a boat in the Mediterranean were thrown overboard, and German police have openly urged publicly separating Christian and Muslim refugees, due to attacks. In one case a Christian convert was beaten unconscious by a metal baton.

The second part of the problem is the fact that the United Nations is very much controlled by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC comprises the largest voting block in the United Nations. The OIC is headquartered in Saudi Arabia, where the practice of Christianity is illegal.

The article explains the third part of the problem:

Thirdly, and perhaps most largely problematic, is the appearance of overt anti-Christian bias by the State Department itself. As good friend of the Center, Institute for Religion and Democracy’s Faith McDonnell notes in her recent piece on the state of Christian refugees, the State Department has explicitly declared they, “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States,” in response to a plan by a private aid group to fund, entirely free of taxpayer dollars, the transport of Assyrian Christians facing extermination by Islamic State.

In other words, even when its free, no cost to them, the State Department has preferred to snub Christians rather than save them.

There is a religious test for refugees. Unfortunately that test is not only against the best interests of America, it discriminates against a persecuted group of refugees.

Hopefully There Is A Harmless Explanation For This

WBRZ is an ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The station posted the following on its Facebook page:

SyrianRefugeeMissingToday The Gateway Pundit also posted an article about the situation.

The Gateway Pundit states:

The news may seem alarming that neither state government nor the federal government track newly-arrived refugees who have just entered the country, but it is actually not uncommon at all.

So let’s get this straight–the government is bringing these people into the country, there is no real way of thoroughly vetting them, and neither the state or the federal government is tracking the refugees after they arrive.

Have we totally departed our senses?


Many Americans Want To Have The Ability To Protect Themselves When They Need To

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday about a turn-in program for ‘unwanted guns’ in Greensboro, North Carolina.

On November 10, the Greensboro Police Department make the following announcement on Facebook:

Greensboro police are asking at least 1,000 residents of the Gate City to show their commitment to safety by signing a “Pledge of Nonviolence” this Saturday, Nov. 14 at Destiny Christian Center, 2401 Randleman Rd. from 9 am to 3 pm. At the same event, gun owners can safely turn in unwanted firearms from their homes. Police employees will be accepting handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition at the event. This is not a buy-back program. No cash will be given in exchange for weapons voluntarily surrendered to police.

The pledge and the opportunity to turn in weapons are spurred, in part, by an increase in gun violence. This year compared to last, gun violence has increased 68%. The term ‘gun violence’ includes any crimes against people in which weapons were used, and shootings into occupied dwellings. An incident can be classified as gun violence even if no one was injured.

One knife and a BB gun pistol that resembled a real gun were turned in. Also, almost 1,000 people did sign the “Pledge of Nonviolence” which was made available to be signed during the event.

Remember, France has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, yet the bad guys were able to buy guns. The good guys followed the law and were unarmed. A few good marksmen carrying guns in the theater might have made a big difference.


As The Debate On Refugees Continues…

Joe Fitzgerald posted a commentary in the Boston Herald yesterday about the current state of affairs in America. The title of the article was, “In desperate times, deception destroys.”

Here are a few very cogent points from the article:

In circles of recovery it’s sometimes referred to as “the gift of desperation,” that moment when it becomes crystal clear to an addict that a change must be made, that returning to the old ways is simply not an option anymore.

…Even the pope — who represents the Prince of Peace on Earth — seems to have embraced the spirit of the Old Testament’s “eye for an eye” credo, as if to suggest there are limits on how often we should turn the other cheek, because it’s obvious the barbarians at our gates view kindness as weakness.

It’s not complicated. If we’re not going to love them into the family of civilization, then we need to crush them into oblivion, and soon.

Immigration is as American as the bald eagle. Ellis Island bore witness to that.

But now it’s no longer a conversation about our hospitality; it’s clearly become the Achilles heel of our nation’s security as millions take refuge in our populace without learning our history, speaking our language or giving any indication of affection for this country.

Mr. Fitzgerald reminds us that asking who the refugees are and why they are coming here is not ‘hateful, prejudiced, or xenophobic’–it is common sense. We are responsible for preserving the country our Founding Fathers left us.

It would do us well to remember what Ben Franklin said after the close of the Continental Congress in 1787 when he was asked the following:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

We need to welcome people who want to live in that Republic and send those who don’t want to live in that Republic somewhere where they will be more comfortable.

The Challenge Of Balancing Compassion And Safety

We are faced with a flood of refugees coming out of the civil war in Syria and the advance of ISIS in other parts of the Middle East. These people need a safe place to go, but the situation is complicated. The nations where they would most easily assimilate are not willing to give them refuge. It is doubtful whether they would be willing to assimilate into western nations, and that fact comes with its own set of problems and concerns.

In evaluating this situation, we need to look at some of our history. The opening paragraph of the United States Constitution states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Our government is charged with providing for the common defense. Our Constitution is the Law of the Land. We are not open to another law. The people who have come here in the past have understood that and been willing to live under American law. I fear that the Syrian refugees, even those with totally peaceful motives, will want to establish Sharia Law. That is the history of Muslim immigrants. Also, the fact that we cannot vet these refugees because Syria is a failed state means that by admitting these refugees we are putting Americans at risk. That goes against our Constitution. It is also noteworthy that many of these refugees are military-age young men–not families.

Today’s U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about President Obama’s plan to bring Syrian refugees to America. The article reports that so far twenty-five Republican governors and one Democratic governor have stated that they do not want the Syrian refugees in their states.

There are enough stable Middle Eastern countries that could easily take in these refugees. One wonders why they have not stepped up to the plate. Meanwhile, the American President is responsible for the safety of the American people.

The Theater Was Sold

The Times of Israel reported on Saturday that the Bataclan theater, one of the targets in the Friday night terrorism attack in Paris had been sold two months ago.

The article reports:

French magazine Le Point said early Saturday that the Bataclan, where at least 80 people were massacred by Islamic State gunmen on Friday night, has for years been the target of anti-Zionist groups as the Jewish owners often put on pro-Israel events. The publication quoted a member of the extremist group Army of Islam, who told French security services in 2011 that, “We had planned an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jews.”

Pascal Lalous and his brother Joel sold the theater on September 11. Joel recently immigrated to Israel.

I don’t believe that the theater attack was a random attack–I suspect the terrorists did not know the building had been sold. The article also mentioned that the band playing at the theater had played in Tel Aviv in July.

As the Muslim population of France has increased, the country has become less safe for Jews. A few years ago, Jewish men were advised not to go out in public wearing their yamakas because they might be targeted. The attack on the Kosher supermarket also targeted the Jewish population.

In January of this year, the U.K. Telegraph posted an article which stated the following:

A record 15,000 French Jews could emigrate to Israel this year amid fears of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, according to the official body overseeing migration to the Jewish state.

The figure – double the number who left France for Israel last year – has been forecast by Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency, following last Friday’s deadly attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris by a French jihadist, which left four Jewish citizens dead.

Part of the problem is the anti-Semitism that is built into Islam. Arabic children are routinely taught that the Jews are descendants of apes and pigs and that Jews use the blood of Arab children in their religious ceremonies. This teaching has to stop.

Terrorists commit terrorist attacks. That’s what they do. That’s who they are. Until the Muslim community stands united against these attacks, we have to conclude that they are in agreement. I understand that the Muslim community is afraid to take a stand, but they need to get past that fear. This is not unlike dealing with the Mafia. Someone needs to talk so that the entire thing can be unraveled. The western world has to take action against the philosophy that terrorism for the sake of Islam is acceptable. I think it is time to retaliate by removing Mecca and Medina from the planet. The only thing terrorists understand is force, they need to experience some force directed at them.

I Can’t Believe He Said That

I watched some of the Democratic Party presidential debate last night. I will confess that I did not last very long. I did, however, hang around long enough to hear the following statement as reported in The Daily Caller:

Sen. Bernie Sanders stood by his claim that while he wants to rid the world of ISIS, climate change remains the “greatest threat to national security.”

Sanders said this to CBS debate moderator John Dickerson who had just asked the candidates their thoughts on the recent terror attacks in Paris.

“Do you still believe that?” Dickerson asked.

“Absolutely. In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism and if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world,” Sanders said.

Admittedly,  limited resources can cause international conflicts. However, if the free market system is allowed to function freely, innovation can overcome shortages. For instance, Iceland has a rather limited growing season. As you drive through the country, you see greenhouses everywhere. The greenhouses are heated by the geothermal energy that is so abundant in Iceland. That is an example of overcoming a climate-related problem. Since many scientists now believe that global cooling is more likely than global warming, this may be valuable information in the future. America does not have vast amounts of geothermal energy, but given a free market without interference, I suspect we could find a way to feed people despite global cooling.

At any rate, climate change is inevitable. It has been a part of the history of the earth since there was a history of the earth. As some of the scandals in the climate data have come to light, it has been revealed that the earth suffered a period of global warming during the Middle Ages. Carbon emissions were not an issue during that time, but people in Greenland were farming.

At any rate, climate change is not an immediate threat, and there is some real question as to how much we could impact it if it were. I strongly suggest that we focus on ISIS. They are a proven danger that demands an answer.

This Is The Way To Respond To A Terrorist Attack

ABC News is reporting today that French jets have begun bombing ISIS targets in eastern Syria.

The article reports:

The French Ministry of Defense said it targeted a command post and a terrorist training camp, dropping 20 bombs on ISIS’s de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria. The first target included a command post, jihadist recruiting center and a weapons warehouse, the ministry said.

Ten fighter jets were launched simultaneously from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The operation was coordinated with the U.S. military.

Several people in France and Belgium have been detained by the police in connection with the terrorists attacks in Paris. Authorities believe that at least ten people were involved in the attack or its planning.

The article reports a rather troubling statistic:

More than 500 Belgian nationals have left to fight in Syria, according to a Belgian database. Belgium has provided the most foreign fighters in Syria, per capita, of any European country.

In September of 2014, The Daily Beast reported:

On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told CNN more than 100 Americans have pledged themselves to the group that declared itself a Caliphate in June after conquering Iraq’s second-largest city. Hagel added, “There may be more, we don’t know.” On Thursday, a Pentagon spokesman walked back Hagel’s remarks, saying the United States believes there are “maybe a dozen” Americans who have joined ISIS.

…(In an appearance on Meet the Press this weekend, Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that hundreds of Americans were affiliated with the group.)

The problem for the U.S. intelligence community in part is that Syria itself is a bit of a black hole. Syria remains what’s known as a “denied area” for U.S. intelligence agencies, meaning any military or intelligence officer that operates inside Syria does so at great risk of being killed or captured.

I don’t know how many Americans have joined ISIS, but one is too many. We need to agree as a country as to what to do with these men if and when they return. Otherwise we will find ourselves in the same situation as Paris.