Posted tagged ‘Homeland Security’

Al-Qaeda Targets D.C. to Boston Line, Hazmat Cargo Trains in DIY Derailment Guide

August 15, 2017

Al-Qaeda Targets D.C. to Boston Line, Hazmat Cargo Trains in DIY Derailment Guide, PJ MediaBridget Johnson, August 14, 2017

Amtrak K-9 unit officer Michael Szczawinski and Billy perform a routine patrol along a platform before Amtrak’s Acela train leaves bound for Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2008, at South Station in Boston. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)

The latest issue of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language Inspire magazine names Amtrak’s D.C. to Boston Acela Express and several other passenger rail lines in the United States as prime targets for their new focus on train derailment operations that the group says has been more than a year in the planning stages.

Inspire, which contains vivid picture instructions on how to build devices used for jihad, has served as an instructional guide for American jihadists who don’t necessarily claim allegiance to al-Qaeda, including Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The article focuses on metro trains operating within cities, regional routes serving population-dense corridors, and long-distance trains with remote tracks that are impossible to fully police. Trains can be attacked by targeting the cars, the stations or the tracks; the article focuses on the last, stressing that the method makes suicide operations unnecessary and the same person can return to strike more lines if not captured, once again this is why it is recommended to have a
one sure hgv insurance covering you.

“America’s railroads are estimated to be a 1/3 of the world’s railway. So how can they protect 240,000 km of railroad … it is practically impossible. The same goes to Britain, with 18,500 km and France, with 29,473 km. It is a daunting and almost impossible task to protect the long railroad length, and yet one of the easiest to target. That may result to great damage and destruction on different levels,” al-Qaeda’s “Lone Jihad Guidance Team” wrote, adding that “it is time that we instill fear and make them impose strict security measures to trains as they did with their Air transportation.”

“We have to expose more of their vulnerabilities in their security. And when they spend millions of dollars to tackle a vulnerability we should be ready to open a new [front]…  we expect that there will be no effective solution to the security gaps that may be caused by these types of operations that target the train system.”

The magazine includes 17 pages of step-by-step, pictorial instructions to make a “derailment tool” of rebar, reinforced concrete, rubber and sheet metal to clamp onto a track a suggested 10 minutes before a train is scheduled to pass.

The Acela is singled out as a high-speed route that the terror group anticipates would see higher casualties and damage from the use of the derailment tool.

“This is the most suited condition for a successful train derail operation. When a train reaches high speed then it has to be reduced to around 100 km/h. This is because a train at a very high speed is hard to control or manage using brakes. For example America’s high-speed train ‘Acela’ requires a whole mile so that it can come to a halt, this is because of the train’s very high speed. Another reason is that the train losses weight and stability when it is at high speeds,” the article states. “Therefore a Mujahid must be aware of areas where the train increases its speed and places where the train moves at a high speed.”

The Inspire issue details, in photos, the specific types of derailments that jihadists can aim for, including a train coming off the tracks and striking a mountain to “attain the desired result,” striking man-made structures including buildings and bridges, and falling from elevated tracks.

“Dual operations” are also emphasized, in which a train carrying hazardous materials can derail in a populated area — “an issue that makes the different security agencies sleepless.”

“The transportation committee in America drafted a report after the events of 9/11 , in which they mentioned the reality of this breach and how difficult it is to control. They declared that 83 million tons of hazardous materials is annually transported by trains in America. And that these trains pass through major U.S. cities and thousands of small towns which are located across the railroad tracks,” the article continued. “Information concerning the transportation of these hazardous materials can always be found on the public domain; or by observing and surveilling the movements of these Hazmat trains.”

The article includes a map of rail lines from the U.S. Department of Transportation, including Amtrak, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF and CSX.

Specific U.S. passenger lines discussed in addition to the Acela Express are the Amtrak Cascades in the Pacific Northwest, the Cardinal from New York to Chicago, the Carolinian from Charlotte to New York City, the City of New Orleans from Louisiana to Chicago, the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles, the Crescent from New York City to New Orleans, the Empire Builder from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, Calif., the Palmetto from New York City to Savannah, Ga., the Silver Meteor and Silver Star from New York City to Miami, the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles, the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles, and the Texas Eagle running from Chicago to San Antonio to L.A.

Editor Yahya Ibrahim’s note at the beginning of the Inspire issue says the development of the derailment ops was “extensively researched” by the terror group for more than a year before releasing the DIY instructions. Ibrahim said the terror group considers it “to be among the most important issues of the magazine.”

Chief AQAP bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri, a 35-year-old Saudi, wrote an extensive article for the magazine issue on targeting transportation in general and giving lone jihadists “the ability to carry out a large scale operation using these types of small resourced operations.”

“The U.S. laid a fifteen-year plan in which it raised the debt, lowered interest rates and reduced military expenditure, which will continue for many years to come. America today is refreshing its efforts to revive its economy,” he wrote. “And we should continue to focus our efforts against it until the world gets rid of this international system led by America.”

Unsolicited Advice for the Trump Transition Team on National Security Intelligence

November 10, 2016

Unsolicited Advice for the Trump Transition Team on National Security Intelligence, PJ Media, Andrew C. McCarthy, November 10, 2016

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It was encouraging Wednesday to hear that President Obama intends to emulate President Bush, who generously provided Obama with a highly informative and smooth transition process.

Running the Executive Branch is a daunting task, so there is no aspect of the transition to a new administration that is unimportant. But obviously, the most crucial focus for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is heading up President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, must be national security.

That transition is going to be more complicated than it should be, but there are things Gov. Christie can do – better to say, people he ought to consult — to make sure his team is getting accurate information.

The Bush National Security Council was very good about putting together briefing books so their successors could hit the ground running. The problem now, however, is the trustworthiness of what is in those books.

As PJ Media has reported, a highly disturbing report by a congressional task force this summer found that the Obama administration had politicized its intelligence product.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), who has been stellar on national security issues and was among the leaders of the task force (comprised of the Intelligence, Armed Services, and Appropriations Committees), put it this way when the report was issued:

After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command’s most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command’s intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq.The result: consumers of those intelligence products were provided a consistently “rosy” view of U.S. operational success against ISIS. That may well have resulted in putting American troops at risk as policymakers relied on this intelligence when formulating policy and allocating resources for the fight.

The intelligence manipulation became a controversy in 2015, when 50 intelligence-community whistleblowers complained that their reports on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda terror networks were being altered.

The manipulation, driven by Obama’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and carried out in the Defense Department by senior Central Command (CENTCOM) officers, aimed to downplay the jihadist threat.

This is a reckless practice I have written about several times over the last eight years (see, e.g., here). The Obama administration has made a concerted effort to miniaturize the terrorist threat in order to project a mirage of policy success.

Intelligence has routinely been distorted — portraying the networks as atomized, largely detached cells that are not unified by any overarching ideology — in an attempt to make them appear smaller and less threatening. Basically, a nuisance to be managed rather than an enemy to be defeated.

Even when the terrorists are on the march, the administration claims they are in retreat. Indeed, less than 24 hours after four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, were killed by al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in the 2012 siege of Benghazi, President Obama stated this in a political fundraising speech:

A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.

Intel manipulation ran rampant after Obama fired Marine General James Mattis, CENTCOM’s commander, in 2013. General Mattis had the irksome habits of demanding clear-eyed assessments of America’s enemies and forcing administration policymakers to confront the potential consequences of their ludicrously optimistic assumptions, particularly regarding Iran’s behavior. Obama officials replaced him with Army General Lloyd Austin.

Meanwhile, it was made clear to the Pentagon that because the president made campaign commitments to end the U.S. mission in Iraq, he did not want to hear information contradictory to his narrative that withdrawing our forces was the right thing to do. After retiring, Army General Anthony Tata confirmed that an ODNI official instructed the Defense Department not to put in writing assessments that portrayed al-Qaeda and ISIS as fortified and threatening.

The result, of course, was that the president was told what wanted to hear.

This eventually led to Obama’s infamous assertion that ISIS was merely a “JV” terrorist team. Naturally, when the JV team rampaging through Iraq and Syria rendered that judgment embarrassing, the White House shifted the blame to General Austin, pushing him out the CENTCOM door.

The administration has done more to sculpt the narrative than quell the enemy. So Gov. Christie and his team will need to regard with skepticism any briefing books Obama’s transition coordinators supply.

Of course, Team Trump already has a tremendous resource to rely on: retired Army General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (and the author, along with PJ Media columnist Michael Ledeen, of The Field of Fight, which pleads for a desperately needed strategy for fighting the global war against jihadists and their allies). Like General Mattis, General Flynn (in 2014) was pushed out of his job because he rejected the politicization of our intelligence product for purposes of low-balling the terrorist threat. He knows his stuff, knows what we are up against, and will be a major asset not only to the transition, but to the Trump administration.

I would also respectfully suggest that Gov. Christie consult with General Mattis and General Jack Keane: smart, experienced former commanders who have given a great deal of thought to, and sound advice to Congress regarding, the current administration’s strategic and intelligence voids.

In understanding global jihadist networks — who the players are, how the organizations collude and compete — Tom Joscelyn, editor of The Long War Journal, is the best expert in the United States, bar none. While his value would be limitless, Tom is especially knowledgeable about the jihadists released from Guantanamo Bay, many of whom have gone back to the jihad.

Yet again, this is a context in which briefings from the Obama administration would be suspect. The president adheres to another narrative driven by foolish campaign promises, namely: the cost of Gitmo as a “recruiting tool” for the enemy outweighs the benefit of detaining committed, capable, anti-American jihadists. To justify both this absurd premise and the release of the terrorists, the administration watered down intelligence that supported holding the terrorists as enemy combatants who posed continuing danger to the United States.

The new administration needs accurate information for purposes of grasping the threat and formulating sound detention policy.

Finally, it is vital to understand “Countering Violent Extremism,” the Obama administration’s strategic guidance — their playbook for military, intelligence, and law-enforcement officials on how to approach and respond to terrorism. CVE is where the dereliction that I have labeled “willful blindness” has devolved into compulsory blindness.

Under CVE guidelines, the fact that Islamic-supremacist ideology spurs the jihadist threat and knits together terrorists and their sponsors is no longer just consciously avoided; taking notice of it is verboten.

The most thoroughgoing critique of this lunacy is Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad. Its author is Stephen Coughlin, a trained military intelligence officer and an attorney who has made a point of learning how Islamic law principles inform the goals and tactics of our enemies. Steve is extraordinarily informed about the administration’s wayward assumptions. If the Trump transition team wants to check the premises on which their work is based, he’s the guy.

Let’s welcome President Obama’s assurances of a seamless transition to the Trump administration. But my best unsolicited advice to Gov. Christie: When it comes to briefing books, don’t believe everything you read.

Trump Castigated for Acknowledging Immigration Threats

July 29, 2016

Trump Castigated for Acknowledging Immigration Threats, Front Page MagazineMichael Cutler, July 29, 2016

boxcar

There have been no shortage of participants of the Democratic Convention who have dismissed the concerns articulated by Donald Trump in his acceptance speech and elsewhere, as painting a fearful and dark image about America today.

When Donald Trump  provided the transcript of his acceptance speech to the media, it was heavily footnoted to verify the claims he made, as the Washington Times reported, “Donald Trump promises ‘the truth, and nothing else,’ releases speech transcript with 282 footnotes.”

The concerns voiced by Mr. Trump were based on reality, a reality that Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, among others, would rather the American people not know.

On a personal note, fifteen years ago I was diagnosed as having aggressive form of prostate cancer.  That diagnosis was dark and frankly, disconcerting.  However, because of that diagnosis, I immediately sought an effective treatment.  I was fortunate because my cancer was successfully treated.

Had I not immediately sought effective treatment I would not be here today.

Donald Trump has accurately diagnosed America’s serious and indeed, potentially fatal ailments beginning with the Damoclean Sword of terrorism that hovering over our heads.  Our safety and wellbeing is also threatened by crime, record levels of drug addiction, poverty, unemployment, a faltering economy, suppressed wages and a shrinking middle class that are not fantasies but are the realities America and Americans face each day.

These concerns certainly paint a dark image, but it is an entirely accurate image and after more than seven years, the current administration bears the responsibility for the situation we are in.

However just as my cancer was treatable, America’s ills are treatable, if and only if our next president and other elected politicians are willing to acknowledge the threats and challenges and then swiftly devise and implement effective strategies to effectively mitigate them.

Donald Trump has properly identified the nexus between failures of the immigration system and the problems we face.  This is not to say that immigrants are the problem but that failures of the immigration system have resulted in the entry of aliens criminals, terrorists and huge numbers of foreign workers who displace American workers.

Furthermore there is a world of difference between immigrants and illegal aliens.

Contrary to the claims of Trump’s critics that he has offered no solutions, he advocated securing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws that make no distinction about race, religion or ethnicity.  They were enacted to protect national security and the lives and livelihoods of Americans.

Trump has called for ending the admission of Syrian refugees and, in fact, any alien who cannot be vetted.  This is sensible given the threats posed by ISIS and other terror organizations.  This is consistent with our laws and precedents.  Indeed, after our embassy was seized in Tehran, President Carter barred the entry of Iranians.

These are practical solutions and do not involve bigotry but commonsense.

The Obama administration implemented the DACA (Deferred Action- Childhood Arrival) program that has provided  hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens with lawful status and employment authorization.  Mr. Obama claimed to have done this because “Congress had failed to act.”

In reality, Congress did act.  It voted against the DREAM Act.  Hence, acted against what Obama wanted.  The DREAM Act would have created a dangerous program that would simply encourage still more illegal immigration, flood the labor pool with still more foreign workers under the auspices of the “DREAM Act” and, while Obama and advocates for the DREAM Act claimed that this was about children, the age cutoff for aliens who would participate in this ill-conceived program was 31.  (They simply had to claim that they entered the United States as teenagers.)

The Labor Department has falsely claimed that our unemployment rate stands at approximately 5% while utterly ignoring the tens of millions of working age Americans who have left the workforce.

Mr. Obama has complained about violence in the inner cities and connects the violence to high poverty rates while ignoring that as his second term as president draws to a close, our borders have never been more porous and that he has provided lawful immigration status to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens enabling them to compete with desperate American workers.  He ignores the great increase of the number of Americans now on food stamps or that the middle class is shrinking.

Obama’s failures to secure our borders have facilitated the smuggling of record quantities of heroin into the United States.  There is a clear nexus between violent crime, gangs and drug addiction and drug trafficking.

Obama has released record numbers of what he deemed “non-violent” federal drug offenders from prison and more than 100,000 criminal aliens from custody.  Generally federally prosecuted drug offenses involve large quantities of drugs and almost invariably when individuals engage in large-scale drug crimes they are armed- often heavily armed.

The drug trade is a violent trade where extreme violence is routinely used to make certain that none of those who work for the drug gangs steal drugs or money or cooperate with law enforcement.  Extreme violence is also a tactic of the drug gangs to control turf.

It must also be noted that many of the key players in drug gangs are aliens who were sent to the United States by the leaders of Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO’s) who employ them to maintain iron-fisted control over their operations in the United States.  Leaders of DTO’s have generally known the people they send to the United States for many years and also know where their family members live back in their home countries.  If an employee of a DTO betrays his/her employer, their family members will pay the price with their lives.

Although Obama and his supporters frequently claim that his administration has deported more illegal aliens than any previous administration, their statistics are bogus.  They claim that aliens who are denied entry at ports of entry or aliens simply turned around at the border by the Border Patrol were deported (removed).  This is the equivalent of claiming that a police officer who writes a parking ticket has made an arrest.

On July 24, 2016 Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, participated in a joint interview by Scott Pelley, correspondent for CBS News’ program, 60 Minutes.  That interview has been posted under the title, “The Democratic Ticket: Clinton and Kaine.”

During that interview, when asked about her goals Clinton said, in part,

“I want an economy that creates more jobs. And that’s a lot of jobs. I want an economy that gets back to raising incomes for everybody. Most Americans haven’t had a raise. I want an economy that’s going to help lift millions of people out of poverty. Because, given the great recession, we have fallen back in the wrong direction.”

During his acceptance speech as Vice-Presidential candidate at the DNC Tim Kaine often spoke in Spanish and repeatedly invoked the three word phrase, “Si se puede” which means “Yes, we can.”  This phrase is associated with the activist movement to provide unknown millions of illegal aliens with a pathway to citizenship and is the precise opposite of Trump’s position.

Both Clinton and Kaine have promised to legalize a population of tens of millions of illegal aliens, giving them an equal standing in the already overflowing labor pool of unemployed Americans.  On July 25, 2016 The Washington Times reported, “Tim Kaine promises bill to legalize illegal immigrants in ‘first 100 days’.”

Inasmuch as labor is a commodity, flooding the labor pool with millions of authorized workers will drive down wages and displace still more American and lawful immigrant workers.

It is absolutely impossible to provide lawful status to millions of illegal aliens and then magically put unemployed Americans to work and increase the wages of the workers.  Additionally, each month the United States admits a greater number of authorized foreign workers than the number of new jobs that is created.

It has been said that you don’t bring sand to the beach.

When you find a hole in the bottom of the boat, it would be insane to believe that drilling more holes in the bottom of that boat would enable the water to escape.  The rational and obvious approach would be to seal that hole.

America does not have a shortage of workers, it has a shortage of jobs.  Flooding America with still more foreign workers is the equivalent of drilling more holes in the bottom of that boat.

Additionally, there would be no way to conduct interviews interviews or field investigations of these millions of illegal aliens whose true identities or dates of entry could not be determined and who entered the United States surreptitiously, evading the inspections process that is supposed to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence would undermine national security, public safety, public health and the lives and livelihoods of Americans.

This violates commonsense and the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and would do irreparably undermine national security and public safety as would Hillary Clinton’s stated plans to greatly increase the number of Syrian Refugees who are admitted into the United States when the Director of the FBI and other high-ranking Obama administration officials have unequivocally testified before Congress that these refugees cannot be vetted.

Although never discussed, it is vital to note that if millions of illegal aliens were granted lawful status they would immediately be legally eligible to bring all of their spouses and minor children to the United States.  This would flood our nation’s schools with millions of additional children, most of whom cannot read, write or speak English.  Several years ago the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report that noted that it costs 20% to 40% more to teach a child who lacks English language proficiency.  Imagine the impact this would have on American children- especially those who attend schools that are already struggling to provide their students with a good education.

As the title of one of my recent articles noted, “‘It’s the Immigration Problem, Stupid’ – Secure borders are synonymous with safety and that’s what Americans want in 2016.”

Terrorism in The Therapeutic Age

July 21, 2016

Terrorism in The Therapeutic Age, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, July 21, 2016

therapy

We know what is going to follow the latest terrorist murder in Nice. Shrines to the dead will instantly spring up. Conclaves of citizens will gather at sorrowful demonstrations filled with ecumenical clichés. The media will profile selected victims, wringing every ounce of pathos out of their tragedy. Twitter will be inundated with sentimental bromides and ephemeral hashtags, and politicians will give solemn and empty speeches laced with even emptier threats.

Welcome to terror in a therapeutic age.

What we will not read are passionate demands from most citizens of Western governments that mind-concentrating force be unleashed on those responsible for the latest slaughter of the innocents. Nor will we hear stirring speeches from our political leaders that forcefully make the moral case for war against the murderers and their enablers.

Obsessing over feelings and emotions is what many moderns reflexively substitute for meaningful action. Righteous anger and burning revenge of the sort that fired up Americans after the Pearl Harbor attacks are too “mean” and “hurtful,” and require a serious commitment and exorbitant risk. Displaying emotion is cheap and gratifying and offends no one. Indeed, such displays demonstrate the purveyors’ superior “we are the world” sensibilities and sensitivity. It is “conspicuous compassion,” as Alan Bloom called it, as much a status symbol as Veblen’s conspicuous consumption. It’s how people show themselves to be civilized and advanced, too sophisticated for retrograde emotions like avenging anger. That’s so Old Testament.

In the therapeutic world, conflict is to be resolved by peace, love, and understanding. Or as our Attorney General said after the Orlando jihadist massacre, “Our common humanity transcends our differences, and our most effective response to terror is compassion, it’s unity and it’s love.” Thus the institutional instruments for resolving our differences with the jihadists are diplomatic engagement, foreign aid, economic development, negotiated agreements, and careful nurturing of our enemies’ self-esteem. We must flatter them, stroke their egos, attend to their grievances, censor any unpleasant facts about their religion. Pretend, as Obama does, that Islam, the “religion of peace” and has absolutely nothing to do with Muslim terrorism, or what he prefers to call “violent extremists.” Assert, like Hillary, “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

The problem is, we live in a world of people with radically different ideas about the goods they should pursue, and who don’t give a damn about “peace, love, understanding,” or the opinions of Western infidels about their religion. Whatever their potential is for possessing and recognizing a “common humanity,” in practice this possibility remains mostly unexpressed in their traditional religious tenets. Rather, Muslim jihadists––and hundreds of millions of ordinary Muslims–– limit their compassion, sympathy, and respect for humanity to fellow Muslims, and deny them to the infidel or heretic. That’s why zakat, the personal obligation for Muslims to make charitable contributions, for the most part restricts that charity to other Muslims.

The only “common humanity” pious Muslims recognize is the divine obligation for all humans to become Muslim. Their highest goods are not democracy, prosperity, leisure, and tolerance, but obedience to Allah and his laws. And millions of them view violence in the name of Allah as the divinely justified instrument for creating a world in which “all men say there is no god but Allah.”

Appeals to a “common humanity,” then, are useless as appeasing flattery for dealing with a man who, willing to die and kill in the name of Allah, drives a truck over men, women, and children, killing, mangling, and dismembering them. Flattery only confirms the jihadist’s belief that the infidel West is populated by godless hedonists eager only to enjoy life for one more day, and so are willing to sacrifice their freedom and rights for the short-term pleasures of la dolce vita. They are unworthy of compassion, for they no longer know what is worth dying and killing for. They have forgotten what Lincoln called the “awful arithmetic,” the tragic reality that some people must die today so that more people don’t die later––the gruesome calculus that the Allies followed to defeat fascism, Japanese imperialism, and Nazism.

Over forty years ago, the great Soviet dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in his Nobel lecture identified this chronic weakness that permeates the West:

The spirit of Munich has by no means retreated into the past; it was not a brief episode. I even venture to say that the spirit of Munich is dominant in the twentieth century. The intimidated civilized world has found nothing to oppose the onslaught of a suddenly resurgent fang-baring barbarism, except concessions and smiles. The spirit of Munich is a disease of the will of prosperous people; it is the daily state of those who have given themselves over to a craving for prosperity in every way, to material well-being as the chief goal of life on earth. Such people––and there are many of them in the world today––choose passivity and retreat, anything if only life to which they are accustomed might go on, anything so as not to have to cross over to rough terrain today, because tomorrow, see, everything will be all right. But it never will! The reckoning for cowardice will only be more cruel. Courage and the power to overcome will be ours only when we dare to make sacrifices.

These comments about the Soviet Union and the West are just as true today about the “fang-baring barbarism” of Islamic jihad. The surreal denial of the nature of the enemy and his religious motivations; the symbolic military gestures that serve public relations and political advantage rather than a strategy for defeating the enemy; the unwillingness to accept the eternal tragic realities of war and instead create suicidal rules of engagement vetted by pettifogging lawyers; and the refusal of citizens to pay the price necessary for destroying the enemy––all reflect the disease that Solzhenitsyn identified.

The problem is one of morale, not ability. We can destroy ISIS. Even the fictional Peter Quinn, from the series Homeland, knows how: put 200,000 troops in a country indefinitely or “bomb Raqqa into a parking lot.” In the real world, Asia Times columnist “Spengler” agrees. Wage total war both against the enemy abroad and against fellow travelers and sympathizers at home.

But don’t hold your breath. The political will for such action does not exist among a significant number of Americans. They would rather feel than act. Meanwhile, they indulge lachrymose sentiment, a luxury of the pampered rich. They call for “diplomacy” and “engagement,” the tried and true camouflage for the fear to act. They prefer to spend money on more and more government provided “butter” rather than on guns, as they move on to the next episode of televised tragedy in between bouts of Pokémon Go.

Meanwhile, the reckoning for our cowardice grows ever closer and ever crueler.

GOP platform gets Trump-ified

July 13, 2016

GOP platform gets Trump-ified, The Hill, Jonathan Easley, July 13, 2016

CLEVELAND — Donald Trump is putting his stamp on the official policy platform of the Republican Party.

Now, the party has fully embraced one of Trump’s most controversial proposals, explicitly calling for a wall that must cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

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Republican Platform Committee members on Tuesday voted to include language calling for the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

And in a nod their presumptive presidential nominee’s support for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, they also endorsed language that would impose “special scrutiny” of foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S. from “regions associated with Islamic terrorism.”

Both provisions are departures from the GOP platform of 2012, when Republicans nominated Mitt Romney for president.

That party platform then called for completing “double-layered fencing” on the border, which was ordered by Congress in 2006 but never completed. It was silent on any special scrutiny of Muslims or other people from countries associated with Islamic extremism.

The language on a border wall is a significant shift away from the “autopsy” report written by the Republican National Committee after Romney’s defeat. That report emphasized the need for the party to appeal to Hispanic voters to win back the White House.

Platform Committee members described the endorsement of Trump’s immigration proposals as evidence the party is fully embracing him on the issues that have energized his supporters and infuriated his critics.

“Back on June 16 of 2015, Donald Trump proposed this, and it resonated with the people of America,” said Stephen Stepanek, a committee member and delegate from New Hampshire who endorsed Trump last month.

“So not only is the Platform Committee recognizing the position Donald Trump has held throughout the primary process, it has been endorsed by the American people, who have overwhelmingly supported his positions and overwhelmingly made him the presumptive nominee.”

Trump and his supporters have largely kept a low profile as the committee crafts the policy platform, which delegates will consider at the Republican National Convention next week.

But they have made their marks on issues like immigration and trade that have been the cornerstones of Trump’s campaign.

The only mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — the international trade deal crafted by the Obama administration that Trump vehemently opposes — was stricken from an early draft of the platform.

The language on the border wall passed unanimously through a subcommittee and did not attract any opposition or amendments at the full committee hearing.

It passed easily on Tuesday without any additional debate.

The only change to the immigration plank came when Trump supporter Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of State who helped write part of Trump’s immigration plan, interjected to ensure the platform would refer to “illegal aliens” rather than “illegal immigrants.”

Getting the wall built into the platform is a big win for the Trump campaign as it seeks normalize the proposals that some party leaders have been loath to embrace.

“The Romney campaign was very heavy handed about influencing the platform,” said Oregon delegate Russ Walker, who was on the Platform Committee in 2012 and this year.

“It’s far less that way this time from the Trump campaign. What’s happened is the current Platform Committee is in sync with Trump and using language in the platform to say the things they’ve wanted to say for some time.”

Trump’s promise to build a wall to keep people from illegally crossing into the U.S. has been one of the primary drivers of his insurgent campaign and a flashpoint for controversy.

And the committee has reworded its policy document to match the presumptive nominee’s campaign promises.

The 2012 platform said the double-layer fencing “must finally be built.”

The working draft of this year’s platform called for “construction of a physical barrier,” but Trump supporters saw that language as being open to weaker interpretations.

Now, the party has fully embraced one of Trump’s most controversial proposals, explicitly calling for a wall that must cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

Kelly Armstrong, a Platform Committee member and delegate from North Dakota, told The Hill, “I support the presumptive nominee, and so putting language in there to support his proposals is a good idea.”

“At the end of the day, a strong immigration policy is something Republicans will support, and we’ll support our nominee’s positions on that.”

But some Republican critics of the plan say it’s impossible to build a border wall on the rough terrain along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) told The Hill in an interview on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that adopting the wall into the party’s platform doesn’t make it any more likely to happen.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Simpson said. “You still have to appropriate money for it. Mexico’s not going to pay for it. There are places where a wall is appropriate, but you’re not going to build a wall down the whole 2,300 miles on the border.”

The platform does not address Trump’s promise that Mexico will pay for the wall.

And some Republicans have warned that the proposal will further turn away Hispanic voters.

Following the 2012 elections, the Republican National Committee issued an assessment meant to keep Republicans from losing the White House race again.

The RNC report warned that minorities “wrongly think Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.”

Now some fear Trump’s vow to build the wall, as well as his saying that most Mexican immigrants bring crime over the border, has reversed any progress the party has made.

“I’ve found you can’t look at the Hispanic voters monolithically — there are plenty of folks who came here legally who respect that process and do not appreciate people who ignore that process,” said Giovanni Cicione, a Rhode Island delegate on the Platform Committee. “That being said, those same people probably have relatives here illegally, so it becomes a difficult question.”

But most Republicans on the Platform Committee dismissed those worries.

“I’m not concerned about that,” said Darcie Johnston, a Platform Committee member from Vermont. “That’s more of a press narrative.”

For the most part, delegates on the panel viewed their votes as a reflection of proposals that have widespread support among grassroots conservatives.

They say they believe that bringing the platform in line with Trump on immigration will unite the party and capitalize on enthusiasm from the base.

“By the time we leave the Platform Committee meeting and by the time Republican delegates leave Cleveland, we’ll go home united and ready to support Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a delegate on the committee.

“You’re going to see a very united Republican Party,” she continued. “So many [delegates] have already come around. … A number of individuals are no longer talking about how they wish their candidate had won. They’re talking about what can we do to help Donald Trump.”

The EU-Progressive Paradigm is Falling Apart

June 27, 2016

The EU-Progressive Paradigm is Falling Apart, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, June 27, 2016

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In short, millions of ordinary people in America, England, France, and many other Western nations know that the paradigm of transnational hegemony and technocratic rule created not a utopia, but an arrogant privileged class that believes it is superior and thus entitled to boss other people around and lecture them about backward superstitions and bigotry. And it looks like these average citizens have had enough.

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Long-developing cracks in the Western political establishment’s century-old paradigm suddenly widened this year. In the US Donald Trump, a reality television star and real estate developer, improbably became the Republican Party’s nominee for president. Bernie Sanders, a socialist and long-time Senate crank, challenged the Democrats’ pre-anointed nominee Hillary Clinton, who prevailed only by dint of money and un-democratic “super-delegates.” Meanwhile in Europe, the UK voted to leave the European Union, perhaps opening the flood-gates to more defections.

These three events share a common theme: populist and patriotic passions roused by arrogant elites have fueled a rejection of Western establishments and their un-democratic, autocratic, corrupt paradigm.

That political model can be simply defined as technocratic and transnational. Starting in the 19th century, the success of science and the shrinking of the world through technology and trade created the illusion that human nature, society, and politics could be similarly understood, managed, and improved by those trained and practiced in the new “human sciences.” This new “knowledge” said people are the same everywhere, and so all humans want the same things: peace with their neighbors, prosperity, and freedom. The absence of these boons, not a permanently flawed human nature, explains the history of war and conflict. National identities, along with religion and tradition, are impediments to institutionalizing this “harmony of interests.” International organizations and covenants can be created to enforce this harmony, shepherd the people towards the transnational utopia, and leave behind the misery and wars sparked by religious, ethnic, and nationalist passions.

Technocracy, however, is by definition anti-democratic. So how can the foundational belief of Western governments – the sovereignty of free people and their right to be ruled by their own consent–– coexist with an administrative state staffed by “experts” and armed with the coercive power of the state? Quite simply, it can’t. As for the transnational ideal of a “harmony of interests,” it was repudiated by the carnage of World War I, when the Entente and Central Powers sent their young to die under the flags of their nations on behalf of their particular national interests.  Yet the West still codified that transnational ideal in the League of Nations, even as it enshrined the contrary ideal of national self-determination, the right of people to rule themselves free of imperial or colonial overlords.

This gruesome war demonstrated that people are still defined by a particular language, culture, mores, folkways, religions, and landscapes, and that nations have interests that necessarily conflict with those of other nations. That’s why the League failed miserably to stop the aggression of its member states Japan, Italy, and Germany, and could not prevent an apocalyptic second world war that took at least 50 million lives. Yet the Western elites continued to pursue the transnational dream of technocratic rule after World War II, creating the UN as yet another attempt to trump the reality of national differences with some imagined harmony of interests. In reality, the UN has been an instrument used by states to pursue those interests at the expense of other nations.

Still not learning their lesson, the transnationalists created yet another institution that would subordinate the nations of Europe to its control, on the debatable assumption that the carnage of two world wars was wrought by national particularism. They confused genuine patriotism and love of one’s own way of living, with the grotesque political religions of fascism and Nazism, both as much avatars of illiberal tribalism as nationalism grown toxic. Thus was born the supranational EU, which began modestly in 1958 with the European Economic Community, and then relentlessly expanded over the years into today’s intrusive, unaccountable bureaucracy of anonymous technocrats that has concentrated power in Brussels at the expense of national sovereignty.

Similarly, in the US the progressives of the early 20th century began transforming the American Republic based on similar assumptions. They believe that economic, social, and technological progress rendered the Constitution––particularly its separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalist protections of the sovereignty of the states––an anachronism. “The age of enlightened administration had come,” F.D.R. proclaimed, and he set about creating the federal bureaus and agencies that have over the years expanded in scope and power, and increasingly encroached on the rights and autonomy of the states, civil society, and individuals.

But the Eurocrats and progressives forgot one of the most ancient beliefs of the West, and a fundamental assumption behind the structure of the Constitution––that a flawed human nature, vulnerable to corruption by power, is constant across time and space. As Benjamin Franklin wrote during the Constitutional convention, “There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice: the love of power and the love of money,” which when combined have “the most violent of effects.” As much as the democratic mob, any elite, whether of birth, wealth, or education, is subject to power’s corruption and abuse. That’s why our Constitution checked and balanced power: to limit the scope of any part of the government, and thus safeguard the freedom of all citizens no matter their wealth, birth, or education.

In contrast, the conceit of progressives and EU functionaries is that they are somehow immune to the seductions of power. They think their presumed superior knowledge and powers of reason make them more capable and trustworthy than the fickle, ignorant masses and the elected officials accountable to them. History, however, shows that technocrats are as vulnerable to the corruption of power as elites of birth or wealth, and that power is, as the Founders were fond of saying, “of an encroaching nature” and must “ever to be watched and checked.” The expansion of the EU’s tyrannical regulatory and lawmaking power at the expense of national sovereignty is the proof of this ancient wisdom. So too are America’s bloated federal executive agencies aggrandizing and abusing their powers at the expense of the people and the states.

Thus the dominant paradigm that has long organized politics and social life in the West is now under assault, for history has presented this model with challenges it has failed to meet. The resurgence of Islamic jihadism and terror has been met with sermons on Islamophobia and therapeutic multiculturalism. A newly assertive Russia has pursued its national interest with state violence, only to be scolded by our Secretary of State for “behaving in a 19th century fashion.” The financial crisis of 2008 was caused in part by government political and regulatory interference in the market, the same policies that have kept economic growth sluggish for over seven years. Feckless immigration policies have been worsened by a failure to monitor those who get in, and to assimilate those that do. And most important, the redistributionist entitlement regime has weakened the citizens’ character, fostered selfish hedonism, and is on track to bankrupt this country and many in Europe. All these crises have in the main been the offspring of progressives and Eurocrats, whose only solution is to cling to the policies that empower and enrich them, but degrade their own cultures and endanger their own peoples.

Millions of citizens both in the US and in Europe have been watching these developments and living with the baleful consequences that the hypocritical, smug progressive and EU elites seldom encounter in their daily lives. This long-festering anger and resentment of those who smear them as stupid racists, neurotic xenophobes, and fearful “haters,” has now burst to the surface of political life. People can see that the “we are the world,” “global village” cosmopolitanism enriches and empowers the political, cultural, and business elites, but passes on to the people the risks of careless and often deadly immigration policies, and the economic dislocations of a globalized economy. They see that coastal fat cats, who can afford the higher taxes and the costs of environmental regulations, care nothing for the flyover-country working and middle classes pinched by higher electric and gasoline bills. People who live in tony enclaves of white professionals and hipsters support unfettered immigration, while others have to live with the crime and disorder that comes from thrusting into their midst people from very different cultures and mores, including some who have a divine sanction to kill the same people who have welcomed them in.

In short, millions of ordinary people in America, England, France, and many other Western nations know that the paradigm of transnational hegemony and technocratic rule created not a utopia, but an arrogant privileged class that believes it is superior and thus entitled to boss other people around and lecture them about backward superstitions and bigotry. And it looks like these average citizens have had enough.

England has spoken in favor of popular sovereignty and self-government. Soon it will be America’s turn. Our British cousins made the right choice. Let’s hope we do too.

Do Loretta Lynch’s Ties with ‘Muslim Advocates’ Org Explain Her Whitewash of Orlando?

June 23, 2016

Do Loretta Lynch’s Ties with ‘Muslim Advocates’ Org Explain Her Whitewash of Orlando? PJ MediaJ. Christian Adams, June 22, 2016

(The entire “homeland security” operation, a.k.a. “Countering Violent Extremism,” is reliant on CAIR and related groups. — DM)

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Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch, have worked with an organization dedicated to interfering with law enforcement efforts to monitor activities at the most radical mosques.

Lynch and DOJ Civil Rights Division head Vanita Gupta have appeared at gala events for an organization called Muslim Advocates. The George Soros-funded charity has badgered the New York City Police Department away from monitoring the most radical mosques in the city.

The organization is also responsible for rewriting training materials for federal law enforcement to decouple the role of radical Islam from terrorist acts. An inter-agency working group comprised of multiple federal law enforcement agencies in 2014 adopted this whitewash urged by Muslim Advocates.

The DOJ’s short-lived effort to airbrush Islam out of the 911 tapes from Orlando shows you how far they will go to twist the truth about what is causing these attacks. I appeared on Fox and Friends today to discuss the organization and the latest. (Video here).

Civil Rights Division head Gupta appeared at the sold-out annual gala event for Muslim Advocates in Millbrae, California. Muslim Advocates lobbies the administration heavily to oppose any link between terrorist acts and radical Islam, and opposes monitoring of radical mosques. Gupta told the crowd:

To anyone who feels afraid, targeted, or discriminated against because of which religion you practice or where you worship, I want to say this — we see you. We hear you. And we stand with you. If you ever feel that somehow you don’t belong, or don’t fit in, here in America, let me reassure you  you belong.

Muslim Advocates also conducts recruitment and training for lawyers designed to help FBI terrorist targets and interviewees navigate the interviews. Their annual report states:

Throughout the year we grew our internal volunteer referral list for FBI interviews. Today, the list is over 130 lawyers nationwide who are ready and able to assist community members contacted by the FBI.

The purported non-partisan tax exempt 501(c)(3) charity is conducting a campaign against corporations like Coca-Cola to hector them into not sponsoring the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Muslim Advocates gave Vanita Gupta their Thurgood Marshall Award “for her commitment to criminal justice reform and to holding perpetrators of anti-Muslim hate accountable” at the California gala.

Attorney General Eric Holder also appeared at a Muslim Advocates gala event on December 10, 2010.