05/20/15

Hillary Clinton’s Hypocritical and Totalitarian War on Free Speech

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has suggested that a key litmus test in evaluating prospective Supreme Court appointees would be their willingness to challenge “the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

Presumably, a suitable judge would indicate a desire to overturn the Citizens United decision that struck down a ban on political expenditures by corporations and unions ruled to violate the First Amendment protection of free speech – a case coincidentally centered on Citizen United’s attempt to advertise for and air a film critical of none other than Clinton.


Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters,
Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

In light of recent allegations swirling around the presidential favorite, Clinton’s support of such a position is highly ironic.

For while the former secretary of State may oppose the rights of the wealthy to spend money on politics, she seems to have no such concern with the wealthy spending money on the Clinton Foundation and her husband Bill – all while Hillary served in the Obama administration.

Would Clinton seek a Supreme Court justice who would protect the rights of the likes of Carlos Slim and James Murdoch to contribute to the favored cause of a politician and shower the politician’s spouse with millions for speaking engagements?

If so, this apparent hypocrisy can be read in one of two ways:

  1. Clinton believes that money does not have a corrupting influence so long as it is funneled through “indirect” channels
  2. Clinton believes that the wealthy and powerful ought to bypass funding elections and simply pay politicians outright.

Appearances of impropriety aside, there are a few substantive questions around political speech that Clinton should be required to address.

Why does Clinton believe that the government has a compelling interest in stifling the political speech of any American, rich or poor?

How does Clinton square her supposed advocacy of human rights with her belief in inhibiting the right to free speech — which facilitates the robust and vigorous debate essential to a liberal society?

More generally, given a system in which millions of dollars are spent on losing causes each election cycle on both the left and right, what have Americans to fear about spending so long as laws are enforced equally and impartially regarding “pay-to-play” schemes and other politically corrupt activity?

Spending is a symptom of our system, and an all-intrusive government its proximate cause.

This is well known to Clinton, who seeks to raise a record $2.5 billion for her own campaign.

She is aware that people spend money on politics because there is the perception that there is something to be bought.

This perception becomes a reality when government creeps into every aspect of our lives, creating an unfortunate two-way street: Individuals and businesses spend money in order to maintain competitive advantages. Politicians in effect extort individuals and businesses by threatening to take away said competitive advantages, or threatening to mitigate them.

If we want money out of politics, the answer is not to stifle speech, but to shrink government.

***

While Hillary Clinton’s aversion to political speech is well-documented, less scrutinized is her support of limitations on speech of an entirely different kind: Religious speech.

During her time as secretary of State, Clinton championed the Organization of Islamic Conference-backed United Nations Human Rights Commission Resolution 16/18, which calls for “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”

Retired Maj. Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon’s leading adviser on Islamic law as it relates to national security, makes a compelling case in his book “Catastrophic Failure” that the resolution is actually a Shariah-based Trojan Horse meant to stifle all criticism of Islam.

Coughlin writes that the Islamic Conference, through the resolution, seeks to criminalize incitement to violence by imposing a “legal standard designed to facilitate the “shut up before I hit you again” standard associated with the battered wife syndrome.”

He convincingly argues that the Islamic Conference desires that…

the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and all other non-Muslim countries pass laws criminalizing Islamophobia. This is a direct extraterritorial demand that non-Muslim jurisdictions submit to Islamic law and implement shariah-based punishment over time. In other words, the OIC is set on making it an enforceable crime for non-Muslim people anywhere in the world—including the United States—to say anything about Islam that Islam does not permit.

For believers in the sanctity of the First Amendment, Clinton’s support of this policy as secretary of State should be disqualifying.

This is made crystal clear when we consider that Clinton has shown her support for the resolution in practice.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, then-Secretary of State Clinton and President Barack Obama felt compelled to film an address for the Muslim world. In the video, Clinton and Obama disavowed any link between the U.S. government and the “Innocence of Muslims” movie that critically depicted Muhammad, which the Obama administration infamously argued prompted the jihadist attack.


Hillary Clinton delivers a message to the Arab world disavowing any ties between the U.S. government
and the “Innocence of Muslims” video following the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.
(Image Source: YouTube screengrab)

That address we may chalk up to political correctness.

But a related fact we cannot.

In spite of Judicial Watch’s bombshell report indicating that the Obama administration knew about the Benghazi attack 10 days in advance – and knew that it had nothing to do with “Innocence of Muslims” — as revealed in an October 2012 interview with Glenn Beck, Charles Woods, father of slain Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, told Beck that Clinton had personally vowed to “make sure that the person who made that film [“Innocence of Muslims”] is arrested and prosecuted.”

The “Innocence of Muslims” filmmaker and former bank fraudster Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was later arrested and charged with violating the terms of his probation, spending one year in prison.

Consequently, the U.S. government — as promised by Clinton — in effect enforced Shariah compliance concerning blasphemy consistent with the Islamic Conference-backed resolution, and did so knowing that the film had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack.

Of course, even if a jihadist declared explicitly that he killed Americans because of a film, or a Muhammad cartoon or a burned Koran, it is the jihadist and the jihadist alone responsible for such actions. This point is apparently lost on the U.N.’s policy advocates, who in their victomology fail to realize that they are exhibiting the soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to Muslims.

Hillary Clinton has shown herself to be an ardent opponent of free speech, notably with respect to politics and religion.

Her positions are anathema to an America founded on the basis of protecting political and religious dissent, which requires free expression.

Absent such protections, an America under Clinton will look increasingly like the totalitarian Islamic world that she seeks to protect, rather than the Liberal Judeo-Christian America with which we have been so blessed.

Feature Image: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

05/18/15

Did Hillary Clinton support UN policy that would have criminalized Pamela Geller’s ‘Draw Muhammad’ contest?

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

Presumed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was recently asked about the “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, TX that was attacked by two jihadists, and what Mr. Bush thought of event organizer and ardent counterjihadist Pamela Geller.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was not, but a new book gives insight into how she might think about the issue given her support as Secretary of State of a policy put forth by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the UN that comes into direct conflict with the First Amendment.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), talks with Laurent Fabius (R), Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, before a United Nations Security Council meeting on peace and security in Middle East on September 26, 2012 in New York City. The 67th annual event gathers more than 100 heads of state and government for high level meetings on nuclear safety, regional conflicts, health and nutrition and environment issues.Credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 26: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), talks with Laurent Fabius (R), Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, before a United Nations Security Council meeting on peace and security in Middle East on September 26, 2012 in New York City. (Credit: Getty Images)

As Maj. Stephen Coughlin (Ret.) writes in his “Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad,” which we discussed at length here, the OIC put forth a “Ten-Year Programme of Action to Meet Challenges Facing the Muslim Ummah in the 21st Century” approved in December 2005, one section of which dealt with “Combatting Islamophobia.”

In this area, the goal of the OIC — which some argue serves as something of a caliphate representing 56 Islamic states and the Palestinian Authority — specifically was to:

Emphasize the responsibility of the international community, including all governments, to ensure respect for all religions and combat their defamation.

Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia and to call upon all states to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishment. [Emphasis Coughlin’s]

This goal was codified in UN Human Rights Commission (HRC) Resolution 16/18. The resolution entails

Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief…

According to Coughlin — who in addition to being a leading advisor to the Pentagon on Islamic law is a practicing lawyer specializing in international jurisprudence — key to HRC Resolution 16/18 in the eyes of the OIC is the notion of criminalizing “incitement to violence,” as a means of “deterrent punishment.” The OIC desires that:

the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and all other non-Muslim countries pass laws criminalizing Islamophobia. This is a direct extraterritorial demand that non-Muslim jurisdictions submit to Islamic law and implement shariah-based punishment over time. In other words, the OIC is set on making it an enforceable crime for non-Muslim people anywhere in the world—including the United States—to say anything about Islam that Islam does not permit.

The crux of Coughlin’s argument is the language contained in an interlocking web of documents including the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

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Three particular portions of the ICCPR are critical:

  • Article 18: (1) Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching. (2) No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice. (3) Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. (4) The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
  • Article 19(2/3): (2) Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. (3) The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
  • Article 20(2): Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Coughlin notes that the UN’s “Rabat Plan of Action on the Prohibition of Advocacy of National, Racial or Religious Hatred that Constitutes Incitement to Discrimination, Hostility or Violence: Conclusions and Recommendations Emanating from the Four Regional Expert Workshops Organised [sic] by OHCHR, in 2011, and adopted by experts in Rabat, Morocco on 5 October 2012” incorporates Article 20(2) explicitly by way of a footnote on the very title of the plan of action itself.

In other words, the UN Human Rights Council defines incitement according to ICCPR standards.

The action plan further states that HRC Resolution 16/18 “requires implementation and constant follow-up by States at the national level, including through the “Rabat Plan of Action” which contributes to its fulfilment [sic].”

The plan therefore would appear to serve the ends sought by the OIC in its “Ten-Year Programme of Action.”

Perhaps not surprisingly then, Coughlin reveals that during a 2012 interview, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu argued that the strictures of the ICCPR could be applied via HRC Resolution 16/18:

At this moment we have the Resolution 16/18 which was issued last year at the UN which forms a legal groundwork for criminalizing such actions that could lead to violence … there is in the International Agreement for Civil and Political Rights (Year 1966 Paragraph 18), a provision that would allow us to put limits on the misuse of the freedom of speech including misuse of freedom of press, freedom of thought, the misuse of these freedoms towards others, in a sense that it would encourage to violence and to hatred based on religious belief. [Bold emphasis Coughlin’s, italics ours]

But while the UN in general and OIC in particular make clear their intent to apply the ICCPR as a means of criminalizing acts of “incitement” in context of Islamophobia, the parallelism of ICCPR Articles 19 and 20 to the OIC’s Cairo Declaration is perhaps most telling.

Article 22 of the Cairo Declaration — which defines human rights according to Shariah law — reads:

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah. (1) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah. … (c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith. (d) It is not permitted to excite nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form or racial discrimination.

Coughlin argues that this language is fully consistent with the ICCPR, again leading to the repurposing of the word “incitement” as a means to enforce Shariah compliance. He states:

It is in this context that the OIC’s “test of consequences” narrative is used to turn the meaning of incitement in Article 20 Section 2 [of the ICCPR] on its head by converting it to a legal standard designed to facilitate the “shut up before I hit you again” standard associated with the battered wife syndrome. The OIC’s Fourth Observatory Report on Islamophobia [link ours], released in June 2011, calls for:

d. Ensuring swift and effective implementation of the new approach signified by the consensual adoption of HRC Resolution 16/18, entitled “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief,” by, inter alia, removing the gaps in implementation and interpretation of international legal instruments and criminalizing acts of incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds with a view to curbing the double standards and racial profiling that continue to feed religious strife detrimental to peace, security and stability.

e. Constructively engaging to bridge divergent views on the limits to the right to freedom of opinion and expression, in a structured multilateral framework, and in the light of events like the burning of Quran geared towards filling the ‘interpretation void’ with regard to the interface between articles 19 (3) and 20 of the ICCPR based on emerging approaches like applying the ‘test of consequences.’ [Emphasis Coughlin’s]

Under the OIC’s redefinition of incitement, the “test of consequences” allows a third party to use an utterance as a provocation to violence, which then becomes sanctioned precisely because the third party acted out violently. Moreover, what criminalizes the utterance is the third party’s decision to respond violently. The “test of consequences” institutionalizes the calculated suppression of protected speech by naked use of force. This is institutionalized terrorism comfortably nested in facially neutral language.

What does a UN HRC resolution and the OIC’s interpretation of said resolution have to do with Hillary Clinton?

On July 15, 2011, then-Secretary of State Clinton offered America’s backing to OIC Secretary General İhsanoğlu to garner support for the implementation and ratification of HRC Resolution 16/18. Secretary Clinton stated:

I want to applaud the Organization of Islamic Conference and the European Union for helping pass Resolution 16/18 at the Human Rights Council. I was complimenting the Secretary General on the OIC team in Geneva. I had a great team there as well. So many of you were part of that effort. And together we have begun to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression, and we are pursuing a new approach based on concrete steps to fight intolerance wherever it occurs. Under this resolution, the international community is taking a strong stand for freedom of expression and worship, and against discrimination and violence based upon religion or belief. [Emphasis Coughlin’s]

Clinton continued:

The resolution calls upon states to protect freedom of religion, to counter offensive expression through education, interfaith dialogue, and public debate, and to prohibit discrimination, profiling, and hate crimes, but not to criminalize speech unless there is an incitement to imminent violence. We will be looking to all countries to hold themselves accountable and to join us in reporting to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights on their progress in taking these steps.

America apparently would be subject to this resolution, as Clinton noted that she had asked:

Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook, to spearhead our implementation efforts. And to build on the momentum from today’s meeting, later this year the United States intends to invite relevant experts from around the world to the first of what we hope will be a series of meetings to discuss best practices, exchange ideas, and keep us moving forward beyond the polarizing debates of the past; to build those muscles of respect and empathy and tolerance that the secretary general referenced. It is essential that we advance this new consensus and strengthen it, both at the United Nations and beyond, in order to avoid a return to the old patterns of division.

To be fair to Secretary of State Clinton, Coughlin asserts that “it is not clear that the Secretary knows OIC concepts of tolerance and human rights are based on shariah.”

But, Coughlin continues, “she nonetheless committed to the underlying logic of Resolution 16/18.”

Moreover, Coughlin believes that Clinton tacitly recognizes the conflict between the policy she supported at the UN and Constitutionally protected free speech, with Clinton continuing in her 2011 statement:

In the United States, I will admit, there are people who still feel vulnerable or marginalized as a result of their religious beliefs. And we have seen how the incendiary actions of just a very few people, a handful in a country of nearly 300 million, can create wide ripples of intolerance. We also understand that, for 235 years, freedom of expression has been a universal right at the core of our democracy. So we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing antidiscrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor. [Emphasis Coughlin’s]

These sentiments might help to explain why Secretary of State Clinton along with President Obama felt compelled to send a message to the Muslim world in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi disavowing any link between the U.S. government and the infamous “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video.

Given what we know, one wonders what Secretary of State Clinton might say about Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” event.

Note: The links to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

05/15/15

Only one presidential candidate besides Hillary Clinton appears in the bombshell ‘Clinton Cash’ — in a very sordid episode

By: Benjamin Weingartin
TheBlaze

Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash” links Bill and Hillary Clinton through their work at the Clinton Foundation and State Department to all manner of unsavory characters, including authoritarian leaders, African warlords and businessmen with dubious backgrounds, in addition to more respectable Clinton political operatives and supporters who in Schweizer’s writing paid the Clintons and enriched themselves by way of projects supported by the Clintons.

One Clinton-linked transaction however implicates another figure: presumed 2016 GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush listens to a speaker before giving his keynote address at the National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In a chapter titled “Disaster Capitalism,” Schweizer explores the dealings of the Clinton Foundation — in league with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — in Haiti following the devastating January 2010 earthquake that claimed the lives of approximately 230,000 people.

In the wake of the disaster, the Clintons immersed themselves in the relief effort, helping procure and allocate funds towards activities such as cleaning debris, fixing roads, and arranging deals for things like building telecommunications infrastructure and constructing homes, with varying degrees of success but almost universal financial rewards for those connected in one way or another with the Clintons.

It is in the area of home construction where former Florida Governor Jeb Bush appears.

Clinton supporter and former Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley Clark traveled to Port-au-Prince Haiti in the wake of the earthquake to lobby Haitian president René Préval for a home-building contract for a south Florida company in which Clark was a board member called Innovida.

One of Clark’s colleagues on the Innovida board was Jeb Bush.

What would happen to Innovida serves as a microcosm of what Schweizer dubs the “Clinton Blur” between philanthropy, politics and business.

As Schweizer tells it:

[Wesley] Clark was a big cheerleader for the company [Innovida]. “It can do more for housing in Haiti, better and faster, than any other technology out there,” he said. Innovida’s ties to the Clintons ran even deeper than Clark. According to the South Florida Business Journal, Innovida’s CEO Claudio Osorio was a “big fundraiser” for the Hillary 2008 campaign and had contributed to CGI.

Innovida had little track record of actually building homes. Yet the company saw its project fast-tracked by the Haitain government and the State Department. Innovida received a $10 million loan from the US government to build five hundred houses in Haiti.

Sadly, the houses were never built. In 2012 Osorio was indicted and convicted of financial fraud. Prosecutors would later accuse Osorio, who drove a Maserati and lived in a Miami Beach mansion, of using the money intended for relief victims to “repay investors and for his and his co-conspirators personal benefit and to further the fraud scheme.” He was ultimately sentenced to twelve years in jail. Innovida collapsed.

Of Bush’s involvement with Innovida, Jim Geraghty at National Review wrote in a January 2015 post:

The Washington Post put an article about Jeb Bush’s ties to InnoVida on page A1 on Monday. The article was careful to state that “there is no evidence that Bush had any knowledge of the fraud.” The law-enforcement cases against the company mentioned Bush only in passing, describing him as out of the loop, basically a prop used to enhance the company’s stature. A 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against the company, Osorio, and company CFO Craig Toll said that “to add an air of legitimacy to InnoVida, Osorio recruited a high-profile board of directors for InnoVida that included a former governor of Florida.”

Osorio’s lawyer, Humberto Dominguez, told the Post that “Bush had nothing to do with the scheme” and that Bush had been brought in only for his business connections. One of the company’s investors, Christopher Korge, told the paper that he was “impressed with Bush’s response” once serious questions of Osorio’s dishonesty were brought to his attention.  According to a legal statement in U.S. bankruptcy court, Bush, on September 19, 2010, “severed all ties” to InnoVida, “expressing concerns over Debtors’ governance and urging the Debtors to adopt more professional transparent business practices, including obtaining audits by a national accounting firm.” This was about nine months after the company received the OPIC loan [a $3.3 million U.S. government loan to build and operate a panel-manufacturing facility in Haiti].

Geraghty continues:

Still, Bush’s relationship with the company was relatively long and lucrative. According to the bankruptcy-court filing, from December 5, 2007, to September 16, 2010, InnoVida and Miami Worldwide Partners, an entity affiliated with the Osorios, collectively disbursed $468,901.71 in payments and expenses to Jeb Bush & Associates, the former governor’s consulting firm.  In March 2013, Jeb Bush & Associates paid $270,000.00 to Soneet R. Kapila, the trustee attempting to return money to InnoVida investors who were defrauded. Bush’s firm admitted no wrongdoing, and asserted that it merely “provided services in good faith for reasonably equivalent value.”

… The legal documents paint a picture of Bush remaining out of the loop on all of the fraudulent activities of Osorio and the company, asking questions about the lack of audited financial documents, and then cutting ties when his questions weren’t answered adequately and investors raised questions about Osorio’s honesty.

But obliviousness to a business partner’s crimes isn’t a great look for an aspiring president. And it’s painfully easy to picture a future Republican rival, the DNC, or American Bridge PAC running an attack ad against Bush with the entirely accurate statement that “Jeb Bush spent years on the corporate board of a company that took government money and promised to help Haitian earthquake victims . . . and then turned around and spent it on themselves.”

Particularly relevant in context of “Clinton Cash” is how Geraghty concludes his post:

… [T]he idea of Osorio causing headaches for a potential GOP presidential candidate is ironic, in light of the fact that he and his wife were high-level Democratic-party fundraisers. The pair had hosted fundraisers for both Clintons and both Obamas, and in fact lamented to the Wall Street Journal that they had a bad experience at the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

Amarilis Osorio and her husband, Claudio, a Miami Beach, Fla., entrepreneur, decided at the last minute to attend the convention. The couple held a fund-raiser at their house earlier this month with Sen. Obama’s wife, Michelle, and raised $400,000. “We had to fly commercial — a private jet was too expensive,” said Ms. Osorio. “And our hotel room is dreadful.”

In 2013, the Clinton Foundation returned a $22,000 donation from Osorio.

Worthy of note is the fact that the Clintons and Bushes have developed a close rapport since Bill Clinton left office, as detailed in Daniel Halper’s “Clinton Inc.

Peter Schweizer has indicated that he is currently probing Jeb Bush’s finances as part of his next project.

Note: The links to the books in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

05/13/15

The Catholic Church Has Gone Socialist

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Since we published our article, “Catholic Church Captured by ‘Progressive Forces,’” it is starting to dawn on many in and out of the media that Pope Francis has come down on the side of the “progressive,” and even Marxist, forces in the world today.

Writing at the Blaze.com and commenting on the pope’s friendly meeting with Cuban dictator Raul Castro, Catholic writer Stephen Herreid of the Intercollegiate Review called the pope’s dealings with Castro and other Marxists “a new Catholic scandal” as significant and terrifying as the presence of pedophiles in the church. He wonders how conservative Catholics can continue to pay respect to a pope “intent on making friends with the enemies of religious liberty.”

Francis had a one-hour meeting with Raul Castro on May 10. The day before, Castro had greeted Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Francis will visit Cuba in September prior to his tour of the United States.

The Associated Press reported that Castro commented, after meeting with the pope, that the pontiff “is a Jesuit, and I, in some way, am too.” Castro added, “I always studied at Jesuit schools.” He also promised, “When the pope goes to Cuba in September, I promise to go to all his Masses, and with satisfaction.”

The evidence is getting too big for the major media to ignore: the pope has made common cause with the forces of international Marxism, which are associated with atheism, the suppression of traditional Christianity and the persecution and murder of Christians.

Conservative Catholics and many others are terrified of what is to come. Some fear that the Roman Catholic Church has joined the campaign for a global socialist state that could turn into an anti-Christian tyranny.

Dr. Timothy Ball, author of The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science, told me during a recent interview, “I think the Catholic Church is regretting making him the pope. They did it because the previous pope was starting to deal with the problems of pedophilia and corruption in the money in the church. So the powerful Cardinals pushed him [Benedict] aside. It wasn’t a health matter at all. He just realized he couldn’t beat them…He [Francis] is bringing in these socialist ideas. He’s already expressed some of them—about inequities of wealth, redistributing the wealth, which are themes you’ve heard from Obama.”

Benedict had also been a strong opponent of Liberation Theology.

As Herreid put it in his Blaze column, “In a matter of months, Pope Francis has announced a desire to ‘quickly’ beatify a deceased liberation theologist bishop, reconciled with a Sandinista activist priest who once called Ronald Reagan a ‘butcher’ and an ‘international outlaw,’ and even invited the founder of the liberation theology movement, Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, to speak on the need for a ‘poor Church for the Poor’ at an official Vatican event this week.”

In fact, this is the latest example of Francis welcoming advocates of Liberation Theology—a doctrine manufactured by the old KGB to dupe Christians into supporting Marxism—directly into the Vatican.

Francis received Gutierrez, considered the father of Liberation Theology, in September 2013, but in a private audience without photos. Then, on November 22, 2014, at the end of an audience granted to the participants of the National Missionary Congress of Italy, Francis warmly greeted him personally. Gutierrez, a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest, is being welcomed as an official guest at the Vatican to participate in this week’s Caritas Internationalis General Assembly, whose theme is, “One Human Family, Caring for Creation.”

Caritas is a global confederation of 164 Catholic organizations. Its U.S. affiliates are Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services.

Herreid comments, “Neither Pope St. John Paul II nor his trusted friend and successor Benedict XVI were taken in by liberation theology. John Paul fought Communism throughout his pontificate, and Benedict was equally forceful against liberation theology’s interpretation of the traditional ‘preferential option for the poor’ as a preferential option for violent state-mandated wealth-redistribution.”

The Francis-Marxist alliance seems to confirm the predictions of the late Vatican insider Malachi Martin, who wrote penetrating books about the Catholic Church entitled The Jesuits and The Keys of This Blood. He believed that Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the “restructuring” of the old Soviet Union, never gave up on Marxism-Leninism but adopted the viewpoint of the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci that a worldwide communist state could only be achieved gradually. It was to be a “revolution by infiltration.” He said, “Liberation Theology was a perfectly faithful exercise of Gramsci’s principles.”

Martin wrote that “The most powerful religious orders of the Roman Church—Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Maryknollers—all committed themselves to Liberation Theology.”

In addition to Gutierrez, one of the speakers at this week’s Vatican conference is Jeffrey Sachs of the U.N.’s Millennium Project, an advocate of a global tax that could impose a cost of $845 billion from the U.S. alone. Sachs is speaking at a panel discussion on “Growing inequalities: a challenge for the one human family.”

Sachs previously appeared at a Vatican conference on “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility,” which was held from May 2 – 6, 2014.  It was held under the authority of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

A joint statement published after the close of that Vatican conference called for Sustainable Development Goals “to guide planetary-scale actions after 2015.”

It said, “To achieve these goals will require global cooperation, technological innovations that are within reach, and supportive economic and social policies at the national and regional levels, such as the taxation and regulation of environmental abuses, limits to the enormous power of transnational corporations and a fair redistribution of wealth. It has become abundantly clear that Humanity’s relationship with Nature needs to be undertaken by cooperative, collective action at all levels—local, regional, and global.”

This week’s Caritas conference includes consideration of a “strategic framework” for the years 2015 to 2019 that quoted Francis as calling on every Christian “to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor…”

In building “a civilization of love,” the document urges the “transforming [of] unjust systems and structures” and desires an outcome in which “Justice is attained with respect to climate change and the use of natural resources…”

Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, explained what all of this means in simple language. “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history,” she said. “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change…It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.”

The pope’s left-wing supporters at the Catholic Climate Covenant are ecstatic over his upcoming encyclical on ecology and climate change and believe it can be the catalyst for this deliberate transformation. Dan Misleh of the Catholic Climate Covenant tells his supporters that his group is creating what he calls “an educational, inspirational video” on how to stop global warming and developing new programs to help Catholics “reduce their carbon footprint.”

Members of his climate coalition include:

  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Migration and Refugee Services
  • Catholic Charities USA
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Catholic Health Association of the United States
  • Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
  • Conference of Major Superiors of Men
  • Carmelite NGO
  • Catholic Rural Life
  • Franciscan Action Network
  • National Council of Catholic Women
  • Leadership Conference of Women Religious
  • Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
  • National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry
  • Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
05/12/15

This one policy has correlated with higher unemployment, more bankruptcies and greater inequality. Can you guess what it is?

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

In a new book titled “The Floating Kilogram,” former long-time Wall Street Journal editor and founder of the New York Sun Seth Lipsky makes an impassioned, reasoned, common sense case for returning America to sound money in the form of the gold standard.

Much like Steve Forbes and Jim Grant with whom we have touched on this issue before, as Seth and I discussed during an in-depth interview, Lipsky believes there is significant economic and moral merit to backing currency with a tangible asset, with benefits for all Americans.

One of his more interesting and overlooked arguments concerns some of the devastating consequences for the country since we officially severed the link between the dollar and gold under President Nixon in 1971. Lipsky explains:

From 1947 when [the] Bretton Woods System really got operating to 1971, when the dollar was convertible into gold at a 35th of an ounce, unemployment in America averaged 4.7 percent. And then we got rid of the Bretton Woods system — we defaulted on it — we went to fiat money, and in the years from 1971 to today, unemployment has averaged significantly above 6 percent. Low unemployment: gold standard. High unemployment: fiat money.

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But it’s not just unemployment. The bankruptcy rate which Elizabeth Warren likes to focus on was one point something per thousand for years, and suddenly it shot up. When did it do that? The mid-1970s when we went off the gold standard and moved to the age of fiat money.

And you’ve no doubt read about this economic Thomas Piketty who likes to warn about the inequality rate. It was trending gently downward for years and suddenly it began to shoot up. That was the mid-1970s when we abandoned the gold standard and went to a system of fiat money.

So there are a lot of reasons to start looking at this and to see whether the absence of a sound dollar is the root cause of our system of growing inequality and high unemployment and lack of jobs and high bankruptcy rate, and to see whether something can be reformed so as to bring us back to a system of sound money. [Links ours]

The title for Lipsky’s book, “The Floating Kilogram,” reflects an editorial published in 2011 in his New York Sun, in which Lipsky asked the question, “Why don’t we let the kilogram float?” The implication is that if weights and measures are no longer defined, why shouldn’t the kilogram — a man-made measure which the New York Times noted may have been losing mass — fluctuate just as a dollar fluctuates in value. Lipsky wrote:

[H]ere in the modern age, the members of the Federal Reserve Board don’t worry about how many grains of silver or gold are behind the dollar. They couldn’t care less. And when the value of a dollar plunges at a dizzying rate, the chairman of Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, goes up to Capitol Hill and, in testimony before the House, declares merely that he is “puzzled.” No “new urgency” to redefine the dollar for him. The fact is that we’ve long since ceased to define the dollar, and it can float not only against other currencies but against the 371 ¼ grains of pure silver.

So why not the kilogram? After all, when you go into the grocery to buy a pound of hamburger, why should you worry about how much hamburger you get — so long as it’s a pound’s worth. A pound is supposed to be .45359237 of a kilogram, of course. But if the Congress can permit Mr. Bernanke to use his judgment in deciding what a dollar is worth, why shouldn’t he — or some other PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology — be able to decide from day to day what a kilogram is worth?

During our interview which you can listen to in full below, we discuss the fundamental flaws in and immorality of floating fiat money and several other topics including:

Note: The link to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

05/12/15

Author exposes the ‘cabal’ of leftists and corporatists unwittingly supporting jihad through U.S. refugee resettlement

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

Recently there have been several stories published regarding secretive American refugee resettlement programs under which a disproportionately high percentage of Muslim immigrants are being dispersed across the United States, an issue that Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina has brought to the State Department with respect to a town in his Congressional district.

Ann Corcoran, a patriotic citizen living out on a farm in rural Maryland has been the providing oversight that Congress has not on this issue for years via her blog, Refugee Resettlement Watch.

Based on her findings, Ms. Corcoran has recently published a book, the subject of our in-depth interview, titled “Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America.”

In the book, Ms. Corcoran makes the case that the federal government at the urging of the United Nations is accepting thousands of immigrants each year, including from Muslim-majority countries hostile to the U.S., without concern for assimilation or any of the national security implications of such decisions. Corcoran believes that these programs aid and abet those individuals seeking to fulfill an element of jihad of hijra, in a bid to ultimately spread Islam and Shariah law in America.

Corcoran explains:

The hijra … is the Islamic doctrine of immigration. And Muhammad instructed his followers that one of the five responsibilities … that Muslims are supposed to do — one of them is to migrate and that migration is a form of jihad. And the refugee resettlement program as it is now constructed in the United States is now bringing large numbers of Muslims into the country from countries that hate us. We’ve brought over 100,000 Somalis, we have brought over 100,000 Iraqis — and most of the Iraqis … are Muslim. We’re about to admit potentially 11,000 Syrians, 93% so far that have come into the country are Muslim — into the country that the United Nations have picked for us. And thus, I’m making the case that the refugee resettlement program — that is by the way where the UN picks our refugees, U.S. State Department distributes them around the country is in fact a significant contributor to the hijra to America.

While Americans may be aware of the fact that as Corcoran argues during our interview, there are refugees being resettled all over the country with little to no local control over such programs or federal oversight — assisted by leftist religious groups that are taxpayer funded — perhaps less noticed is an alliance between leftist activists and big business enabling jihadists to come into the country, as we have seen for example in the Somali population of the Minneapolis area.

Corcoran explains:

… [T]he financial driving factor behind this … is cheap labor, which goes across all of these immigrant areas. The meat packers out in places like Minnesota have enormous power. And they’re working with left-wing foundations to convince local elected officials that this is all just a wonderful thing, diversity is a wonderful beautiful thing, but there’s really — money is driving this… And of course there’s the ideology, and the need for Democrat voters, or the wish for more Democrat voters… But there’s a big money component to all of this. And that’s why you see these elite Republicans supporting this program because it involves big money, big business, I call it “big meat” for example.

Corcoran continues:

… I should mention that for example with the meat packers, they were using illegal immigrant labor for the longest time. Well first off, they used to pay I’m told by people who worked in the meat industry, that they used to pay very well, good wages to American workers. Then they discovered the illegal alien. Well that didn’t work out so well because they were getting busted. And then the next thing they discovered was the refugees as a source of cheap labor. And it’s especially mean to the refugees I think because the refugees are captive essentially — they can’t just walk away from the job or go back to their home country or anything, so they’re really captive cheap labor… So there’s a big driving force there behind it. And it’s a convenient thing — you’ve got the hard leftist who wants the Democrat voters joining forces with the elite Republicans who with big business and financial backers — and it’s a terrible combination that’s a juggernaut essentially against the average American citizen worker.

As a microcosm of what is occurring, Ms. Corcoran told us about a situation she is studying that has recently come to light in St. Cloud, Minnesota:

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… There’s a couple of men out in Minnesota near St. Cloud who did some research on their own, and here’s what they found … St. Cloud by the way is part of [former Rep.] Michelle Bachmann’s district … [T]here’s apparently a foundation called the Blandin Foundation — a left-wing foundation — that takes elected officials, and it’s hooked up with I’m told The Hormel Foundation which is a meat company foundation, and they take elected officials and community leaders and they train them for a week with this diversity training and then they send them back to their communities expecting them to carry the water on how wonderful diversity is for the community. And as a reward, the community gets little grants for little things that they might need … the community might get a new soccer field if they’re sufficiently welcoming… So there’s this cabal of foundations — left-leaning foundations, the meat industry and elected officials — all working together to shove diversity down the throats of their communities, and the community is rewarded with grant money if they’re sufficiently welcoming to the new Somalis. But then there’s this other factor in there: The local cronyism kicks in and the local builder gets the job of building the new subsidized housing facility that they’re gonna put the Somalis in. And the car dealer is happy to get money selling cars to the new refugees, so that there’s this money component that flows through the whole thing. In the meantime the average citizen out there who says “Whoa whoa whoa, this is changing the culture of our community,” is shoved out by this combination of supposed Republicans in some cases, and foundations, left-leaning foundations and big business… And of course they don’t care about the jihad aspects of all of this… It’s all about money I’m sorry to say.

During our interview, which you can find in full below, we also had a chance to discuss several other issues including:

  • How Ms. Corcoran became an activist on the issue of refugee resettlement
  • The theological background of “hijra”
  • The size and scope of America’s refugee resettlement programs
  • The danger of diversity visas
  • The complicity of leftist religious groups with the government in perpetuating these programs
  • The states rights issues at play
  • And much much more

Note: The links to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

05/1/15

10 books to celebrate the socialist holiday of May Day

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

May 1 marks what is known as May Day, a celebration of international workers chosen by the socialists and Communists of the Second International to recognize the Haymarket affair in Chicago’s Haymarket Square of May 1886.

In order to ring in the holiday, we thought it apt to share 10 books on socialism and Communism and their impact on mankind.

1) The Marx-Engels Reader by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

This book contains the core works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which provide the intellectual basis for socialism and Communism.

2) The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

One of the most powerful arguments against all forms of collectivism, Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” is in many ways the foil to Marx and Engels, showing the disasters of central planning, and illustrating how finding a “middle path” with statism inevitably drags a people all the way there. We would also recommend Frédéric Bastiat’s “The Law” and Ludwig von Mises’ “Human Action,” among countless other titles.

3) The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Various authors

The definitive compendium of atrocities committed worldwide under Communism from Stalin’s Russia to Mao’s China and everywhere in between, prior to the 21st century.

4) The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn

“The Gulag Archipelago” gave the West a comprehensive look into the dehumanizing slavery of the concentration camps known as the gulags of the Soviet Union.

5) Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag by Armando Valladares

For those wondering what life was and to a degree still is like under Castro’s Cuba, Valladares’ “Against All Hope” shows the tyranny of the Communist regime and the unimaginably cruel treatment of its political prisoners. We excerpted one of the most sobering portions of Valladares’ book here.

6) Witness by Whittaker Chambers

An American Communist turned staunch conservative, Chambers’ “Witness” was one of the key texts in the ideological battle against Communism of the Cold War. “Witness” is incidentally one of TheBlaze’s Buck Sexton’s three favorite biographies.

7) Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

As we have written about previously, “Doctor Zhivago” was viewed as so important in discrediting the Russian Revolution of 1917 that the CIA used it as part of a plot to undermine the Communist cause, flooding the Soviet Union with copies of it during the throes of the Cold War.

8) Disinformation by Ion Pacepa and Prof. Ronald Rychlak

We have written about “Disinformation” numerous times at TheBlaze Books, but suffice it to say if you want to understand how Communists have successfully waged ideological warfare and its great impact on society to this day, you need to read this book.

9) Stalin’s Secret Agents by M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein

The late M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein show just how effective the Communists were in infiltrating the highest levels of power during the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt era, based upon their study of recently released shocking intelligence documents. You will also want to check out Evans’ “Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies.”

10) American Betrayal by Diana West

Building on the efforts of M. Stanton Evans and others, Diana West’s “American Betrayal” — of which we have written favorably in the past — seeks to explain how it could be that there is a government-wide effort in her view to whitewash jihadism, along with a willful blindness to and even complicity with jihadist elements at the highest levels of our political system.

West finds this precedent — along with remarkable parallels — in President Roosevelt’s sympathy with and willful blindness towards the Communist threat during the World War II era. West boldly documents how damaging this was to the nation. ”American Betrayal” is an eye-opening piece of revisionist history — and we do not mean that in a pejorative sense — that has caused an unprecedented level of controversy among conservative anti-Communists.

Ms. West shared with us her own reading recommendations on these topics here.

10a) Dupes by Paul Kengor

Author Paul Kengor – he of “11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative” (reviewed here and more here) — has written the book on the manipulation of progressives in America by socialists and Communists from the early 20th century to present. This is a chilling but crucial must read that will change the way you view our nation’s history.

Note: The link to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.

04/29/15

Did Muslim congressmen smear a Dutch counterjihadist lawmaker in a letter seeking to ban him from the U.S.?

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

Muslim Reps. Keith Ellison and André Carson sought to bar outspoken counterjihadist Dutch MP Geert Wilders from entering America before his appearance on Capitol Hill today, Apr. 29.

Free speech issues aside, interestingly, in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson advocating their position, Reps. Ellison and Carson sought to discredit the Dutch politician by linking him to a Nordic terrorist — a link that based on our reporting from February 2014 appears to have been debunked.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee on the extent of the radicalization of American Muslims, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., during testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee on the extent of the radicalization of American Muslims, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The relevant portion of the House members’ Apr. 23 letter reads:

Reports indicate that Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist responsible for the murder of 77 people in Oslo, was inspired by Mr. Wilders’ hateful message.

The congressmen cite several articles noting an ideological kinship between Breivik and Wilders, as indicated in part based upon the appearance of Wilders’ name in the manifesto Breivik published before carrying out his attack.

But was Mr. Breivik really incited by Mr. Wilders?

According to a letter that Breivik penned from prison in January 2014, Breivik stated that in effect he had duped the public in his manifesto by citing his political foes — among them counterjihadists including Mr. Wilders — as inspiration, in order to damage them and protect the neo-Nazi movement of which he was a part. Breivik wrote:

When dealing with media psychopaths, a good way to counter their tactics is to use double-psychology, or at least so I thought. The compendium [i.e. Breivik’s manifesto] was, among other things, of a calculated and quite cynical gateway-design (the 2+?+?=6-approach), created to strengthen the ethnocentrist wing in the contra-jihad movement, by pinning the whole thing on the anti-ethnocentrist wing (many of the leaders are pro-multiculti social democrats or liberalists), while at the same time protecting and strengthening the ethnocentrist-factions. The idea was to manipulate the MSM and others so that they would launch a witchhunt and send their media-rape-squads against our opponents. It worked quite well. [Emphasis added and formatting fixed]

Key to Breivik’s strategy was his effort to explicitly disavow his ties to neo-Nazis. He continued:

I could have easily avoided excessive pathologisation by keeping the message short and by clinging to the already established ideological cliff of national socialism (its important to remember that this was at a time when all right wing radicals were labeled as nazis), but if they had been allowed to label me as a nazi, the ideological considerations and discussions would be over, and my court-speeches and propaganda performance would never be broadcasted world wide, during the trial. [Emphasis added]

Wilders for his part strongly denounced Breivik’s attack, though Reps. Carson and Ellison did not acknowledge it in their letter. A July 2011 release from Radio Netherlands Worldwide reads:

Geert Wilders has issued a statement denouncing Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind Friday’s massacre in Norway, as a psychopath and a madman.

The Dutch anti-Islam politician says the fact he and his Freedom Party are mentioned repeatedly in Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto “fills him with revulsion”. [sic]

Since Breivik’s bombing and shooting spree, some commentators have pointed out that some of the ideas expressed by the Norwegian are not so far removed from those promoted by Geert Wilders and his party.

Mr Wilders refutes any suggestion of a link between his own political goals and the Norwegian’s actions “We are democrats through and through. The Freedom Party has never called for violence, nor will it ever do so. We believe in the power of the ballot box and the wisdom of the voter.’”

The statement by the Freedom Party leader goes on to condemn Friday’s attacks as “a slap in the face for the worldwide anti-Islam movement” and to describe Breivik’s manifesto as the work of a madman. “He wants to work with al-Qaeda… He longs to blow up cities, dreams of knights who mutilate themselves and of meeting his hero Karadzic.”

We reached out to spokespeople for both congressmen, asking if in light of Breivik’s 2014 letter, the congressmen still stand by the section of their letter tying Wilders to Breivik, but have not yet received comment.

Reps. Ellison and Carson sought to justify their opposition to Wilders’ appearance on American soil under the International Religious Freedom Act. In their letter, they argue that Wilders’ anti-Islamization rhetoric qualifies as a “severe” violation of religious freedom, due to his “inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence.”

Wilders, the founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, is a staunch opponent of European Islamization, arguing against the mass immigration of individuals from Muslim countries and encouraging jihadists currently living in Europe to leave. He is highly critical of the Koran and Islamic ideology more broadly.

For his rhetoric, Wilders has stood trial in Europe, and was most recently interrogated by the Dutch State Police for asking his constituents whether they would prefer more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. You can read his statement on the interrogation here.

The letter from Reps. Ellison and Carson can be found below:

While on Capitol Hill, Wilders spoke in front of the Conservative Opportunity Society. PJMedia transcribed some of his remarks, which you can find below:

“I have nothing against Muslims. Before the death threats started I have visited almost every Islamic country and I met many friendly people. I know there are many moderate Muslims who do not live according to the violent commands of the Quran. Muslims can be moderates. But there is no moderate Islam. Islam has changed Europe beyond recognition,” Wilders said.

“…Our duty is clear. In order to solve the problem, we have to stop mass immigration to the West from Islamic countries. And we have to get rid of the cultural relativism.”

Wilders added that it’s “sheer stupidity” to stop would-be jihadis from running off to join the Islamic State: “This is wrong. Let them leave if they want to leave. But let them never return.”

“In my country and the other EU member states, which signed the so-called Schengen Treaty, we have abolished all border controls between the 26 member states of the Schengen zone. This means that jihadis from one of these states can freely travel to the others and commit their crimes there. And it has already happened. Last year a jihadi from France, who had just returned from Syria, went to Belgium and murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels,” he said.

‘Without borders a nation-cannot guarantee the security of its citizens. Neither can it preserve its national identity and culture. I believe that one of the most vital things which we Europeans must do is to leave Schengen and reinstate national border control.”

04/29/15

Iran Literally Fired a Shot Across an American Ally’s Bow, But Obama Won’t Dump His Disastrous Deal

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

What, if anything, would cause President Barack Obama to step away from the negotiating table with Iran?

This is the question I find myself pondering in light of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy Patrol’s unchecked act of aggression on Tuesday against America’s interests in the Straits of Hormuz – an act that in a sane world would in and of itself put an end to the president’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran.

As of this writing, reports indicate that the Iranian Navy Patrol fired shots at and ultimately seized a commercial cargo ship, the M/V Maersk Tigris, which flies under the Marshall Islands flag. Some believe Iran was even targeting a U.S. vessel.

An Iranian warship takes part in a naval show in 2006. (Photo: AP)

An Iranian warship takes part in a naval show in 2006. (Photo: AP)

In a helpful dispatch, commentator Omri Ceren notes the significant implications of such an action given that the U.S. is: (i) Treaty-bound to secure and defend the Marshall Islands, and (ii) Committed to maintaining the free flow of commerce in the strategically vital waterways of the Middle East — as affirmed just one week ago on April 21 by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf and Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren.

The U.S. fulfilling its obligations to its protectorate, and acting to ensure vital shipping lanes remain open are not trivial matters.

Further, this act can be seen as a brazen test of the sincerity of U.S. resolve, as it was timed to coincide with the opening of the Senate’s debate on the Corker-Menendez Iran bill.

Yet there is a broader and perhaps more important context in which to consider what Ceren calls an act of “functionally unspinnable Iranian aggression.”

Even if we ignore the history of Iranian aggression against the U.S. and its allies since the deposal of the Shah in 1979, the firing upon and seizing of the Tigris marks the latest in a long series of such provocations that Iran has undertaken in just the last few months. Consider:

This rhetoric and action comports with Iran’s historic hostility toward the U.S. since the fall of the Shah. Lest we forget, this list of atrocities includes, but is certainly not limited to:

Would Iran’s most recent actions in the Strait of Hormuz coupled with the litany of other recent and historical bellicose acts lead one to question whether it is in the United States’ interest to continue negotiating with the mullahs?

Put more directly: In what respect can the U.S. consider Iran to be a reliable, honorable negotiating partner?

Iranian women hold an anti-US sign, bearing a cartoon of US President Barack Obama, outside the former US embassy in Tehran on November 2, 2012, during a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of seizure of the US embassy which saw Islamist students hold 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days. This year's rally came just days before US presidential election in which Republican challenger Mitt Romney has made Iran's controversial nuclear programme a top foreign policy issue. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Iranian women hold an anti-US sign, bearing a cartoon of US President Barack Obama, outside the former US embassy in Tehran on November 2, 2012, during a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of seizure of the US embassy which saw Islamist students hold 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days. This year’s rally came just days before US presidential election in which Republican challenger Mitt Romney has made Iran’s controversial nuclear programme a top foreign policy issue. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Concerning the content of the nuclear deal being negotiated, it should be noted that the Iranians have stated the agreement accomplishes the very opposite of what the American public been led to believe. With respect to sanctions, Iran says they will be fully lifted upon the execution of the accord. As MEMRI notes, in an April 9 address, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini gave a speech in which he called America a “cheater and a liar” and

publicly set out the negotiating framework for the Iranian negotiating team, the main points of which are: an immediate lifting of all sanctions the moment an agreement is reached; no intrusive oversight of Iran’s nuclear and military facilities; the continuation of Iran’s nuclear research and development program; and no inclusion of any topics not related to the nuclear program, such as missile capability or anything impacting Iran’s support for its proxies in the region.

It is no wonder then that the nuclear deal has been lambasted on a bipartisan basis, including at the highest levels of the national security establishment. Even former Secretary of State James Baker is highly critical of the Iran deal – and his animus toward Israel, perhaps the primary casualty of the deal, may be second only to that of President Obama.

As to whether Khameini’s portrayal of the deal is accurate, former CIA analyst and Iran expert Fred Fleitz asserts that under the terms of the agreement, Iran will (i) be able to continue enriching uranium, (ii) not have to disassemble or destroy any enrichment equipment or facilities, (iii) not be required to “permit snap inspections and unfettered access to all Iranian nuclear facilities, including military bases where Iran is believed to have conducted nuclear-weapons work,” (iv) be able to continue to operate its Arak heavy-water reactor, a plutonium source, in contravention of IAEA resolutions and (v) be subjected to an eased sanctions regime that will be incredibly difficult to re-impose.

If this were not enough, so intent is the Obama Administration on reaching a deal that it has been reported that for signing this agreement, Iran may even receive sweeteners including a $50 billion “signing bonus.”

The contorted logic used by the president in defense of his progressive stance towards Iran is worthy of Neville Chamberlain. During an interview with New York Times soulmate Thomas Friedman, Obama opined:

Even for somebody who believes, as I suspect Prime Minister Netanyahu believes, that there is no difference between Rouhani and the supreme leader and they’re all adamantly anti-West and anti-Israel and perennial liars and cheaters — even if you believed all that, this still would be the right thing to do. It would still be the best option for us to protect ourselves. In fact, you could argue that if they are implacably opposed to us, all the more reason for us to want to have a deal in which we know what they’re doing and that, for a long period of time, we can prevent them from having a nuclear weapon.

Sen. Tom Cotton provides a necessary corrective in a recent interview:

I am skeptical that there are many moderates within the [Iranian] leadership … I think it’s kind of like the search for the vaunted moderates in the Kremlin throughout most of the Cold War, with the exception that we could always count on the Soviet leadership to be concerned about national survival in a way that I don’t think we can count on a nuclear-armed Iranian leadership to be solely concerned about national survival.

As for Lord Chamberlain, Sen. Cotton – he of that irksome letter to Iran — takes a more charitable view, noting:

It’s unfair to Neville Chamberlain to compare him to Barack Obama, because Neville Chamberlain’s general staff was telling him he couldn’t confront Hitler and even fight to a draw—certainly not defeat the German military—until probably 1941 or 1942. He was operating from a position of weakness. With Iran, we negotiated privately in 2012-2013 from a position of strength … not just inherent military strength of the United States compared to Iran, but also from our strategic position.

To those who recognize reality, this deal – coupled with our weak response to the ongoing provocations of the Iranian Government — not only threatens our national security and that of our allies, but reflects an utter dereliction of duty to uphold the Constitution, and protect our people against foreign enemies.

In a word, it is treasonous.