Feed on Posts or Comments 28 July 2015

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 26 Jul 2015

Fearful Times: Conservatives Must Extract Commitments From Members To Fight For Our Survival and Our Liberty When House Begins Summer Vacation Friday

The Iran Deception: A Challenge to the House

Saturday in NRO constitutional scholar and former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy declared (click here) “Congress Must Hold Obama Accountable for His Deception Over Iran.”

Author McCarthy explains–

“By lying and withholding information about the agreement, he gives aid and comfort to America’s enemy.”

continuing–

“The Constitution forbids providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies. And the Framers’ notion that a president would be punishable for deceiving Congress regarding the conduct of foreign affairs meant that lawmakers would be obliged to use their constitutional powers to protect the United States — not merely shriek on cable television as if they were powerless spectators.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Read all of this powerful and expert post.

And holding the president accountable for the Iran Deception is just the top of the list of urgent actions we should insist on hearing our members address in the August recess!

How Did Our Party In The Congress Arrive In This Mess?

On Friday Rush Limbaugh replayed a floor speech by senator Ted Cruz, summing up (click here) conservative frustrations with the Senate GOP — which frustrations (except for the Lynch confirmation) could as easily apply to the House of Representatives–
“Finally, Cruz vents the frustration that every Republican voter has felt with Congress since 2010.
CRUZ:  There is a pronounced disappointment among the American people, because we keep winning elections, and then we keep getting leaders who don’t do anything they promised.  The American people were told, ‘You know, the problem is the Senate. If only we get a Republican majority in the Senate and retire Harry Reid as majority leader, then things will be different.’  What has that majority done?  We came back and passed a trillion-dollar Cromnibus plan, filled with pork and corporate welfare.[**] That was the very first thing we did.  Then this Republican majority voted to fund Obamacare, voted to fund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive  amnesty, and then leadership rammed through the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general.  Madam President, which of those decisions would be one iota difference if Harry Reid were still majority leader? Not a one.”
RUSH:  Bingo.  It’s exactly right.  Now, this was near the tail end of it.  Now, the whole thing was a stem-winding barber, and I lost count of the number of times Senator Cruz directly challenged Mitch McConnell as a liar — lying to him personally, lying to the Republican caucus about things.
And if you want to know why Donald Trump is resonating with people — You know, I saw somebody in the Drive-By Media today — maybe it wasn’t — it was somebody at PJ Media, I don’t remember who — made the point (Paraphrasing), “Hey, Trump’s not resonating ’cause he’s Trump.  Trump’s resonating ’cause he’s channeling the anger.”  Well, how do you separate the two?  It is Trump because he’s the only one that is actually behaving in ways Republican voters thought they were gonna get in 2010 and 2012, ’14, and the midterms.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Later in the program, Rush and senator Cruz have an illuminating exchange live (click here) about Giant Business and the GOP

“RUSH:  Now, you say that this is being done in fealty to lobbyists, K Street, donors and so forth. But let’s face it, what McConnell is doing is advocating for the leftist agenda, is he not?  The money may be the reason, but what’s the end result of this?
CRUZ:  At the end of the day, you think about who leadership listens to.  I was having a conversation with a few senators on the Senate floor last week, and they were saying, has the divide between leadership and the grassroots ever been this wide?  And we were all agreeing it wasn’t.  And it’s because leadership listens to K Street and Wall Street, it’s the Big Money donors.  The actual grassroots conservatives who gave us a majority in both houses, they don’t listen to at all.  So can you think of a single priority for a real live conservative that this Senate Republican majority has voted on?  It’s all been what the lobbyists care about.
RUSH:  Yeah, I know.  I know.  It’s distressing and it’s dispiriting to a lot of people.  Then we wake up today, and we see the Chamber of Commerce threatening unnamed Republicans or conservatives by claiming to take ’em out.  ‘Chamber Gearing Up to Take Out GOP Incumbents.’  We all know that that means GOP conservatives.  Chamber of Commerce, everybody thinks they’re a bunch of Republicans, Senator.
CRUZ:  Well, it’s interesting.  The local Chambers of Commerce, the small business people usually are, but the national chamber is just a giant lobbying arm for Big Government handouts to Big Business. And so they are essentially promising to create the crony caucus.  Everyone who is in favor of corporate welfare — you know, how is any conservative supposed to credibly take on welfare reform if we’re not willing to stop shoveling billions of dollars to giant corporations?  We need to show some consistency here, and people are understandably frustrated because you don’t see people willing to take on the Washington cartel.”

(How many House GOP incumbents do we all know who are endorsed by the national or local chambers? Do these local chambers mirror the national on Big Immigration and Common Core?)

Will Congress (Finally) Exercise The Power Of The Purse To Rein In A Lawless President?

The House of Representatives is preeminent in exercising the power of the purse. The current fiscal year expires on September 30.

There is no indication that this House leadership is making any preparation for a serious fight with the president over money any more than this leadership has ever done, starting in 2011 when they took control of that chamber.

(Angelo Codevilla explains (click here) why “Continuing Appropriations Resolutions Subvert Limited Government” and why we must return to “regular order” in appropriating money.)

A National House GOP Campaign For Pulling Obama’s Purse Strings?

For any such fight over money with the president to be successful, the House leadership will have to tussle with the White House the traditional way — over individual money bills for various parts of the Federal government — and pave the way with a public campaign explaining what their objectives are and why they are important to ordinary Americans, all the while being undercut by senate bosses Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.

What are just a few of the schemes the House needs to defund in 2016 starting on October 1?

  • Daniel Horowitz proposes “An Immigration Solution that Puts Americans First” (click here) including the defunding of some Obama immigration schemes. (We would add at least a temporary defunding of the H-1B visa program until it is cleaned up.)
  • Stanley Kurtz explains the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing horror (Obamazone) here — a rule that should be defunded now;
  • The Justice Department should be kept on a very short money leash to stop more of their social engineering –“disparate impact,” cultural diversity, and anti-gun activities among others.

We’ll expand our list, but we are sure our readers can do the same.

All of us should catalog likely or current Obama Regime attacks on Christians whether in the military or by the IRS — in programs that could be defunded.

Of course, we won’t get everything this year or even next, but we can defund enough to begin slowing down the Obama Leviathan and thus demoralizing its operatives.

Make Obama Responsible For Any “Shutdown”!

The House leadership will have to play public hardball just like the Left — or perhaps like Mr. Trump — to exercise the power of the purse effectively.

Is this Speaker up to such a task?

The influential Citizens United (click here) polled their 4,025 member national activists and found that–

“If the election for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was being held today, would you want your Member of Congress to re-elect John Boehner as Speaker of the House?
Yes, Re-Elect Boehner As House Speaker: 5.6%
No, Don’t Re-Elect Boehner As House Speaker: 90.3%
No Opinion: 3.9%”

So we have–

  • a Speaker many conservatives find, to put it charitably, inept;
  • a Senate majority leader denounced for lying to his Party colleagues;
  • a lawless president who tried to deceive the United States Senate on a supposed “agreement” with an enemy of the United States. 

This is no time for the usual GOP chirpy assurances from our House members during this summer recess.

Americans have to insist on blunt in-person exchanges starting next Friday!

Do so through your local GOP committees, Tea Parties, or by starting a statewide conservative group (here and here).

Otherwise when the president by executive action soon further limits your Second Amendment rights or further colonizes your backyard with imported citizens of another country, you will have no way to fight back.  The Congressional GOP just might deign to pass “show bills” that will never be enacted, but will finally brush you off by promising “only wait for the next [Establishment] Republican president and everything can be fixed.”

 

** To understand the profound moral corruption of this legislation, see Angelo Codevilla’s searing analysis of the Cromnibus — “Jonathan Gruber Republicans.”

 

 

 

Books reviewed Susan Freis Falknor on 19 Jul 2015

“Day of the Dead”: A Gripping Novel Helping All Americans See Israel Straight

By Susan Freis Falknor

Day of the Dead: Book One – Gaza  — By Captain Dan Gordon, IDF (Res)

This fast-paced novel, set in last year’s Hamas-Israel Tunnel War, could sharpen the way that many Americans perceive Israel and the Islamist threat that nation faces.

And the story will enable Americans to more fully recognize our own vulnerability to that looming horror.

Author Dan Gordon is an American movie writer and novelist–a real pro.

He also holds dual U.S. and Israel citizenship, and is a reserve captain in the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

His satirical White House scenes skewer the Obama Regime’s decision making.

The main characters are members of an observation team sent by the White House into Israel, plus their middle-aged Israeli IDF sherpa.

But the story turns on details that could only have come from personal observation or first-hand accounts.

At some point, you just say, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

What stands out most is the convincing picture of the Israeli people enduring the tunnel war.

Gordon shows them living almost normal lives thanks to the protection of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, only having to duck for a short time into shelters located at public places and set along the highway.

A teenage girl doing everyday duty in the defense force of her Gaza-border kibbutz, watching monitors in real time, becomes the key link in the chain of civil defense, as she spots the terrorists breaking out from their tunnel in a wheat field.

Gordon’s “Day of the Dead” could also enable us to see Israel in the manner Americans saw the enduring, spirited people of London during the Blitz (click here) –the German air attacks of 1940–a year before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and brought us into the war.

Day of the Dead could become another Uncle Tom’s Cabin for our post-9/11 world, especially when the narrative becomes a “major motion picture” as promised on the back cover.

For anti-slavery idealists, Uncle Tom’s Cabin acted as a zoom lens that transformed American slavery from a concerning but rather distant, almost abstract evil into an array of sharply etched, convincing characters, real people, black and white, caught in a diabolical system that seemed to allow for no reform.

The classic touched thousands of hearts and changed official outlooks (click here).

“Uncle Tom” has been turned into a pejorative term. But the novel itself, published a decade before the Civil War, portrayed Tom as a long-suffering Christian, a man whose faith enables him to love and forgive those who oppress him. To idealistic abolitionists, the enslaved Tom became a recognizable, noble human being.

Day of the Dead might well become a similar prism for us, as we wait for other 9/11 shoes to drop.

Will it help us revive the post-attack resolve that seems to have petered out, even as we face a resurgent Islamic Jihad with its determined final solution of putting the whole world under savage Sharia law?

Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have been touched by the influence (overt and subliminal) of the anti-Israel narrative arising from today’s Leftist-Islamist alliance.(Click here to see David Horowitz’ Islamo-Fascism and the War Against the Jews)

This tendentious Leftist-Islamist slant has colored the way much of our media portray Israel today: a technologically advanced nation but fundamentally an oppressor of a victimized Palestinian people.

Lamentably today’s contemporary anti-Semitic narrative has penetrated our “mainstream” media, academia, and, sadly, made inroads into the national offices of our “mainline” churches.

Day of the Dead: Book Two will be set on the U.S. southern border: terrorists equipped with Kalishnikovs, suicide vests, and plastic handcuffs will use Mexican drug tunnels to enter San Diego to stage mass killings and kidnappings. See our closely related Weigh Warnings On ISIS Tunnels!

 

Homeland Defense Richard Falknor on 15 Jul 2015

Iran Surrender — Worse Than Munich: Congress Greased The Way By Approving Corker Scheme With Huge Majorities Bigger Than Chamberlain’s in 1938

Yesterday the terms of the Iran Surrender began to surface (click here and here and here and here and here, just to start). It will be some time before we know them all.

But first, let’s look in a little detail at how both houses of the Congress emasculated themselves last May so they would have very little leverage over the final instrument of surrender.

They did this through the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. As Daniel Horowitz declared (Conservative Review) on May 7 (click here)–

“With passage of the Corker-Cardin Democrat protection bill, it has become abundantly clear that Senate Republicans are utterly useless. 
Due to the outrageously false perception of this bill, only 6 Republicans opposed shutting off debate (Sens. Cruz, Cotton, Grassley, Lee, Moran, and Sullivan) and only Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) voted against it in the final passage.” 

The House Republican leadership simply rammed it through. Again, Daniel Horowitz explains (click here) “House Leadership Blocking Out Conservatives on #IranDeal.”

Only one senator voted against it — Tom Cotton — and, in the House, only 19 Republican members voted against it out of a total of 25 no votes.

From Maryland and Virginia, the only no votes were those of Andy Harris and Dave Brat. (See footnote***)

The Machinery of the Corker Scheme

The invaluable constitutional expert Andy McCarthy spelled out this Monday in NRO the consequences of the Corker Scheme (click here).

Here are few salients excerpts, but read all of McCarthy’s analysisafter all, this surrender is likely to be a matter of war and peace.

  • “Who are you gonna believe, your honey or your lyin’ eyes? That is the question that springs to mind upon reading the ‘dissent,’ forwarded to Rich by a friend who prefers to remain anonymous, from my weekend column on the dangerously misguided Republican response to Obama’s Iran deal.
  • “In the column, I repeated the critique of the Corker bill I’ve been making for months (see, e.g., here, here and here)
  • The legislation will help President Obama pave Iran’s way to become a nuclear-weapons power. This seems counterintuitive to those with higher expectations of Obama’s Republican opposition than I have: The bill overwhelmingly passed the GOP-controlled Congress after being proposed by Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn) with co-sponsorship by the likes of Senator Ben Sasse, the freshman Nebraska Republican who drew strong conservative support (and who figured prominently in my weekend column). Yet it is simply a fact that the Corker bill reverses the Constitution’s presumption against international agreements: instead of requiring the president to convince a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate to approve the Iran deal, it requires opponents to convince a two-thirds supermajority of the full Congress to defeat the deal.”
  • “As the Times elaborates, Democrats were among the Corker bill’s biggest boosters because it ensures the deal cannot be killed unless Republicans muster 67 disapproval votes in the Senate (as well as 291 in the House). Naturally, President Obama signed the bill because it assures him of victory.”
  • “The Corker bill does not require Congress to approve the Iran deal before sanctions can be extinguished; Obama gets his way if Congress fails to disapprove the deal. These GOP ‘Iran hawks’ well know that Congress will surely fail to enact a joint resolution of disapproval. As the above-excerpted Times report points out, (a) Obama will veto it if one is passed, and (b) more than enough Democrats will stand with him to defeat any override attempt.”
  • “The dissenter would do well to remember that, in order to get the Corker bill across the finish line with White House support, Republican leadership provided Democrats with astonishing help: defeating amendments that, among other things, would have required Obama to certify that Iran had ceased supporting anti-American terrorism; would have automatically re-imposed sanctions in the absence of such a certification; would have required treating the deal as a treaty; would have required Iran to free the Americans it is holding in its prisons; and would have required Iran to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. The dissenter is sorely mistaken in believing that only Democrats stand to be politically embarrassed by positions the Corker legislation has boxed them into
  •  “Iran is an enemy of the United States and its acquisition of nuclear weapons, like its promotion of terrorism, is unacceptable. This situation thus presents a duty to prevent what is unacceptable, not an opportunity to abide what is unacceptable while scoring political points. Using Congress’s constitutional powers to stop the Iran deal would be statesmanship. The Corker bill is gamesmanship.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.)

Congress now has a brief period in which it could pass — then overcome a veto of — a joint resolution of disapproval of the Iran Surrender.

How likely is this with a Republican leadership that strove so hard for the Corker self-emasculation?

Andy McCarthy also reveals (click here)–

Cravenly elevating their own political interest over the national interest, many on the GOP side of the political class calculate that it is more important to avoid blame for frustrating Obama — this time, on his delusional Iran deal — than to succeed in actually frustrating Obama. But alas, that annoying Constitution is again an obstacle to shirking accountability. It does not empower the president to make binding agreements with foreign countries all on his own — on the theory that the American people should not take on enforceable international obligations or see their sovereignty compromised absent approval by the elected representatives most directly accountable to them.
Thus, the Constitution mandates that no international agreement can be binding unless it achieves either of two forms of congressional endorsement: a) super-majority approval by two-thirds of the Senate (i.e., 67 aye votes), or b) enactment through the normal legislative process, meaning passage by both chambers under their burdensome rules, then signature by the president.
 The Corker bill is a ploy to circumvent this constitutional roadblock. That is why our post-sovereign, post-constitutional president has warmed to it.” (Highlighting     Forum’s throughout.)

And maybe there is even more to it — American companies straining at the leash to export to Iran?

For Big Business always has the head chair around the Congressional Ruling Class table.

Yesterday Veronique de Rugy told us in her NRO post, “Boeing Is Going Back to Tehran — Could It Be with Ex-Im’s Help?” (click here)–

“A friend shares the following tweet, from the Tehran bureau chief of the New York Times: ‘Iran state news agency IRNA reports that Boeing wants to send a delegation to sell planes.'”

A Glance At The Munich Debate–
House of Commons, October 3-6, 1938

After Munich, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s government was sustained (click here and go to bottom of last page) by a vote of 369 to 150 — far higher opposition numbers than against the Corker Scheme.

But note Chamberlain’s tone — so different than Mr. Obama’s — on British rearmament:

“I am told that the policy which I have tried to describe is inconsistent with the continuance, and much more inconsistent with the acceleration of our present programme of arms. I am asked how I can reconcile an appeal to the country to support the continuance of this programme with the words which I used when I came back from Munich the other day and spoke of my belief that we might have peace in our time. I hope hon. Members will not be disposed to read into words used in a moment of some emotion, after a long and exhausting day, after I had driven through miles of excited, enthusiastic, cheering people–I hope they will not read into those words more than they were intended to convey. I do indeed believe that we may yet secure peace for our time, but I never meant to suggest that we should do that by disarmament, until we can induce others to disarm too.(Highlighting Forum’s.)

Make no mistake: Munich was still a disaster. Historian Martin Gilbert reports —

“For the first time in his political career — and it was nearly forty years since he had first stood for Parliament — Churchill’s optimism deserted him. Despite his appeal in Parliament for a national revival, the events of September 1938 filled him with a deep despondency….”

What is to be done now?  First, promptly and markedly improve the current GOP leadership, so that their successors do not shrink from confronting the president.  Second, use the power of the purse and the impeachment power over key Obama appointees to limit damage from the Iran Surrender. All of this will depend on whether Republicans at all levels across the US are sufficiently alarmed by this existential threat from Iran and the threat of Big Immigration.

*** When you hear Virginia GOP members — save for the courageous Dave Brat — blasting the Iran Surrender, ask them why they voted for the Corker scheme. As Brian Darling points out today in Conservative Review (click here) “Republicans will spend the next month denouncing the deal and trashing President Obama when they voted to allow the Corker-Cardin framework to govern the procedure to oppose the deal.”

2016 Election Richard Falknor on 13 Jul 2015

Very Timely Counsel For The Donald — via Steve Deace

Talk-show host Deace writes:

“This is the phone conversation Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus should have had with 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump last week:
Ring, ring.”
 * * * * * * * * * *
Priebus: That’s why you just shot to the top of the polls, Donald. Whatever wave-length you are operating on is exactly where the GOP base is at right now. They are sick and tired and want somebody – anybody — to fight for them. Yet sooner or later you are going to have to prove you have more than one bullet in your political gun if you want this to last. Illegal immigration is huge, but it can’t take you all the way to the finish line. If you are truly serious about running for president, though, I think I have an idea.
Trump: Rinse…err, I mean Reince, I’m pretty sure I fired somebody who looked just like you on one of the seasons of The Apprentice, but what the hey. This can’t possibly be any worse than the crazy concept Gary Busey pitched me that one time.
Priebus: So you’re saying there’s a chance! Now, I know nobody is going to mistake you for Billy Graham, but how would you feel about reaching into your couch cushions, pulling out about $135,000 in spare change and hopping on your private jet to Oregon in the name of defending religious freedom?”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Priebus: Exactly. This Deace guy cleverly dubbed them [The Cultural Marxists] the ‘Rainbow Jihad.’ They’ve [Sweet Cakes] been told that if they don’t bow to tyranny by Monday, then a lien will be placed on their home. But you could put a stop to it. Fly to Oregon, pay their fine and put the country on notice that you plan on defending the First Amendment with just as much zeal as our southern border.”

 * * * * * * * * * *

“Priebus: Never forget only Nixon could go to China. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t going to be celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary to the same woman any time soon. What matters is that you know business, and you don’t need to be a saint to understand that the assault on marriage and religious freedom is clearly linked to the death of a free market. So you tell the people that, no, you haven’t been a choir boy for much of your life. Yet you see now how deep and ugly this rabbit hole has gotten and enough is enough.”    (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.) 
Read all of “What Reince Priebus Should’ve Said to Donald Trump!”

Homeland Defense Richard Falknor on 12 Jul 2015

Representative Barbara Comstock — Speaking At A Ramadan Event With Questionable Auspices

Virginia’s 10th District U.S. Representative Barbara Comstock attended a “Sharing Ramadan” event earlier this month, apparently under the auspices of Emerge USA (click here for Discover The Network’s take on Emerge USA).

The Virginia first-termer spoke (listen here to the YouTube) of the importance of the First Amendment, and gushed about the work of Emerge USA.

Is Emerge USA truly a “great group,” as Mrs. Comstock declared on the YouTube? And here is her endorsement on Emerge USA’s website.

FrontPage.com’s Joe Kaufman revealed in May of 2014 (click here)–

“Emerge USA is a Florida-based organization whose unstated goal is to give radical Muslims a political voice in America.”

And noted that–

“the head of the Democratic Party Debbie Wasserman Schultz canceled her keynote address in front of Emerge just two years earlier”

Kaufman in 2014 described Emerge USA’s co-director, Florida attorney Khurrum Basir Wahid–

“Prior to helping found Emerge, Wahid was a legal advisor for the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a director of CAIR’s Florida chapter. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department as a co-conspirator to the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.
In 2011, Wahid himself was placed on a U.S. government terrorist watch list.”

Comstock (click here for the YouTube) talked to her Ramadan hosts about the First Amendment.

But does she grasp the deep conflict between free speech and Sharia?

As former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy declared (click here) last January in his “New ‘old-fashioned’ shaming” (New Criterion)–

“In the wide net cast by sharia law’s repressive blasphemy standards, such speech includes critical examinations of Islam, no matter how accurately they represent Islamic supremacism—a mainstream interpretation of Muslim doctrine that is bellicose, misogynistic, harshly discriminatory, and often cruelly punitive.”(Highlighting Forum’s)

McCarthy explains the world-wide Islamist effort to make free speech conform to Sharia’s harsh restrictions, and how this Administration enables that effort–

“At the conference in what has become known as the ‘Istanbul Process,’ Secretary Clinton lamented that the effort to stamp out the common sense commonly demagogued as ‘Islamophobia’ had been hampered by the inconvenient fact that ‘for 235 years [of American history], freedom of expression has been a universal right at the core of our democracy.’ The First Amendment made it extraordinarily difficult for government to prohibit speech explicitly. Still, she maintained that Leviathan could get the job done by an alternative route—one no doubt near and dear to the hearts of the sharia enthusiasts in her audience. The Obama administration, she promised, would ‘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.'”(Highlighting Forum’s)

After watching the Comstock YouTube, one seasoned northern Virginia Republican lamented, “Barbara sure has time for these folks, but hardly any for Tea Partiers.”

Our lawmakers need to do their homework on emerging Islamist threats!

We are not suggesting that Mrs. Comstock is some secret Sharia adherent.

What we are urging is that she — and those Virginia state lawmakers who sponsored a General Assembly commendation (click here) for the ADAMS Center (click here then here for our earlier stories)  — begin their (apparently neglected) due diligence on Sharia and Civilization Jihad.

This is no time for willful blindness.

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 05 Jul 2015

Codevilla Strikes Again: “Standing Up to the Ruling Class”

Codevilla: “Typically, however, people who live under unaccountable power follow fashion publicly and keep to family and friends such opinions as can get them in trouble. Crouching protectively, they secede from the regime individually. Thus lacking confidence in the future, they hollow out the country. America used to be an exception. No more. The official opposition in the Obama era — the Republican party’s leadership — now leads ordinary citizens in self-censorship, further convincing us that our dissent is lonely and futile. But to approve of officious lies, thereby tacitly normalizing unaccountable power, is to become worthy of it. As the great Solzhenitsyn reminds us, the sine qua non of liberty is refusal to live by lies.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Many readers will recall Angelo Codevilla’s magisterial 2010 American Spectator article “America’s Ruling Class —And the Perils of Revolution” (click here). 

Through this article and follow-on posts, Codevilla has sharpened the political understanding of many American conservatives.

This July 4th weekend, Codevilla published a new, telling post, “Standing Up to the Ruling Class”(click here), this time in National Review on Line, on our even more serious perils and how to combat them.

“The Practical Problem”

 Codevilla urges a nationwide movement of resistance —

“The practical problem in America has been that when the ruling class trains its united wrath against persons in any one sector — e.g., supporters of marriage as the dictionary and the law have defined it, or those who support economic probity or the right to keep and bear arms — the general public quietly stands by. No longer accustomed to speaking together, Americans hang separately. For the members of the public to transcend their isolation enough to threaten the ruling class’s hold on the commanding heights of American society would require a nationwide movement with which disparate individuals could identify, and which could encourage them to join together and speak up. Typically, such movements are associated with presidential campaigns.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Codevilla follows up on his presidential campaign plan —

“In our time, if a candidate were to challenge his opponents to bare-knuckle, Lincoln–Douglas sessions, his example might lead fellow citizens to reject the combination of poisonous sloganeering and of dominance, submissiveness, and corruption that now passes for politics.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

But whose campaign?  

Donald Trump is forcing a public discussion of the vastly underestimated threats of Big Immigration and porous borders, and of our self-defeating trading practices.

As Rush explains — Trump Stands Up to Cowardice”.

Ted Cruz has a deep grasp of the Constitution that one might even call Lincolnesque.

Jeffrey Lord in the Conservative Review does a fine Cruz Interview Exclusive: A Time for Truth–

“And right there is the problem that the conservative base of the GOP has long since come to believe is the core problem with the Washington Republican establishment. The issues come and go. Defunding Obamacare. Raising the debt ceiling. Challenging a Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Whatever. The intent is to manage the policies set by the left, never to challenge them – much less defeat them. Said Cruz to CR: The GOP establishment is ‘listening to lobbyists. There is a reason why Wall Street says they would be happy with either Bush or Clinton.'” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Cruz, unlike almost all other GOP politicians save for Jeff Sessions, can put complex constitutional issues into plain (and accurate) words.

One of the most valuable narratives in Cruz’ book is his expose of how Republican United States senators dissemble.

Every state or county GOP leader should speak out about the level of national GOP deception Cruz reveals.

But, from a broader conservative point of view, the Texas senator needs to work hard to come to a better mind on immigration. (Click on the two foregoing links.)

It’s not as if we were discussing the right position on an ethanol mandate or even the Export-Import Bank both of which are certainly deplorable.

Immigration– whether legal or illegal, or via under-the public-radar refugee program — is an existential threat which, without assimilation, might easily replace our people and our culture.

Unfortunately senator Jeff Sessions is not running for national office.  His emphasis on a “humble and honest populism” (click here) has few if any adherents among the GOP Ruling Class.

How many times have you heard your local GOP apparatchik talking about reaching out specifically to working-class Americans?

For conservatives, Bush, Romney, and Rubio are not serious national leaders: “Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney Join Marco Rubio In Attacking Donald Trump Over Immigration Comments: ‘A Severe Error’”

As Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle declares Adios, Marco: Ann Coulter’s New Book Shreds Rubio Credibility.

But back to basics — read all Codevilla’s July 4 post here.

Angelo Codevilla reminds us how the Ruling Class does it–

“The ruling class’s component groups jointly dismiss America’s traditional liberties because they aim to replace them with their own primacy. Having seized the power to redefine liberty, our rulers tighten their definitions around their opponents’ necks like nooses. Since their desire for primacy has no limit, they can’t stop tightening. The norms that they demand that we honor help sustain each constituency by letting its members feel good about themselves while looking down on others.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Codevilla’s July 4th essay is a liberating perspective not found elsewhere.

Stay tuned!

First things . . . Richard Falknor on 04 Jul 2015

A July 4th Prayer In These Times Of Growing Peril!

A Collect for Independence Day

 

--Elliott Banfield, Claremont Review

–Elliott Banfield, Claremont Review

“O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
— 1928 Book of Common Prayer

(Reposted from 2014 as the dangers to our nation multiply.)

Homeland Defense Richard Falknor on 02 Jul 2015

Weigh Warnings On ISIS Tunnels & Have A Vigilant July 4!

Via The Center for Security Policy, we learned of author (Day of the Dead) and IDF Reserve captain Dan Gordon’s warnings about the strategic threat of the Gaza tunnels. 

Are tunnels like those also, in the eyes of ISIS, a developing instrument for attacks across our southern border?

Listen to these two “Secure Freedom” podcasts of last Tuesday to get the full force of Gordon’s message–

  • “What ISIS learned from Hamas’ most recent loss in Gaza”
  • “Why is the U.S. more vulnerable to terror-tunnel attacks than Israel?”
  • “The tempting target that San Diego makes, and how ISIS could infiltrate it”

Dan Gordon explains “The Middle East for ISIS is a R & D laboratory for what they intend to do to the United States.”

Click on podcast below.
  • “Is an ISIS safe-haven in Northern Mexico logistically possible?”
  • “A united Arab coalition against Obama’s Iran policy”
  • “Concerns that the U.S. Congress and Administration have put the world on a path towards nuclear brinkmanship”
  • “Where the current level of unrest in the Middle East compares to the last thousand years”
Click on podcast below.

 Dan Gordon’s advice to the Congress–

Get us out of the Iran deal immediately; arm the Kurds and make them a base of action; get serious about our air strikes — needed 150 -200 strikes per day; overall, deal with ISIS in the Middle East before they come here.

 

Reforming Maryland Peter Samuel on 29 Jun 2015

Peter Samuel: Governor Kills Baltimore Rail Boondoggle; Asks Montgomery & PG Counties To Put Up More Dollars For Purple Line; Restores Roads Money

Governor Larry Hogan delivered on some major campaign promises June 25 announcing about $2 billion for road projects while cutting fancy ‘light rail’ spending.

“Building, maintaining and fixing Maryland’s roads and bridges is our top transportation priority,” Hogan said. The money will see some 84 ready projects move forward across the state.

As expected, Governor Hogan is dumping the $2.6 billion-odd light rail project in Baltimore, but he says his administration is prepared to continue with “a more cost-effective and streamlined version” of the Purple light rail line – Bethesda to New Carrollton. He says his administration will shoulder $168 million versus $700 million committed by former Governor Martin O’Malley to what was costed at about $2.5 billion.

This requires savings in the purchase of fewer rail cars (and lesser frequency of trains) plus increased contributions by Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.

All these are moves in the right direction. The light rail projects are a sinkhole for taxpayer dollars both in construction and then in operating losses in years to come. And the numbers of people they promise to serve is highly speculative. Even at the promised numbers, they shape up as hugely expensive per rider.

Northern Virginia’s Silver Line is working out expensive at $240 million per mile construction cost, but Maryland’s light rail projects are not far behind at $150 million per mile for the Purple Line and $180-plus million per mile for the Red Line. And that’s before cost overruns!

Now the Silver Line is a ‘heavy rail’ service in a fully grade-separated right of way running trains as long as eight cars, and with a design that allows 70mph running speeds.

Light rail is a kind of bastard design – a cross between a trolley/streetcar and a metro rail, limited by a lot of in-street operation (2 or 3 car trains, 30mph running speeds) that manages to incur a large proportion of the construction costs of the metro.

The Red Line had a central heavy rail type underground section over 3 miles long with five deep stations through downtown Baltimore – a ‘big dig’ kind of project horrendously difficult to manage to a budget. Much of the remainder is at-grade, an environment in which an interface has to be managed with motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Cross-streets are often closed, turns are more difficult and street space is consumed.

The Purple Line is almost all at-grade, making for easier, cheaper construction but maximizing interface problems with other modes. Average speed on the Purple line will be barely 15 mph, calling into question its ability to attract riders from other modes. (Bicycles regularly sustain 15mph!) In neither case will road congestion be improved according to the modeling.

Brookings Institution economists Winston and Maheshri (Journal of Urban Economics July 2006) compiled data on the characteristics and performance of 25 rail systems and their urban environments, modeling how they might be adapted to pay their way and produce benefits greater than their costs.

Their finding: It can’t be done. Rail in none of its forms can attract the volumes of riders needed to cover its high costs in most American cities because cars, buses and roads provide better service at much lower cost.

They concluded: “We find for all systems that the welfare optimizing (mileage) of track is zero… no optimal size for any (rail) transit system exists that enables it to generate enough consumer surplus and revenue to offset its (costs.)”

Growth and Jobs?

Economic development? This and the jobs is the most frequently touted benefit from the Red and Purple lines. Winston and Mahreshri found no measurable net effect from any of the new rail systems – just rearrangement of development with more development close to rail stops, but offset by less development elsewhere. The light rail boosters forget to mention the offsetting change on the negative side of the ledger.

The ‘Four area megaprojects compared’ panel (click on image below) I drafted shows the cost problem suffered by the light rail projects.

PeterSamuelMegaprojects-5in

 

 

I’ve gone out of my way to give them the benefit of the doubt – for example using their forecast ridership numbers (likely to be lower) and estimated costs (likely to be higher.) And I’ve used current average link volumes on 495 where we use total trips on the rail lines. So the discrepancy shown is likely to understate road’s cost advantage.

Selfdrive Technology and Roads

Looking ahead ten or fifteen years the implementation of sensing and communications technologies will enable roads and rubber-tired vehicles to get much further ahead. Selfdrive technologies will (1) turn drive-time into talk-time, internet time, email time, etc.; (2) allow cars to be run closer together for greater throughput; and (3) enable automatic valet parking. Digital mapping and matching apps are just beginning to support carpooling, ride shares, casual taxi work (Uber, Lyft, Vride, Zimride… the list goes on). Roads have advantages of flexibility and adaptability needed for the quick adoption of these kinds of productivity enhancing innovations.

Governor Hogan had little to lose politically by simply dumping the Red Line as a “wasteful boondoggle.” He could have acknowledged however that it leaves downtown Baltimore with poor connections to the Woodlawn area at the end of I-70. Some new pavement-based link is, I suggest, worth a study.

Politics and the Purple Line

The Purple Line as transportation is just as much a ‘boondoggle’ as the Red Line, perhaps more so. Crosstown routings like the Purple Line have a worse record than downtown-oriented rail. And the Purple Line is slower.

Politics however favored the Purple Line. It is fully designed and ready to go. And it is quicker and easier to build than the Red, more likely to produce a ribbon-cutting within a governor’s term of office. Governor Hogan has much more at stake politically in Montgomery County than in Baltimore. Getting the counties to contribute more, and slimming the cost a little is also smart politics.

At a recent (June 12) Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance (SMTA) ‘summit’ there were many calls for “political leadership” on three of the bigger projects, especially the Maryland Beltway Bethesda east, the I-270/495 corridor, and an ICC-VA28 link with a new Potomac River bridge.

Governor Hogan and Secretary Pete Rahn clearly think they have a big job to do with the $2 billion program they’ve announced, and understandably are reluctant to even think about SMTA’s three highway megaprojects.

Project Self-Sufficiency for Mega Undertakings

I think it would help, as suggested in a previous piece, if they were to spell out a principle of project self-sufficiency – encouraging private sector initiative in developing big projects that can pay their way with fees for use (tolls).

After all, that’s the way Virginia got its I-495 express lanes and rebuild, and improvements for cars and buses on I-95 and the Dulles Greenway.

Let the private sector wrestle with alternative routings and traffic studies and all that!

* * * * *

Peter Samuel of British and Australian upbringing has an academic background in economics, finance, and urban planning. In the U.S. from 1980 to 1992 he wrote as a daily reporter on defense and foreign policy. Then, as a freelance writer, he specialized in critical writing on the environmental movement. A longtime friend of Robert Poole, he wrote first on roads for Poole’s Reason magazine: click here. An article on toll roads commissioned by Forbes magazine in 1996 led him to specialize in reporting on the toll-roads business, first in a low circulation monthly Toll Roads Newsletter, that he established, then in the web-based TOLLROADSnews, which he sold to new management at the end of 2013. In the U.S. since 1980 he has lived in the New York area, in N.W. Washington D.C., and since 1992 in Frederick County, Maryland. He currently lives in 19th century downtown Frederick.

Homeland Defense Richard Falknor on 19 Jun 2015

UPDATED! Any Answers On Sharia From Our Local GOP Politicians? Judicial Watch Reveals “SPLC Issues Hit List of U.S. Women Against Sharia Law”

UPDATE!Poll of U.S. Muslims Reveals Ominous Levels Of Support For Islamic Supremacists’ Doctrine of Shariah, Jihad” — Center for Security Policy June 23, 2015

* * * * * * * * * *

As we tweeted yesterday, the respected Judicial Watch revealed SPLC Issues Hit List of U.S. Women Against Sharia Law–

“The Obama-tied leftist group that helped a gunman commit an act of terrorism against a conservative organization has assembled a starter kit for Islamists to attack American women who refuse to comply with Sharia law, the authoritarian doctrine that inspires Islamists and their jihadism.
It’s the summer special from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an extremist nonprofit that lists conservative organizations that disagree with it on social issues on a catalogue of ‘hate groups.’ A few years ago a gunman received a 25-year prison sentence for carrying out the politically-motivated shooting of the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters after admitting that he learned about the FRC from the SPLC ‘hate map.’ Prosecutors called it an act of terrorism and recommended a 45-year sentence.
Now the SPLC, which has conducted diversity training for the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ), is targeting female bloggers, activists and television personalities who refuse to comply with Sharia law which is rooted in the Quran. The European Court on Human rights has repeatedly ruled that Sharia is ‘incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy’ yet politically-connected radical Muslim groups—such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)—keep pushing to implement it in the United States and the movement has gained steam.
Among those resisting this effort publicly are the high-profile women being targeted by the SPLC. Some of them are colleagues or friends of Judicial Watch and now they must fear for their safety simply for practicing their rights under the U.S. Constitution. The new hate list is titled Women Against Islam/The Dirty Dozen and includes illustrations and detailed information on all the women, who are branded ‘the core of the anti-Muslim radical right.’ The new SPLC hate brochure further targets them by claiming that they’re ‘a dozen of the most hardline anti-Muslim women activists in America.’
Political activist and commentator Pamela Geller is branded the ‘country’s most flamboyant and visible Muslim-basher’ for, among other things ‘smearing and demonizing Muslims.’ Blogger Ann Barnhardt is identified as one of the ‘most extreme Muslim-bashers in the United States’ and radio talk-show host Laura Ingram made the list for saying that hundreds of millions of Muslims were delighted that 12 people were massacred by Islamic terrorists in the Paris headquarters of a satirical magazine. Former CIA agent Clare Lopez, who runs a Washington D.C. think-tank focusing on national security issues, made the list for saying that the Muslim Brotherhood has ‘infiltrated and suborned the U.S. government to actively assist…the mission of its grand jihad.’
Others appearing on the anti-Sharia docket include television personality and former judge and prosecutor Jeanine Pirro, former chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party Cathie Adams, talk-show host Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, syndicated columnist Diana West, attorney and columnist Debbie Schlussel, blogger Cathy Hinners, ACT! for America founder Brigitte Gabriel and conservative writer and TV personality Ann Coulter. Among her biggest offenses, according to the SPLC, is proclaiming that ‘not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims—at least all terrorists capable of assembling a murderous plot against America.'” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Today RRW Strikes Back!

Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch(RRW) spotlights the Southern Poverty Law Center’s war on women!

“The filthy rich Southern Poverty Law Center announced its list of 12 women it claims are anti-sharia activists according to Judicial Watch blog yesterday in a post entitled, ‘SPLC Issues Hit List of U.S. Women Against Sharia Law.’
So here is what I would like to know, if any of these women are harmed (God forbid), could the Southern Poverty Law Center be sued and possibly charged with instigating a ‘hate’ crime? Just wondering…..”(Highlighting Forum’s)

Our Question to Local GOP Figures:
Should
America, should Virginia, should Maryland, be concerned with the dangers of Sharia?

 

Yesterday’s analysis from Judicial Watch of the SPLC attack has again put these issues on the front table.

These Republican legislators

who sponsored this year’s Virginia General Assembly commendation** of the ADAMS Center

“RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend the ADAMS Center for more than 30 years of comprehensive service to the community; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the ADAMS Center as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for the center’s contributions to Northern Virginia.” — House Joint Resolution No. 934 (final text February 26, 2015)

must have given these matters extensive thought and reflection. (Readers may wish to visit our article on the commendation here.)

So let’s hear the judgments of each of the ADAMS Center commendation sponsors: LeMunyon, Minchew, Ramadan, Rust, and Greason on

      and

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Faithful readers will recall our article of March 6, 2014 on the Virginia General Assembly’s earlier commendation for the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center:  MORE! VA House of Delegates ‘Commend’ A Mosque With A Dark Past.

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