Category: Janet Levy

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The European Union Would Love to Control Your Internet Use


Imagine an internet in which users can’t freely blog, parody, share material, or remix content – an online experience in which linking, code-sharing, and the unfettered use of art and images would be nearly impossible due to legal limitations.  Unfortunately, this scenario – a restrictive internet culture – may soon be a reality in the European Union with the recent passage of the European Unions Copyright Directive.  This new E.U. decree, which includes provisions for filtering and surveillance, could have a chilling effect on internet creativity and innovation, potentially increase censorship, and impose new market barriers for businesses worldwide.

The new regulations were originally proposed two years ago as part of the E.U.’s Digital Single Market policy that applies to 28 E.U. member-states and the four non-E.U. states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.  Essentially, it could have a global impact on non-E.U. countries across the world similar to the effect of the E.U.’s 2016 E.U.-wide data protection rules created under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The GDPR took effect in May this year and standardized data protection laws and set guidelines on controlling personally identifiable data.  The Copyright Directive imposes requirements that will change the way netizens interface with online content by imposing mandatory upload filtering, a link tax, and certain prohibitions on user-generated content in public spaces.  It requires online platforms to implement privacy-killing filtering systems that will ban content usage under the justification of copyright protections.  Platforms will be held liable for copyright infringement and fines that could threaten their economic viability.  To add to the confusion, the directive is just that, a suggestion, so each E.U. and non-E.U. party must create its own interpretation of the laws.  The result could be that all 28 E.U. member-states have their own separate definition of what part of a link can be used and copyrighted. 

As part of the proposed Copyright Directive, bots, applications that run automated tasks, will act as censors and arbitrarily decide what content can be accessed and shared or even deleted without the consent of the intended user.  No technology will exist to distinguish between the outright copying of material and various forms of commentary.  Under the E.U. directive, revenue streams could be claimed by publishers for small amounts of information, even tables, headlines, or images.  Uploading of research articles from online repositories will be forbidden, and non-profit education services and universities will have to obtain copyright licenses and install filters.  All data, research papers, and articles will exist behind a virtual paywall.  Articles for submission will need to be scanned for potential copyright violations.  Exemptions are proposed for research carried out “in the public interest,” but how that will be defined and who will be making those decisions are uncertain.  Exemptions could easily be decided along political lines, amounting to a form of point-of-view censorship.

More specifically, Article 11 of the new policies will require a mandatory link tax by publishers for using more than one word of existing text from a given article unless the user has previously purchased a license from the news platform in question.  News sites will be free to determine their pricing structures and approve or reject customers based on criteria they alone determine.  This could mean that a particular website could theoretically reject a buyer who might critique content and favor one who would comment approvingly.

Article 12a will prohibit the posting of photos or videos of sports events under the pretext that the content and images belong to the organizers who have total authority on how they will present or promote their matches.  Images captured in public arenas that incidentally contain copyrighted art or other objects are verboten with no exceptions for “user-generated content.”  In other words, a family photo taken at a soccer game may not be permitted on Facebook.  A shot at an art gallery that includes a painting in the background could violate the letter of the law if texted.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, the E.U. even rejected a proposal to make it legal to photograph street scenes without conflicting with the new copyright laws.

Under Article 13, most platforms will be required to utilize filters that evaluate content and censor any copyright infringements.  A letter of protest to the European Parliament president, signed primarily by I.T. community members, characterized Article 13 as taking “an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”  This directive could severely limit connectivity and the freedom of digital expression by favoring publishers and equipping them with the power to extract royalties and block content.

The European Commission also proposed new rules requiring removal of terrorist content from platforms within one hour of posting, subject to penalties of up to 4% of the hosting company’s annual global revenue.  Previously, the effort to limit terrorist content online was voluntary.  It was formalized by the E.C. due to the increased number of European terrorist attacks that have resulted from internet misuse.

According to the EFF, websites will be required to pay the link tax to news publishers to use any quoted text from an original article and the fee may not be waived.  The fact that no published material can be freely used will have a profound effect on what information is available to the public.  Complex filtering systems and copyright infringement liabilities will involve costs that far exceed the financial resources of all but the biggest platforms, such as major internet players and mainstream media.  The increased staffing requirements to monitor and adjudicate legitimate versus unlawful content usage will be beyond the means of smaller platforms and non-profits.  Plus, witting or unwitting false copyright claims could be made that would delay or suppress the publication of material critical for all kinds of end-user decision-making, the formulation of political perspectives, voting patterns, the development of new technology, and beyond.   

In the case of filtering errors, platforms will not face a level playing field when appealing a blocking decision.  Small businesses will find this a difficult and expensive hurdle to overcome, whereas larger entertainment and news companies will wield more clout to overturn instances of incorrect filtering.

Now that the E.U. Copyright Directive has been passed, closed-door meetings will begin between representatives of member countries and the European Union to finalize the language to be presented to the European Parliament for consideration.  The 28 E.U. member-states will then devise and enact their own versions of the legislation, potentially creating a legislative nightmare.

It remains to be seen how this newly mandated regulation of the content and practices of internet companies will impact the formerly free and unfettered internet.  In the words of the EFF on the day the Copyright Directive was adopted by the European Parliament, “Today, Europe lost the internet.  Now, we fight back.”

Imagine an internet in which users can’t freely blog, parody, share material, or remix content – an online experience in which linking, code-sharing, and the unfettered use of art and images would be nearly impossible due to legal limitations.  Unfortunately, this scenario – a restrictive internet culture – may soon be a reality in the European Union with the recent passage of the European Unions Copyright Directive.  This new E.U. decree, which includes provisions for filtering and surveillance, could have a chilling effect on internet creativity and innovation, potentially increase censorship, and impose new market barriers for businesses worldwide.

The new regulations were originally proposed two years ago as part of the E.U.’s Digital Single Market policy that applies to 28 E.U. member-states and the four non-E.U. states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.  Essentially, it could have a global impact on non-E.U. countries across the world similar to the effect of the E.U.’s 2016 E.U.-wide data protection rules created under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The GDPR took effect in May this year and standardized data protection laws and set guidelines on controlling personally identifiable data.  The Copyright Directive imposes requirements that will change the way netizens interface with online content by imposing mandatory upload filtering, a link tax, and certain prohibitions on user-generated content in public spaces.  It requires online platforms to implement privacy-killing filtering systems that will ban content usage under the justification of copyright protections.  Platforms will be held liable for copyright infringement and fines that could threaten their economic viability.  To add to the confusion, the directive is just that, a suggestion, so each E.U. and non-E.U. party must create its own interpretation of the laws.  The result could be that all 28 E.U. member-states have their own separate definition of what part of a link can be used and copyrighted. 

As part of the proposed Copyright Directive, bots, applications that run automated tasks, will act as censors and arbitrarily decide what content can be accessed and shared or even deleted without the consent of the intended user.  No technology will exist to distinguish between the outright copying of material and various forms of commentary.  Under the E.U. directive, revenue streams could be claimed by publishers for small amounts of information, even tables, headlines, or images.  Uploading of research articles from online repositories will be forbidden, and non-profit education services and universities will have to obtain copyright licenses and install filters.  All data, research papers, and articles will exist behind a virtual paywall.  Articles for submission will need to be scanned for potential copyright violations.  Exemptions are proposed for research carried out “in the public interest,” but how that will be defined and who will be making those decisions are uncertain.  Exemptions could easily be decided along political lines, amounting to a form of point-of-view censorship.

More specifically, Article 11 of the new policies will require a mandatory link tax by publishers for using more than one word of existing text from a given article unless the user has previously purchased a license from the news platform in question.  News sites will be free to determine their pricing structures and approve or reject customers based on criteria they alone determine.  This could mean that a particular website could theoretically reject a buyer who might critique content and favor one who would comment approvingly.

Article 12a will prohibit the posting of photos or videos of sports events under the pretext that the content and images belong to the organizers who have total authority on how they will present or promote their matches.  Images captured in public arenas that incidentally contain copyrighted art or other objects are verboten with no exceptions for “user-generated content.”  In other words, a family photo taken at a soccer game may not be permitted on Facebook.  A shot at an art gallery that includes a painting in the background could violate the letter of the law if texted.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, the E.U. even rejected a proposal to make it legal to photograph street scenes without conflicting with the new copyright laws.

Under Article 13, most platforms will be required to utilize filters that evaluate content and censor any copyright infringements.  A letter of protest to the European Parliament president, signed primarily by I.T. community members, characterized Article 13 as taking “an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”  This directive could severely limit connectivity and the freedom of digital expression by favoring publishers and equipping them with the power to extract royalties and block content.

The European Commission also proposed new rules requiring removal of terrorist content from platforms within one hour of posting, subject to penalties of up to 4% of the hosting company’s annual global revenue.  Previously, the effort to limit terrorist content online was voluntary.  It was formalized by the E.C. due to the increased number of European terrorist attacks that have resulted from internet misuse.

According to the EFF, websites will be required to pay the link tax to news publishers to use any quoted text from an original article and the fee may not be waived.  The fact that no published material can be freely used will have a profound effect on what information is available to the public.  Complex filtering systems and copyright infringement liabilities will involve costs that far exceed the financial resources of all but the biggest platforms, such as major internet players and mainstream media.  The increased staffing requirements to monitor and adjudicate legitimate versus unlawful content usage will be beyond the means of smaller platforms and non-profits.  Plus, witting or unwitting false copyright claims could be made that would delay or suppress the publication of material critical for all kinds of end-user decision-making, the formulation of political perspectives, voting patterns, the development of new technology, and beyond.   

In the case of filtering errors, platforms will not face a level playing field when appealing a blocking decision.  Small businesses will find this a difficult and expensive hurdle to overcome, whereas larger entertainment and news companies will wield more clout to overturn instances of incorrect filtering.

Now that the E.U. Copyright Directive has been passed, closed-door meetings will begin between representatives of member countries and the European Union to finalize the language to be presented to the European Parliament for consideration.  The 28 E.U. member-states will then devise and enact their own versions of the legislation, potentially creating a legislative nightmare.

It remains to be seen how this newly mandated regulation of the content and practices of internet companies will impact the formerly free and unfettered internet.  In the words of the EFF on the day the Copyright Directive was adopted by the European Parliament, “Today, Europe lost the internet.  Now, we fight back.”



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The Once 'Golden State' Is Badly Tarnished


With crime soaring, rampant homelessness, sanctuary state status attracting the highest illegal immigrant population in the country and its “worst state in the U.S. to do business” ranking for more than a decade, California and its expansive, debt-ridden, progressive government is devolving into a third-world country. In cities such as San Francisco, public defecation is legal, drug use is flagrant, and tent cities are designated biohazards. In once pristine San Diego, contractors have been spraying down homeless encampments with household bleach to stave off a hepatitis A epidemic. The so-called “Golden State,” which now has the highest poverty rate in the nation, is tarnished beyond recognition with such serious problems that the sublime climate and striking coastline may no longer be enough to sustain its reputation and cachet. With laws that benefit criminals and illegals, big government that endeavors to control every aspect of residents’ lives from plastic bags to straws; sanctioned street, tent, and vehicle dwelling; and an unaffordable overhyped bullet train boondoggle that will cost taxpayers almost $100 billion, California is headed for economic disaster.

Rising Crime

In the past few years, California has instituted criminal justice reform legislation and initiatives, ostensibly to reduce budget expenditures and prison overcrowding, which has led invariably to the release of more criminals into the state’s population.

  • Proposition 47, a referendum passed in 2014, reclassified certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors and required misdemeanor sentencing for theft when the amount involved is $950 or less. Drug possession for personal use is now considered a misdemeanor.
  • Proposition 57, a statewide ballot proposition passed in 2016, changed parole policies for those convicted of nonviolent felonies. But the proposition failed to define “nonviolent crimes”. The result was that those committing “nonviolent” crimes such as rape of an unconscious or intoxicated person, assault of a police office, domestic violence, hostage taking, drive-by shootings, and human trafficking of a child became eligible for early parole based on a paper review in lieu of a parole hearing.
  • Assembly Bill 1448 and Assembly Bill 1308 allow for the early release of prisoners who are 60 years or older who have served at least 25 years of their sentence and prisoners who committed crimes at least 25 years or younger who have served at least 15 years, respectively. Both were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017.
  • In June this year, Gov. Brown signed into law AB 1810, that gives defendants a chance to have their charges dismissed and evidence of their arrest erased from the record if they can convince a judge that they suffer from a treatable mental disorder. Such defendants could be offered a pretrial diversion of two years to undergo mental health treatment.

As may have been expected with lenient policies, violent crime and property crime rates in the state increased and will mostly likely soar in the aftermath of some of the newly implemented measures.  An FBI study of crime rates from 2014 to 2015 found that 48 California cities saw overall increases with 24 experiencing increases in the double digits for property crime, an increase directly attributable to Prop. 47, according to Marc Debbaudt, past president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.

Homelessness

As of 2017, California had a homeless population of over 134,000, or one quarter of the nation’s homeless. UCLA researcher William Yu noted that 26% of California’s homeless are severely mentally ill, 18% are chronic drug abusers, 9% are veterans and 24% are victims of domestic abuse. Orange County Supervisor, Tod Spitzer attributes much of the problem to legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown over the past few years that markedly decreased the penalties for drug use, possession, and petty crimes, thereby reducing arrests and eliminating mandatory treatment for drug abuse and mental health treatment.

Where other states have successfully instituted welfare-to-work programs, California’s liberal government has resisted pro-work reforms and retained a system of cash disbursements with no strings attached. This has led to a state bureaucracy that continues to grow and expand its budget, staffing, and client base. Inordinately high housing prices, somewhat driven by restrictive land use and environmental regulations, have exacerbated the problem.

Civil rights organizations such as the ACLU have made the homelessness issue a difficult one to tackle. In 2003, the ACLU filed a lawsuit, Jones v. City of Los Angeles, on behalf of homeless people who were ticketed and arrested for sleeping on public sidewalks at night. In 2006, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the lawsuit by striking down the Los Angeles ordinance that made it a crime for homeless people to sleep on the streets when no shelter is available. Not only is it permissible to pitch a tent in many areas in the state but also vehicle dwelling is allowed in Los Angeles residential areas from 6:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. and in business and industrial areas from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Illegal Immigration

California, a sanctuary state, is home to at least 4 million illegal immigrants and their children. National Economics Editorial, a website that covers economic issues, has estimated that those in the state illegally contribute $3.5 billion in taxes while costing California approximately $30.3 billion annually, or 17.7% of the state budget. According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), more than half are unskilled, uneducated, and lack English proficiency.

Services to illegals include welfare, food stamps, meal programs, free immunizations, low-cost housing and in-state tuition rates. In addition, children of illegals make up 18% of the public-school population, straining the already burdened school system by increasing student-to-teacher ratios and by impeding the learning process with supplemental, English-language instruction.

Unchecked illegal immigration comes with a marked increase in crime rates. Those who have broken the law to come to the United States are overrepresented in murder charges, drug trafficking, and gang violence. Increased policing, court, and incarceration costs put additional strain on the justice syste. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that illegal immigrants committed over 13% of all U.S. crime, and a particularly high level of violent and drug-related crimes, according to criminologist and law enforcement expert Ron Martinelli. A substantial illegal immigrant population coupled with a policy signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2014 that protects criminal illegal immigrants by reducing their sentences to fall below federal standards for deportation further aggravates the problem. This, at a time when 59% of Californians want to increase deportations of illegals.

In a measure that would add to costs and incentivize illegal entry, California gubernatorial candidate, Gavin Newsom, plans to issue an Executive Order to grant universal healthcare, if elected. Former governor Pete Wilson warns that a system that removes all market-based competition could produce annual budget shortfalls of $40 billion, add six million illegals to the healthcare rolls, encourage medical tourism, and restrict the range of care and increase waiting times for California citizens. The resulting elimination of competitive private sector health care options would mean that more businesses and sources of tax revenue will leave the state.

Poor Business Climate

In 2014, Chief Executive magazine quoted CEO comments like  “California goes out of its way to be anti-business,” “California continues to lead in disincentives for growth businesses to stay,” and “The regulatory, tax and political environment are crushing.” California’s reputation as the worst state to do business has a lot to do with its high tax rates.  In addition to having the highest state income tax in the nation, it has the highest sales tax rate, the 9th highest corporate income tax rate, one of the highest property tax rates and the highest gasoline tax rate. Yet, with a shortfall of $612 billion when future pensions, bond repayments and other debts are added to the budget shortfall, the state is drowning in debt, more than twice as much debt as any other state. In addition, the cost of living is 36% higher than the national rate, and, at 23.4%, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to former California Assemblyman Steve Baldwin. 

California, a world leader in technology, entertainment, agriculture, and a past global trendsetter in culture and innovation, has been dominated for decades by a government made up of far-left ideologues. These so-called “progressives” have supported an ever-growing and onerous regulatory climate that effectively redistributes wealth by adding to an already burdensome rate of taxation and expanding entitlement programs. Given the current business environment and policies on crime, homelessness, and illegal entry that are likely to continue, the once “Golden State” could become a failed state in short order if left unchecked.  In the words of Steve Baldwin, “A state cannot chase away the producers and attract the takers year after year without economic consequences.” 

With crime soaring, rampant homelessness, sanctuary state status attracting the highest illegal immigrant population in the country and its “worst state in the U.S. to do business” ranking for more than a decade, California and its expansive, debt-ridden, progressive government is devolving into a third-world country. In cities such as San Francisco, public defecation is legal, drug use is flagrant, and tent cities are designated biohazards. In once pristine San Diego, contractors have been spraying down homeless encampments with household bleach to stave off a hepatitis A epidemic. The so-called “Golden State,” which now has the highest poverty rate in the nation, is tarnished beyond recognition with such serious problems that the sublime climate and striking coastline may no longer be enough to sustain its reputation and cachet. With laws that benefit criminals and illegals, big government that endeavors to control every aspect of residents’ lives from plastic bags to straws; sanctioned street, tent, and vehicle dwelling; and an unaffordable overhyped bullet train boondoggle that will cost taxpayers almost $100 billion, California is headed for economic disaster.

Rising Crime

In the past few years, California has instituted criminal justice reform legislation and initiatives, ostensibly to reduce budget expenditures and prison overcrowding, which has led invariably to the release of more criminals into the state’s population.

  • Proposition 47, a referendum passed in 2014, reclassified certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors and required misdemeanor sentencing for theft when the amount involved is $950 or less. Drug possession for personal use is now considered a misdemeanor.
  • Proposition 57, a statewide ballot proposition passed in 2016, changed parole policies for those convicted of nonviolent felonies. But the proposition failed to define “nonviolent crimes”. The result was that those committing “nonviolent” crimes such as rape of an unconscious or intoxicated person, assault of a police office, domestic violence, hostage taking, drive-by shootings, and human trafficking of a child became eligible for early parole based on a paper review in lieu of a parole hearing.
  • Assembly Bill 1448 and Assembly Bill 1308 allow for the early release of prisoners who are 60 years or older who have served at least 25 years of their sentence and prisoners who committed crimes at least 25 years or younger who have served at least 15 years, respectively. Both were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017.
  • In June this year, Gov. Brown signed into law AB 1810, that gives defendants a chance to have their charges dismissed and evidence of their arrest erased from the record if they can convince a judge that they suffer from a treatable mental disorder. Such defendants could be offered a pretrial diversion of two years to undergo mental health treatment.

As may have been expected with lenient policies, violent crime and property crime rates in the state increased and will mostly likely soar in the aftermath of some of the newly implemented measures.  An FBI study of crime rates from 2014 to 2015 found that 48 California cities saw overall increases with 24 experiencing increases in the double digits for property crime, an increase directly attributable to Prop. 47, according to Marc Debbaudt, past president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.

Homelessness

As of 2017, California had a homeless population of over 134,000, or one quarter of the nation’s homeless. UCLA researcher William Yu noted that 26% of California’s homeless are severely mentally ill, 18% are chronic drug abusers, 9% are veterans and 24% are victims of domestic abuse. Orange County Supervisor, Tod Spitzer attributes much of the problem to legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown over the past few years that markedly decreased the penalties for drug use, possession, and petty crimes, thereby reducing arrests and eliminating mandatory treatment for drug abuse and mental health treatment.

Where other states have successfully instituted welfare-to-work programs, California’s liberal government has resisted pro-work reforms and retained a system of cash disbursements with no strings attached. This has led to a state bureaucracy that continues to grow and expand its budget, staffing, and client base. Inordinately high housing prices, somewhat driven by restrictive land use and environmental regulations, have exacerbated the problem.

Civil rights organizations such as the ACLU have made the homelessness issue a difficult one to tackle. In 2003, the ACLU filed a lawsuit, Jones v. City of Los Angeles, on behalf of homeless people who were ticketed and arrested for sleeping on public sidewalks at night. In 2006, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the lawsuit by striking down the Los Angeles ordinance that made it a crime for homeless people to sleep on the streets when no shelter is available. Not only is it permissible to pitch a tent in many areas in the state but also vehicle dwelling is allowed in Los Angeles residential areas from 6:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. and in business and industrial areas from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Illegal Immigration

California, a sanctuary state, is home to at least 4 million illegal immigrants and their children. National Economics Editorial, a website that covers economic issues, has estimated that those in the state illegally contribute $3.5 billion in taxes while costing California approximately $30.3 billion annually, or 17.7% of the state budget. According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), more than half are unskilled, uneducated, and lack English proficiency.

Services to illegals include welfare, food stamps, meal programs, free immunizations, low-cost housing and in-state tuition rates. In addition, children of illegals make up 18% of the public-school population, straining the already burdened school system by increasing student-to-teacher ratios and by impeding the learning process with supplemental, English-language instruction.

Unchecked illegal immigration comes with a marked increase in crime rates. Those who have broken the law to come to the United States are overrepresented in murder charges, drug trafficking, and gang violence. Increased policing, court, and incarceration costs put additional strain on the justice syste. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that illegal immigrants committed over 13% of all U.S. crime, and a particularly high level of violent and drug-related crimes, according to criminologist and law enforcement expert Ron Martinelli. A substantial illegal immigrant population coupled with a policy signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2014 that protects criminal illegal immigrants by reducing their sentences to fall below federal standards for deportation further aggravates the problem. This, at a time when 59% of Californians want to increase deportations of illegals.

In a measure that would add to costs and incentivize illegal entry, California gubernatorial candidate, Gavin Newsom, plans to issue an Executive Order to grant universal healthcare, if elected. Former governor Pete Wilson warns that a system that removes all market-based competition could produce annual budget shortfalls of $40 billion, add six million illegals to the healthcare rolls, encourage medical tourism, and restrict the range of care and increase waiting times for California citizens. The resulting elimination of competitive private sector health care options would mean that more businesses and sources of tax revenue will leave the state.

Poor Business Climate

In 2014, Chief Executive magazine quoted CEO comments like  “California goes out of its way to be anti-business,” “California continues to lead in disincentives for growth businesses to stay,” and “The regulatory, tax and political environment are crushing.” California’s reputation as the worst state to do business has a lot to do with its high tax rates.  In addition to having the highest state income tax in the nation, it has the highest sales tax rate, the 9th highest corporate income tax rate, one of the highest property tax rates and the highest gasoline tax rate. Yet, with a shortfall of $612 billion when future pensions, bond repayments and other debts are added to the budget shortfall, the state is drowning in debt, more than twice as much debt as any other state. In addition, the cost of living is 36% higher than the national rate, and, at 23.4%, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to former California Assemblyman Steve Baldwin. 

California, a world leader in technology, entertainment, agriculture, and a past global trendsetter in culture and innovation, has been dominated for decades by a government made up of far-left ideologues. These so-called “progressives” have supported an ever-growing and onerous regulatory climate that effectively redistributes wealth by adding to an already burdensome rate of taxation and expanding entitlement programs. Given the current business environment and policies on crime, homelessness, and illegal entry that are likely to continue, the once “Golden State” could become a failed state in short order if left unchecked.  In the words of Steve Baldwin, “A state cannot chase away the producers and attract the takers year after year without economic consequences.” 



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Education Jihad: Promoting Islam in American Schools


For decades, organizations and individuals have undermined our American education system by attacking our beliefs in a constitutional republic and our fundamental Judeo-Christian principles.  These have been supplanted with a “multicultural” viewpoint, which has taken the place of traditional American perspectives and values with accommodation and appeasement of protected minorities depicted as victims of the dominant culture.  Oil-rich Arab-Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia and its Muslim Brotherhood cohorts, have used multiculturalism to target impressionable youths in our public schools, promote Islam, and advance Islamic political agendas.  Under the subterfuge of promoting a multicultural educational environment, these agents have replaced time-honored educational materials of American ideals and historical perspectives with anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Judeo-Christian, and pro-Islamic rhetoric.

This re-engineering of the education system to disproportionately highlight the virtues and contributions of Islamic ideology is part of “civilizational jihad,” the enemy’s term for the subversion of our society.  It was defined in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” presented as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial.  The document calls for the stealth takeover of North America through infiltration of all of society, with the ultimate goal of destroying the U.S. and turning it into a Muslim nation.

Over the past 40-plus years, this infiltration has occurred in education, with the Saudi royal family contributing billions in gifts and endowments to U.S. universities to spread anti-American and anti-Israel propaganda.  Through creation of Middle East studies centers at top institutions of higher learning, the Saudis have influenced curricula and textbook content.  Those involved include several Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and Islamist organizations, such as the Institute on Religion and Civil Values (formerly the Council on Islamic Education), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Institute of Islamic Information and Education (IIIE), the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), Saudi-endowed Islamic and Middle East studies centers, and others.  Their activities within our public schools include seminars and training programs for teachers, textbook creation and editing, curriculum development, lesson plans, student worksheets, and instructional videos.

Saudi success comes mainly from exploitation of Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which authorizes federal grants to university programs, including Middle East studies centers.  Title VI grantees must produce outreach programs for our nation’s educators, and pro-Islamic organizations have attained legitimacy by partnering with top universities.  Using U.S. taxpayer-subsidized lesson plans and seminars for America’s K-12 teachers with the imprimatur of schools like Harvard, infiltrators easily integrated Islamic perspectives into the K-12 curriculum, avoiding  public vetting and government oversight.  Materials promoting Islam, denigrating Judaism and Christianity, and criticizing alleged American prejudice against the Muslim world insidiously made their way into American education.  Some of the materials in use go so far as to blame America for terrorism and decry prejudice against Muslims in the U.S.

One of the key teaching resources promoted by Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies outreach program was the controversial, propaganda-laden “Arab World Studies Notebook,” a factually incorrect textbook purported to promote “the Arab point of view.”  The text is almost devoid of citations and promotes a pro-Islam, Muslim-centric view of history.  According to a recent report by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), “Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam,” the widely used text erroneously cites Jerusalem as “an Arab city” and fails to acknowledge ancient Judaic and Christian ties to the Israeli capital.  It fallaciously claims that Islam’s ties are “equally long and much deeper,” even though Islam emerged only in the 7th century A.D.  The Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) noted that the “notebook” implies that Jews have undue impact on U.S. foreign policy and that Israel was created after American Jewish lobbying.  It also proposes the supremacy of Islam and denigrates beliefs held by Jews and Christians, suggesting that the Quran “synthesizes and perfects earlier revelations.”

Meanwhile, a key Islamic educational textbook author has been Muslim convert Susan Douglass.  A principal researcher and writer for the Institute on Religion and Civil Values (IRCV), Douglass was also an educational consultant for the Saudi-funded Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and a member of the editorial board of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ISNA.  The IIIT, created expressly to influence higher education, teachers, and textbooks, published books written by Douglass used in American schools.  Douglass reviewed world history textbooks of three major publishers – McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Prentice Hall – and was allowed to present a view promoting Islam and in accordance with IRCV recommendations.  Douglass and the IRCV have had a major impact on the textbook presentation of Islam, minimizing its violent aspects and making the ideology attractive to non-Muslim children.  Douglass was also instrumental in developing standards for teaching religion in public schools and providing teacher and curriculum guidelines.

Douglas and her husband previously taught at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, dubbed “Terror High” by some media outlets.  In 2007, the school was found in violation of federal law by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for using discriminatory materials that teach students to “hate” Jews, Christians, and other “unbelievers” and that espouse violent jihad as a religious duty for Muslims.

The organization for which Douglass has been an author, the Institute on Religion and Civic Values, is a national non-profit with a mission “to support and strengthen American public education” by drawing on “civic, ethical and educational principles in Islam.”  The group’s leadership and collaborators are connected to Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as IIIT, CAIR, and the Muslim American Society (MAS), among others.  IRCV focuses on portraying a positive view of Islam in K-12 education and vetting textbooks.  It developed a curriculum manual for students to “simulate becoming Muslims”; was instrumental in minimizing the teaching of Judaism, Christianity, and other faiths; and changed the educational approach in many schools from informational teaching on Islam to indoctrination and proselytizing.

Meanwhile, yet another organization, The Institute of Islamic Information and Education, an ISNA branch, began in Chicago as far back as1985 to convey the Islamic message throughout North America, open non-Muslims to Islam, and “remove fabricated materials from circulation.”  It evaluates educational materials for their portrayal of Islam and monitors books, publishers, authors, and school districts for anything deemed “misinformation” and “misperceptions” of Islam and Muslims.  The institute also produces and distributes dawa booklets and videos.

In 2011 in the Newton, Massachusetts school district, the Muslim push came to a head.  Parents expressed concern about divergence from factual, objective accounts of history and current events, as well as one-sided materials designed to indoctrinate students in specific political agendas.  Research by Newton parents revealed that the concept of jihad was presented solely as an inner personal struggle of spiritual discipline and not the predominant, traditional obligation to wage war in Allah’s name and bring the world under Islam.  Texts presented Islam as peaceful and tolerant.  Parents found that Islam received significantly more study time than was devoted to the avowed “false beliefs” of Christianity and Judaism.  Parental complaints about the controversial curriculum were characterized by school officials as “McCarthyesque.”  School officials accused parents of jeopardizing academic freedom and defended the materials.

CAMERA examined the materials and concurred that textbooks and lesson plans focused on teaching students about Islam and presenting foundational Islamic beliefs, historical Islamic expansion, and the so-called Islamic “Golden Age.”  Missing were negative aspects of Islamic history and societal practices, including the extensive and longstanding Arab-Muslim slave trade, honor killings, stoning of accused adulteresses, and treatment of women as property.  Muslim women were falsely claimed to have more autonomy than Western women, and extensive Muslim bigotry in the U.S. was presented.  Terrorism was falsely described as a deviation and misinterpretation of the tenets of the faith.  CAMERA published a monograph on its findings, further alarming parents with the many anti-American, anti-Judeo-Christian, pro-Islamic materials existent within the Newton school district.

Another Islamic indoctrination program, “Access Islam,” has been instituted in various school systems nationwide.  Produced with assistance from Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of IRCV, and CAIR-affiliated Debbie Almontaser, and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, “Access Islam” teaches students how to follow the five pillars of Islam and instills the belief that Allah is G-d.  According to the Christian Action Network (CAN), students must learn and interpret verses from the Quran.  A video features a Christian convert to Islam who jubilantly explains how he now worships the one true G-d, in a direct slam against Christianity and Judaism.  Wherever “Access Islam” is presented, similar programs are not provided on Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other religion.

All of the school programs cited above represent a multi-pronged approach to destroy Western civilization and impose an Islamist worldview through university endowments, educator indoctrination, and development of history textbooks and curricula for K-12 students.  Under the guise of teaching history and promoting multiculturalism, American students are indoctrinated in the supremacy of Islam above all other faiths.  In several cases, federal courts have upheld the right of public schools to indoctrinate students in the Muslim religion and its spiritual practices, categorically denying the same privilege to Christian doctrine.  In light of this doctrinal push, parents must be vigilant and steadfast as stewards of their children’s educational and moral development.  Schools and administrators must be held accountable.

When President Trump recently presented the 2018 budget, he recognized Title VI as a vehicle to promote anti-American, anti-Israel, and pro-Islamic propaganda and eliminated its funding.  It remains to be seen if Congress implements his request and eliminates this insidious program.

For decades, organizations and individuals have undermined our American education system by attacking our beliefs in a constitutional republic and our fundamental Judeo-Christian principles.  These have been supplanted with a “multicultural” viewpoint, which has taken the place of traditional American perspectives and values with accommodation and appeasement of protected minorities depicted as victims of the dominant culture.  Oil-rich Arab-Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia and its Muslim Brotherhood cohorts, have used multiculturalism to target impressionable youths in our public schools, promote Islam, and advance Islamic political agendas.  Under the subterfuge of promoting a multicultural educational environment, these agents have replaced time-honored educational materials of American ideals and historical perspectives with anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Judeo-Christian, and pro-Islamic rhetoric.

This re-engineering of the education system to disproportionately highlight the virtues and contributions of Islamic ideology is part of “civilizational jihad,” the enemy’s term for the subversion of our society.  It was defined in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” presented as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial.  The document calls for the stealth takeover of North America through infiltration of all of society, with the ultimate goal of destroying the U.S. and turning it into a Muslim nation.

Over the past 40-plus years, this infiltration has occurred in education, with the Saudi royal family contributing billions in gifts and endowments to U.S. universities to spread anti-American and anti-Israel propaganda.  Through creation of Middle East studies centers at top institutions of higher learning, the Saudis have influenced curricula and textbook content.  Those involved include several Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and Islamist organizations, such as the Institute on Religion and Civil Values (formerly the Council on Islamic Education), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Institute of Islamic Information and Education (IIIE), the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), Saudi-endowed Islamic and Middle East studies centers, and others.  Their activities within our public schools include seminars and training programs for teachers, textbook creation and editing, curriculum development, lesson plans, student worksheets, and instructional videos.

Saudi success comes mainly from exploitation of Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which authorizes federal grants to university programs, including Middle East studies centers.  Title VI grantees must produce outreach programs for our nation’s educators, and pro-Islamic organizations have attained legitimacy by partnering with top universities.  Using U.S. taxpayer-subsidized lesson plans and seminars for America’s K-12 teachers with the imprimatur of schools like Harvard, infiltrators easily integrated Islamic perspectives into the K-12 curriculum, avoiding  public vetting and government oversight.  Materials promoting Islam, denigrating Judaism and Christianity, and criticizing alleged American prejudice against the Muslim world insidiously made their way into American education.  Some of the materials in use go so far as to blame America for terrorism and decry prejudice against Muslims in the U.S.

One of the key teaching resources promoted by Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies outreach program was the controversial, propaganda-laden “Arab World Studies Notebook,” a factually incorrect textbook purported to promote “the Arab point of view.”  The text is almost devoid of citations and promotes a pro-Islam, Muslim-centric view of history.  According to a recent report by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), “Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam,” the widely used text erroneously cites Jerusalem as “an Arab city” and fails to acknowledge ancient Judaic and Christian ties to the Israeli capital.  It fallaciously claims that Islam’s ties are “equally long and much deeper,” even though Islam emerged only in the 7th century A.D.  The Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) noted that the “notebook” implies that Jews have undue impact on U.S. foreign policy and that Israel was created after American Jewish lobbying.  It also proposes the supremacy of Islam and denigrates beliefs held by Jews and Christians, suggesting that the Quran “synthesizes and perfects earlier revelations.”

Meanwhile, a key Islamic educational textbook author has been Muslim convert Susan Douglass.  A principal researcher and writer for the Institute on Religion and Civil Values (IRCV), Douglass was also an educational consultant for the Saudi-funded Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and a member of the editorial board of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ISNA.  The IIIT, created expressly to influence higher education, teachers, and textbooks, published books written by Douglass used in American schools.  Douglass reviewed world history textbooks of three major publishers – McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Prentice Hall – and was allowed to present a view promoting Islam and in accordance with IRCV recommendations.  Douglass and the IRCV have had a major impact on the textbook presentation of Islam, minimizing its violent aspects and making the ideology attractive to non-Muslim children.  Douglass was also instrumental in developing standards for teaching religion in public schools and providing teacher and curriculum guidelines.

Douglas and her husband previously taught at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, dubbed “Terror High” by some media outlets.  In 2007, the school was found in violation of federal law by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for using discriminatory materials that teach students to “hate” Jews, Christians, and other “unbelievers” and that espouse violent jihad as a religious duty for Muslims.

The organization for which Douglass has been an author, the Institute on Religion and Civic Values, is a national non-profit with a mission “to support and strengthen American public education” by drawing on “civic, ethical and educational principles in Islam.”  The group’s leadership and collaborators are connected to Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as IIIT, CAIR, and the Muslim American Society (MAS), among others.  IRCV focuses on portraying a positive view of Islam in K-12 education and vetting textbooks.  It developed a curriculum manual for students to “simulate becoming Muslims”; was instrumental in minimizing the teaching of Judaism, Christianity, and other faiths; and changed the educational approach in many schools from informational teaching on Islam to indoctrination and proselytizing.

Meanwhile, yet another organization, The Institute of Islamic Information and Education, an ISNA branch, began in Chicago as far back as1985 to convey the Islamic message throughout North America, open non-Muslims to Islam, and “remove fabricated materials from circulation.”  It evaluates educational materials for their portrayal of Islam and monitors books, publishers, authors, and school districts for anything deemed “misinformation” and “misperceptions” of Islam and Muslims.  The institute also produces and distributes dawa booklets and videos.

In 2011 in the Newton, Massachusetts school district, the Muslim push came to a head.  Parents expressed concern about divergence from factual, objective accounts of history and current events, as well as one-sided materials designed to indoctrinate students in specific political agendas.  Research by Newton parents revealed that the concept of jihad was presented solely as an inner personal struggle of spiritual discipline and not the predominant, traditional obligation to wage war in Allah’s name and bring the world under Islam.  Texts presented Islam as peaceful and tolerant.  Parents found that Islam received significantly more study time than was devoted to the avowed “false beliefs” of Christianity and Judaism.  Parental complaints about the controversial curriculum were characterized by school officials as “McCarthyesque.”  School officials accused parents of jeopardizing academic freedom and defended the materials.

CAMERA examined the materials and concurred that textbooks and lesson plans focused on teaching students about Islam and presenting foundational Islamic beliefs, historical Islamic expansion, and the so-called Islamic “Golden Age.”  Missing were negative aspects of Islamic history and societal practices, including the extensive and longstanding Arab-Muslim slave trade, honor killings, stoning of accused adulteresses, and treatment of women as property.  Muslim women were falsely claimed to have more autonomy than Western women, and extensive Muslim bigotry in the U.S. was presented.  Terrorism was falsely described as a deviation and misinterpretation of the tenets of the faith.  CAMERA published a monograph on its findings, further alarming parents with the many anti-American, anti-Judeo-Christian, pro-Islamic materials existent within the Newton school district.

Another Islamic indoctrination program, “Access Islam,” has been instituted in various school systems nationwide.  Produced with assistance from Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of IRCV, and CAIR-affiliated Debbie Almontaser, and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, “Access Islam” teaches students how to follow the five pillars of Islam and instills the belief that Allah is G-d.  According to the Christian Action Network (CAN), students must learn and interpret verses from the Quran.  A video features a Christian convert to Islam who jubilantly explains how he now worships the one true G-d, in a direct slam against Christianity and Judaism.  Wherever “Access Islam” is presented, similar programs are not provided on Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other religion.

All of the school programs cited above represent a multi-pronged approach to destroy Western civilization and impose an Islamist worldview through university endowments, educator indoctrination, and development of history textbooks and curricula for K-12 students.  Under the guise of teaching history and promoting multiculturalism, American students are indoctrinated in the supremacy of Islam above all other faiths.  In several cases, federal courts have upheld the right of public schools to indoctrinate students in the Muslim religion and its spiritual practices, categorically denying the same privilege to Christian doctrine.  In light of this doctrinal push, parents must be vigilant and steadfast as stewards of their children’s educational and moral development.  Schools and administrators must be held accountable.

When President Trump recently presented the 2018 budget, he recognized Title VI as a vehicle to promote anti-American, anti-Israel, and pro-Islamic propaganda and eliminated its funding.  It remains to be seen if Congress implements his request and eliminates this insidious program.



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Muslim Brotherhood Political Infiltration on Steroids


In 2008, during the largest terrorism funding trial in U.S. history, United States v. Holy Land Foundation, a document published in 1991 outlined Muslim plans to take over America.  An Explanatory Memorandum:  On the General Strategic Goal for the Group, seized in a 2004 FBI raid of the Virginia home of a Muslim Brotherhood operative, was presented during the trial as evidence of “a Civilization-Jihadist Process.” It outlined the Muslim Brotherhood goal to conduct a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated.”  

For several decades, this well-organized and well-funded effort to subvert our constitutional republic and replace it with an Islamic government under Islamic law has focused on infiltrating all levels and branches of the U.S. government. More recently, the Muslim Brotherhood presence within the American political landscape has intensified, accelerated, and become more visible with the establishment of several nonprofit political action organizations. The Muslim Brotherhood stated goal of transforming American society from within in preparation for an eventual takeover is clearly moving forward fueled by the efforts of these groups and their burgeoning success within the umma or Muslim community.

As early as 1987, a declassified FBI confidential informant document described the Muslim Brotherhood as “political action front groups with no traceable ties to Muslim groups” that are organizing external political support to influence both public opinion in America and the U.S. government and its leadership. The informant who disclosed this information told authorities that the MB acknowledged the need to “peacefully get inside the United States Government” for the purpose of meeting “the ultimate goal of overthrowing all non-Islamic governments.” 

In 2010, one such “peaceful” group, Project Mobilize, was created by M. Yasser Tabbara to empower and engage the political potential of the Muslim community.  Its mission statement called for the exploitation of the growing political capital of the umma, the promotion of issues important to Muslim Americans and the development of strategies for political advocacy on their behalf.  In 2011, Project Mobilize began fielding its first Muslim candidates for political office.  

Project Mobilize’s founder, Tabbara, is a former executive director the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial. Other board members include Safaa Zarzour, the secretary general of another unindicted co-conspirator and Muslim Brotherhood front, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Oussama Jammal, vice president of the Mosque Foundation, a known center for terrorism fundraising and haven for Hamas operatives.  

In 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., representatives from eight Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups announced formation of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a political party for Muslims and the first religion-based political party in U.S. history. At the meeting, the founders disclosed their plans to expand Muslim participation in the American political process by encouraging more Muslims to vote, work on political campaigns and run for office themselves.

Oussama Jammal, who was involved in fundraising for convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian and serves as director of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliate, the Muslim American Society (MAS), headed the new organization. MAS, created in the early 1990s, was itself begun as the U.S. branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and was designated a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates. Mazen Mokhtar, another USCMO founding member, also had MAS ties, having served as its executive director. An Egyptian-born imam, Mokhtar served as webmaster for a site that solicited funds for Taliban and Chechen jihadists. In 2007, he was indicted by then-New Jersey Attorney General Chris Christie for tax evasion and filing false tax returns. 

In 2015, a new organization, Jetpac Inc. (Justice, Education and Technology Policy Advocacy Center) was begun by Nadeem Mazen, Massachusett’s first Muslim city council member. Jetpac was established as an “open call for American Muslims to immerse themselves in local politics.” The group trains American Muslim community leaders and educates them about the political process. According to their website, they have prepared more than 15 aspiring candidates for office in Maine, New York, Rhode Island, and California. The group’s activities include development of proprietary software for social media outreach, fundraising and canvassing techniques, media communication and campaign strategy skills as well as advice on combatting negative impressions of Muslims. In addition, Jetpac teaches a course on U.S. government and politics at a Massachusetts Islamic school that focuses on grassroots organizing and the history of the civil rights movement.

Following his stint as a Cambridge City Council member, Mazen, a founding member of CAIR Massachusetts and former president of MIT’s MSA, announced plans to run for Congress as the third elected Muslim after Keith Hakim Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN). Just this week, Mazen launched his campaign for Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District seat. A telling indicator of his more radical views is the fact that Mazen opposed President Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program and criticized moderate Muslim groups as promoters of “imperialistic-style” initiatives to “foist secular attitudes on Muslims.”

Another political race worth watching involves a CAIR official running for the Des Moines, Iowa, city council. Somali Muslim refugee and president of CAIR Iowa, Abshir Omar, is running as a Democratic Socialist to represent downtown Des Moines and the city’s southwest side. City council members can wield significant power and influence over all aspects of community life. Typically, they make key appointments such as city managers, police and fire department heads, library board members, parks and recreation supervisors, transportation directors, as well as administrators for arts councils, housing authorities and planning commissions.  

Meanwhile, the background of Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, another Islamist operative who intends to run for governor of Massachusetts in the future, should cause grave concern. Wadud, who served on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, has extensive radical Islamic ties. She served as an executive board member for CAIR Massachusetts and as the general counsel for Jamaat ul-Fuqra a.k.a. Muslims of America, a group alleged to have close ties to Al Qaeda.  

Jamaat ul-Fuqra was founded in 1980 by Pakistani Sheikh Gilani, who was associated with shoe bomber Richard Reid and implicated in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl. According to the Clarion Project, Wadud posted an anti-Semitic article by Gilani on her Facebook that claimed Jewish complicity in the 9/11 and Pearl Harbor attacks.

Jamaat ul-Fuqra has done more than simply issue social media propaganda, however. The terrorist entity has approximately two dozen paramilitary training centers across the U.S. and its members participated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It is known to proselytize and recruit black prison inmates and reportedly seeks “to purify Islam through violence.” The Center for Policing Terrorism maintains that Jamaat ul-Fuqra “may be the best positioned group to launch an attack on the United States, or, more likely, help al-Qaeda to do so.”  

Another Muslim with terrorist ties is a political candidate in Arizona. Southern Baptist convert to Islam, Deedra Abboud, a Phoenix attorney and community activist who served as the executive director of CAIR Arizona and is currently associated with the Muslim American Society, is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator in her state. Abboud opposes President Trump’s policy to temporarily ban refugees from designated Muslim countries rife with terrorist activity. She also opposed the U.S. cruise missile bombing that followed Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians. Identifying as a feminist, Abboud defends her husband’s right under Islam to have four wives although she admits that she wouldn’t be happy with it. She helped raise bail money for deceased Muslim terrorist, Elton Simpson, when he was convicted of lying to the FBI about his plans to engage in Islamic terrorist activities in Somalia. Simpson, in the first ISIS-claimed attack on U.S. soil, tried to kill participants at the Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas in 2015. In 2009, Abboud made a statement about the acceptability of police learning Arabic to better understand the Muslim community. However, she objected to the study of Arabic as a law enforcement tool for investigating potential Islamic terrorist activity deeming it targeting.

Self-described devout Muslim and son of Egyptian immigrant parents, Abdul El-Sayed, has substantial connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and is running for governor of Michigan. A medical doctor who served as the executive director of the Detroit Health Department at age 30, his background includes serving as vice president of his MSA chapter at the University of Michigan during his college years. His wife, Sarah Jukaku, who is described as “a mental health doctor,” wears a hijab. His father-in-law is a former president and current board member of CAIR Michigan. 

Quite troubling is the fact that El-Sayed is endorsed by Linda Sarsour, an advocate for the Hamas initiative for the boycott, divestment, and sanctioning of Israel and an activist who played a major role in pressuring the NYPD to discontinue its surveillance of mosques and Muslim organizations post-9/11. That surveillance effort had yielded critical intelligence about terrorist activities. Sarsour is one of El-Sayed’s biggest supporters and is reportedly helping fundraise for El-Sayed’s gubernatorial campaign. She is also a close friend of the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Huma Abedin, has family members who have been arrested for aiding and abetting Hamas, openly supports shariah law and has been a featured speaker at Muslim Brotherhood groups that were designated as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial. 

All of the above demonstrate that the Muslim Brotherhood is increasing its political clout in America. As more of its candidates are elected to office, deeper penetration of American society comes within their grasp. Their stated goal to destroy our society from within and replace the Constitution with the tenets of shariah could become a reality. Their adeptness at appealing to the American public by using the coded language of multiculturalism and by professing a moderate Islam has proved to be an unfortunate asset. In the words of former FBI analyst and expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, John Guandolo, who has closely studied their deceptive language and appearance, Muslim Brotherhood operatives are “suit-wearing jihadis who pretend they’re friendly but they’re not.” America should be alert and aware. 

In 2008, during the largest terrorism funding trial in U.S. history, United States v. Holy Land Foundation, a document published in 1991 outlined Muslim plans to take over America.  An Explanatory Memorandum:  On the General Strategic Goal for the Group, seized in a 2004 FBI raid of the Virginia home of a Muslim Brotherhood operative, was presented during the trial as evidence of “a Civilization-Jihadist Process.” It outlined the Muslim Brotherhood goal to conduct a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated.”  

For several decades, this well-organized and well-funded effort to subvert our constitutional republic and replace it with an Islamic government under Islamic law has focused on infiltrating all levels and branches of the U.S. government. More recently, the Muslim Brotherhood presence within the American political landscape has intensified, accelerated, and become more visible with the establishment of several nonprofit political action organizations. The Muslim Brotherhood stated goal of transforming American society from within in preparation for an eventual takeover is clearly moving forward fueled by the efforts of these groups and their burgeoning success within the umma or Muslim community.

As early as 1987, a declassified FBI confidential informant document described the Muslim Brotherhood as “political action front groups with no traceable ties to Muslim groups” that are organizing external political support to influence both public opinion in America and the U.S. government and its leadership. The informant who disclosed this information told authorities that the MB acknowledged the need to “peacefully get inside the United States Government” for the purpose of meeting “the ultimate goal of overthrowing all non-Islamic governments.” 

In 2010, one such “peaceful” group, Project Mobilize, was created by M. Yasser Tabbara to empower and engage the political potential of the Muslim community.  Its mission statement called for the exploitation of the growing political capital of the umma, the promotion of issues important to Muslim Americans and the development of strategies for political advocacy on their behalf.  In 2011, Project Mobilize began fielding its first Muslim candidates for political office.  

Project Mobilize’s founder, Tabbara, is a former executive director the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial. Other board members include Safaa Zarzour, the secretary general of another unindicted co-conspirator and Muslim Brotherhood front, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Oussama Jammal, vice president of the Mosque Foundation, a known center for terrorism fundraising and haven for Hamas operatives.  

In 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., representatives from eight Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups announced formation of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a political party for Muslims and the first religion-based political party in U.S. history. At the meeting, the founders disclosed their plans to expand Muslim participation in the American political process by encouraging more Muslims to vote, work on political campaigns and run for office themselves.

Oussama Jammal, who was involved in fundraising for convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian and serves as director of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliate, the Muslim American Society (MAS), headed the new organization. MAS, created in the early 1990s, was itself begun as the U.S. branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and was designated a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates. Mazen Mokhtar, another USCMO founding member, also had MAS ties, having served as its executive director. An Egyptian-born imam, Mokhtar served as webmaster for a site that solicited funds for Taliban and Chechen jihadists. In 2007, he was indicted by then-New Jersey Attorney General Chris Christie for tax evasion and filing false tax returns. 

In 2015, a new organization, Jetpac Inc. (Justice, Education and Technology Policy Advocacy Center) was begun by Nadeem Mazen, Massachusett’s first Muslim city council member. Jetpac was established as an “open call for American Muslims to immerse themselves in local politics.” The group trains American Muslim community leaders and educates them about the political process. According to their website, they have prepared more than 15 aspiring candidates for office in Maine, New York, Rhode Island, and California. The group’s activities include development of proprietary software for social media outreach, fundraising and canvassing techniques, media communication and campaign strategy skills as well as advice on combatting negative impressions of Muslims. In addition, Jetpac teaches a course on U.S. government and politics at a Massachusetts Islamic school that focuses on grassroots organizing and the history of the civil rights movement.

Following his stint as a Cambridge City Council member, Mazen, a founding member of CAIR Massachusetts and former president of MIT’s MSA, announced plans to run for Congress as the third elected Muslim after Keith Hakim Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN). Just this week, Mazen launched his campaign for Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District seat. A telling indicator of his more radical views is the fact that Mazen opposed President Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program and criticized moderate Muslim groups as promoters of “imperialistic-style” initiatives to “foist secular attitudes on Muslims.”

Another political race worth watching involves a CAIR official running for the Des Moines, Iowa, city council. Somali Muslim refugee and president of CAIR Iowa, Abshir Omar, is running as a Democratic Socialist to represent downtown Des Moines and the city’s southwest side. City council members can wield significant power and influence over all aspects of community life. Typically, they make key appointments such as city managers, police and fire department heads, library board members, parks and recreation supervisors, transportation directors, as well as administrators for arts councils, housing authorities and planning commissions.  

Meanwhile, the background of Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, another Islamist operative who intends to run for governor of Massachusetts in the future, should cause grave concern. Wadud, who served on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, has extensive radical Islamic ties. She served as an executive board member for CAIR Massachusetts and as the general counsel for Jamaat ul-Fuqra a.k.a. Muslims of America, a group alleged to have close ties to Al Qaeda.  

Jamaat ul-Fuqra was founded in 1980 by Pakistani Sheikh Gilani, who was associated with shoe bomber Richard Reid and implicated in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl. According to the Clarion Project, Wadud posted an anti-Semitic article by Gilani on her Facebook that claimed Jewish complicity in the 9/11 and Pearl Harbor attacks.

Jamaat ul-Fuqra has done more than simply issue social media propaganda, however. The terrorist entity has approximately two dozen paramilitary training centers across the U.S. and its members participated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It is known to proselytize and recruit black prison inmates and reportedly seeks “to purify Islam through violence.” The Center for Policing Terrorism maintains that Jamaat ul-Fuqra “may be the best positioned group to launch an attack on the United States, or, more likely, help al-Qaeda to do so.”  

Another Muslim with terrorist ties is a political candidate in Arizona. Southern Baptist convert to Islam, Deedra Abboud, a Phoenix attorney and community activist who served as the executive director of CAIR Arizona and is currently associated with the Muslim American Society, is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator in her state. Abboud opposes President Trump’s policy to temporarily ban refugees from designated Muslim countries rife with terrorist activity. She also opposed the U.S. cruise missile bombing that followed Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians. Identifying as a feminist, Abboud defends her husband’s right under Islam to have four wives although she admits that she wouldn’t be happy with it. She helped raise bail money for deceased Muslim terrorist, Elton Simpson, when he was convicted of lying to the FBI about his plans to engage in Islamic terrorist activities in Somalia. Simpson, in the first ISIS-claimed attack on U.S. soil, tried to kill participants at the Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas in 2015. In 2009, Abboud made a statement about the acceptability of police learning Arabic to better understand the Muslim community. However, she objected to the study of Arabic as a law enforcement tool for investigating potential Islamic terrorist activity deeming it targeting.

Self-described devout Muslim and son of Egyptian immigrant parents, Abdul El-Sayed, has substantial connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and is running for governor of Michigan. A medical doctor who served as the executive director of the Detroit Health Department at age 30, his background includes serving as vice president of his MSA chapter at the University of Michigan during his college years. His wife, Sarah Jukaku, who is described as “a mental health doctor,” wears a hijab. His father-in-law is a former president and current board member of CAIR Michigan. 

Quite troubling is the fact that El-Sayed is endorsed by Linda Sarsour, an advocate for the Hamas initiative for the boycott, divestment, and sanctioning of Israel and an activist who played a major role in pressuring the NYPD to discontinue its surveillance of mosques and Muslim organizations post-9/11. That surveillance effort had yielded critical intelligence about terrorist activities. Sarsour is one of El-Sayed’s biggest supporters and is reportedly helping fundraise for El-Sayed’s gubernatorial campaign. She is also a close friend of the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Huma Abedin, has family members who have been arrested for aiding and abetting Hamas, openly supports shariah law and has been a featured speaker at Muslim Brotherhood groups that were designated as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial. 

All of the above demonstrate that the Muslim Brotherhood is increasing its political clout in America. As more of its candidates are elected to office, deeper penetration of American society comes within their grasp. Their stated goal to destroy our society from within and replace the Constitution with the tenets of shariah could become a reality. Their adeptness at appealing to the American public by using the coded language of multiculturalism and by professing a moderate Islam has proved to be an unfortunate asset. In the words of former FBI analyst and expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, John Guandolo, who has closely studied their deceptive language and appearance, Muslim Brotherhood operatives are “suit-wearing jihadis who pretend they’re friendly but they’re not.” America should be alert and aware. 



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The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America


Slavery in America, typically associated with blacks from Africa, was an enterprise that began with the shipping of more than 300,000 white Britons to the colonies.  This little known history is fascinatingly recounted in White Cargo (New York University Press, 2007).  Drawing on letters, diaries, ship manifests, court documents, and government archives, authors Don Jordan and Michael Walsh detail how thousands of whites endured the hardships of tobacco farming and lived and died in bondage in the New World. 

Following the cultivation in 1613 of an acceptable tobacco crop in Virginia, the need for labor accelerated.  Slavery was viewed as the cheapest and most expedient way of providing the necessary work force.  Due to harsh working conditions, beatings, starvation, and disease, survival rates for slaves rarely exceeded two years.  Thus, the high level of demand was sustained by a continuous flow of white slaves from England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1618 to 1775, who were imported to serve America’s colonial masters. 

These white slaves in the New World consisted of street children plucked from London’s back alleys, prostitutes, and impoverished migrants searching for a brighter future and willing to sign up for indentured servitude.  Convicts were also persuaded to avoid lengthy sentences and executions on their home soil by enslavement in the British colonies.  The much maligned Irish, viewed as savages worthy of ethnic cleansing and despised for their rejection of Protestantism, also made up a portion of America’s first slave population, as did Quakers, Cavaliers, Puritans, Jesuits, and others.

Around 1618 at the start of their colonial slave trade, the English began by seizing and shipping to Virginia impoverished children, even toddlers, from London slums.  Some impoverished parents sought a better life for their offspring and agreed to send them, but most often, the children were sent despite their own protests and those of their families.  At the time, the London authorities represented their actions as an act of charity, a chance for a poor youth to apprentice in America, learn a trade, and avoid starvation at home.  Tragically, once these unfortunate youngsters arrived, 50% of them were dead within a year after being sold to farmers to work the fields.

A few months after the first shipment of children, the first African slaves were shipped to Virginia.  Interestingly, no American market existed for African slaves until late in the 17th century.  Until then, black slave traders typically took their cargo to Bermuda.  England’s poor were the colonies’ preferred source of slave labor, even though Europeans were more likely than Africans to die an early death in the fields.  Slave owners had a greater interest in keeping African slaves alive because they represented a more significant investment.  Black slaves received better treatment than Europeans on plantations, as they were viewed as valuable, lifelong property rather than indentured servants with a specific term of service.

These indentured servants represented the next wave of laborers.  They were promised land after a period of servitude, but most worked unpaid for up to15 years with few ever owning any land.  Mortality rates were high.  Of the 1,200 who arrived in 1619, more than two thirds perished in the first year from disease, working to death, or Indian raid killings.  In Maryland, out of 5,000 indentured servants who entered the colony between 1670 and 1680, 1,250 died in bondage, 1,300 gained their right to freedom, and only 241 ever became landowners. 

Early in the 17th century, the headright system, a land allocation program to attract new colonists, began in Jamestown, Virginia as an attempt to solve labor shortages.  The program provided acreage to heads of households that funded travel to the colony for destitute individuals to work the land.  It led to the sharp growth of indentured servitude and slavery because the more slaves imported by a colonist, the larger the tracts of land received.  Promises of prosperity and land were used to lure the poor, who were typically enslaved for three to 15 years.  All the while, agents profited handsomely by augmenting their land holdings.  Corruption was rampant in the headright system and included double-counting of individual slaves, land allocations for servants who were dead upon arrival, and per head fees given for those kidnapped off English streets.

Purveyors of slaves often worked in teams of spirits, captains, and office-keepers to kidnap people from English ports for sale in the American labor market.  Spirits lured or kidnapped potential servants and arranged for their transport with ship captains.  Office-keepers maintained a base to run the operation.  They would entertain their prey and get them to sign papers until an awaiting ship became available.  Spirits and their accomplices were occasionally put on trial, but court records show that they got off easily and that the practice was tolerated because it was so profitable.

The indentured servant system of people who voluntarily mortgaged their freedom evolved into slavery.  England essentially dumped its unwanted in the American colonies, where they were treated no better than livestock.  Servants were regularly battered, whipped, and humiliated.  Disease was rampant, food was in short supply, and working and living conditions were grim.  War with local native Indian tribes was common.  Severe punishment made escape unrealistic.  Initially, running away was considered a capital crime, with clemency granted in exchange for an agreement to increase the period of servitude.

In the 1640s, the transportation of the Irish began.  Britain’s goal was to obliterate Ireland’s Catholics to make room for English planters.  Catholics who refused to attend a Protestant church could be fined.  If they were unable to pay, they could be sold as slaves.  Following the end of the English Civil Wars in 1651, English military and political leader Oliver Cromwell focused his attention on Ireland, where the people had allied with the defeated royalists during the conflict.  Famine was created by the intentional destruction of food stocks.  Those implicated in the rebellion had their land confiscated and were sold into slavery.  Anyone refusing to relocate was threatened with death, including children.

Scots were also subjected to transportation to the British colonies for religious differences, as England imposed Anglican disciplines on the Church of Scotland as well.  The English army was deployed to break up illegal church assemblies and imprison or deport religious protesters. 

Cruelty to servants was rampant.  Beatings were common, and the perpetrators, buttressed by juries made up of fellow landowners, were rarely punished for abuse or even murder.  In time, efforts were made to improve the lot of servants.  Legislation in 1662 provided for a “competent diet, clothing and lodging” and disciplinary measures not to “exceed the bounds of moderation.”  Servants were granted the right to complain, but the cruelty continued. 

Infanticide by unmarried women was common, as they could be severely punished for “fornication.”  The mother faced a whipping, fines, and extra years added to her servitude.  Her offspring faced time in bondage as well.  If the mother was the victim of a rape by the master, he faced a fine and the loss of a servant but wasn’t subjected to whipping.

Several uprisings in the American colonies awakened slave owners to problems, exposing their vulnerability within the caste-like master-servant social system they had created.  In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon, an aristocrat from England who became a Virginia colonist, instigated an insurrection, referred to as Bacon’s Rebellion, that changed the course of white slavery. 

Prior to Bacon’s Rebellion, much discontentment existed among servants over seemingly empty promises of land following their periods of indenture.  When they were finally freed of their obligations, many found that they couldn’t afford the required land surveying fees and the exorbitant poll taxes. 

In 1675, when war broke out with some of the native tribes, Bacon joined the side of the warring settlers and offered freedom to every slave and servant who deserted his master and joined Bacon in battle.  Hundreds enthusiastically joined him in the insurgency.  When Bacon died suddenly, his supporters fled or surrendered; some were recaptured, put in chains, and beaten or hanged.  However, because of the revolt, whites gained rights.  Whippings were forbidden without a formal judicial order. 

By the early 1770s, the convict trade was big business, more profitable than the black slave trade because criminals were cheap.  They could be sold for one third the price of indentured servants.  England’s jails were being emptied into America on a significant scale.  Additionally, merchants who traded in convicts from England and Ireland received a subsidy for every miscreant transported to America.  Up to a third of incoming convicts died from dysentery, smallpox, typhoid, and freezing temperatures.  Upon arrival, they were advertised for sale, inspected, and taken away in chains by new masters.

Following the Revolutionary War, the British continued to ship convict labor as “indentured servants” to America.  During that time, seven ships filled with prisoners made the journey, and two successfully landed.  In 1789, convict importation was legally banned across the U.S.  America would no longer be the dumping ground for British criminals.  It took another 30 years before the indentured servant trade ended completely.  

A well written and well researched historical narrative, White Cargo does an excellent job of elucidating a forgotten part of our colonial past by telling the story of thousands of Britons who lived and died in bondage before African slaves were transported to the New World.

Slavery in America, typically associated with blacks from Africa, was an enterprise that began with the shipping of more than 300,000 white Britons to the colonies.  This little known history is fascinatingly recounted in White Cargo (New York University Press, 2007).  Drawing on letters, diaries, ship manifests, court documents, and government archives, authors Don Jordan and Michael Walsh detail how thousands of whites endured the hardships of tobacco farming and lived and died in bondage in the New World. 

Following the cultivation in 1613 of an acceptable tobacco crop in Virginia, the need for labor accelerated.  Slavery was viewed as the cheapest and most expedient way of providing the necessary work force.  Due to harsh working conditions, beatings, starvation, and disease, survival rates for slaves rarely exceeded two years.  Thus, the high level of demand was sustained by a continuous flow of white slaves from England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1618 to 1775, who were imported to serve America’s colonial masters. 

These white slaves in the New World consisted of street children plucked from London’s back alleys, prostitutes, and impoverished migrants searching for a brighter future and willing to sign up for indentured servitude.  Convicts were also persuaded to avoid lengthy sentences and executions on their home soil by enslavement in the British colonies.  The much maligned Irish, viewed as savages worthy of ethnic cleansing and despised for their rejection of Protestantism, also made up a portion of America’s first slave population, as did Quakers, Cavaliers, Puritans, Jesuits, and others.

Around 1618 at the start of their colonial slave trade, the English began by seizing and shipping to Virginia impoverished children, even toddlers, from London slums.  Some impoverished parents sought a better life for their offspring and agreed to send them, but most often, the children were sent despite their own protests and those of their families.  At the time, the London authorities represented their actions as an act of charity, a chance for a poor youth to apprentice in America, learn a trade, and avoid starvation at home.  Tragically, once these unfortunate youngsters arrived, 50% of them were dead within a year after being sold to farmers to work the fields.

A few months after the first shipment of children, the first African slaves were shipped to Virginia.  Interestingly, no American market existed for African slaves until late in the 17th century.  Until then, black slave traders typically took their cargo to Bermuda.  England’s poor were the colonies’ preferred source of slave labor, even though Europeans were more likely than Africans to die an early death in the fields.  Slave owners had a greater interest in keeping African slaves alive because they represented a more significant investment.  Black slaves received better treatment than Europeans on plantations, as they were viewed as valuable, lifelong property rather than indentured servants with a specific term of service.

These indentured servants represented the next wave of laborers.  They were promised land after a period of servitude, but most worked unpaid for up to15 years with few ever owning any land.  Mortality rates were high.  Of the 1,200 who arrived in 1619, more than two thirds perished in the first year from disease, working to death, or Indian raid killings.  In Maryland, out of 5,000 indentured servants who entered the colony between 1670 and 1680, 1,250 died in bondage, 1,300 gained their right to freedom, and only 241 ever became landowners. 

Early in the 17th century, the headright system, a land allocation program to attract new colonists, began in Jamestown, Virginia as an attempt to solve labor shortages.  The program provided acreage to heads of households that funded travel to the colony for destitute individuals to work the land.  It led to the sharp growth of indentured servitude and slavery because the more slaves imported by a colonist, the larger the tracts of land received.  Promises of prosperity and land were used to lure the poor, who were typically enslaved for three to 15 years.  All the while, agents profited handsomely by augmenting their land holdings.  Corruption was rampant in the headright system and included double-counting of individual slaves, land allocations for servants who were dead upon arrival, and per head fees given for those kidnapped off English streets.

Purveyors of slaves often worked in teams of spirits, captains, and office-keepers to kidnap people from English ports for sale in the American labor market.  Spirits lured or kidnapped potential servants and arranged for their transport with ship captains.  Office-keepers maintained a base to run the operation.  They would entertain their prey and get them to sign papers until an awaiting ship became available.  Spirits and their accomplices were occasionally put on trial, but court records show that they got off easily and that the practice was tolerated because it was so profitable.

The indentured servant system of people who voluntarily mortgaged their freedom evolved into slavery.  England essentially dumped its unwanted in the American colonies, where they were treated no better than livestock.  Servants were regularly battered, whipped, and humiliated.  Disease was rampant, food was in short supply, and working and living conditions were grim.  War with local native Indian tribes was common.  Severe punishment made escape unrealistic.  Initially, running away was considered a capital crime, with clemency granted in exchange for an agreement to increase the period of servitude.

In the 1640s, the transportation of the Irish began.  Britain’s goal was to obliterate Ireland’s Catholics to make room for English planters.  Catholics who refused to attend a Protestant church could be fined.  If they were unable to pay, they could be sold as slaves.  Following the end of the English Civil Wars in 1651, English military and political leader Oliver Cromwell focused his attention on Ireland, where the people had allied with the defeated royalists during the conflict.  Famine was created by the intentional destruction of food stocks.  Those implicated in the rebellion had their land confiscated and were sold into slavery.  Anyone refusing to relocate was threatened with death, including children.

Scots were also subjected to transportation to the British colonies for religious differences, as England imposed Anglican disciplines on the Church of Scotland as well.  The English army was deployed to break up illegal church assemblies and imprison or deport religious protesters. 

Cruelty to servants was rampant.  Beatings were common, and the perpetrators, buttressed by juries made up of fellow landowners, were rarely punished for abuse or even murder.  In time, efforts were made to improve the lot of servants.  Legislation in 1662 provided for a “competent diet, clothing and lodging” and disciplinary measures not to “exceed the bounds of moderation.”  Servants were granted the right to complain, but the cruelty continued. 

Infanticide by unmarried women was common, as they could be severely punished for “fornication.”  The mother faced a whipping, fines, and extra years added to her servitude.  Her offspring faced time in bondage as well.  If the mother was the victim of a rape by the master, he faced a fine and the loss of a servant but wasn’t subjected to whipping.

Several uprisings in the American colonies awakened slave owners to problems, exposing their vulnerability within the caste-like master-servant social system they had created.  In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon, an aristocrat from England who became a Virginia colonist, instigated an insurrection, referred to as Bacon’s Rebellion, that changed the course of white slavery. 

Prior to Bacon’s Rebellion, much discontentment existed among servants over seemingly empty promises of land following their periods of indenture.  When they were finally freed of their obligations, many found that they couldn’t afford the required land surveying fees and the exorbitant poll taxes. 

In 1675, when war broke out with some of the native tribes, Bacon joined the side of the warring settlers and offered freedom to every slave and servant who deserted his master and joined Bacon in battle.  Hundreds enthusiastically joined him in the insurgency.  When Bacon died suddenly, his supporters fled or surrendered; some were recaptured, put in chains, and beaten or hanged.  However, because of the revolt, whites gained rights.  Whippings were forbidden without a formal judicial order. 

By the early 1770s, the convict trade was big business, more profitable than the black slave trade because criminals were cheap.  They could be sold for one third the price of indentured servants.  England’s jails were being emptied into America on a significant scale.  Additionally, merchants who traded in convicts from England and Ireland received a subsidy for every miscreant transported to America.  Up to a third of incoming convicts died from dysentery, smallpox, typhoid, and freezing temperatures.  Upon arrival, they were advertised for sale, inspected, and taken away in chains by new masters.

Following the Revolutionary War, the British continued to ship convict labor as “indentured servants” to America.  During that time, seven ships filled with prisoners made the journey, and two successfully landed.  In 1789, convict importation was legally banned across the U.S.  America would no longer be the dumping ground for British criminals.  It took another 30 years before the indentured servant trade ended completely.  

A well written and well researched historical narrative, White Cargo does an excellent job of elucidating a forgotten part of our colonial past by telling the story of thousands of Britons who lived and died in bondage before African slaves were transported to the New World.



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Indivisible: With Liberty and Justice for Some


The radical Left is so incensed and horrified by the advent of a Trump presidency that it has been driven to adopt what it considers to be the tactics of a grassroots movement it abhors and accuses of being racist, homophobic, anti-government, anti-woman, nativist, and Islamophobic along with the array of other epithets reserved for conservatives and flag-waving Americans. Led by five former Democratic congressional staffers, the recently birthed progressive organization Indivisible admits to modeling its strategy to “resist” the Trump administration after the tactics employed by its perceived nemesis: the Tea Party. 

Operating from the conviction that presidential power is not unlimited and that pressure on Congress can reverse Trump’s potential damage, the Indivisible Team has launched a movement mainly for progressives, although disgruntled conservatives or anyone who opposes Trump may apply. The idea behind Indivisible is to resist the Trump agenda by diverting members of Congress, especially conservatives, from accomplishing their goals and preventing them from undoing many of the progressive policies put in place by the Obama administration. 

Ironically, the current protestations vis a vis “presidential power gone wild” is incongruous with the absence of complaints from the Left when it came to the Obama administration and its many secretive actions, executive orders, and congressional bypassing, despite unrelenting claims of transparency. The uncontested shift in Washington over the past eight years away from a constitutional republic and congressional legislative responsibility toward more of a bureaucratic, administrative government run without Congress’ intervention belies the sincerity of these assertions.

Characterizing the ideas of the Tea Party as “wrong, cruel and tinged with racism,” the Indivisible Team pledges to protect their values of “inclusion, tolerance and fairness” with an equivalent level of resistance and fervor. 

Following the January publication of a guide posted to Google Docs that went viral, the founders reported that within three weeks they had amassed 105,000 interested parties and 2,400 registered groups, one in every congressional district. Today, the Indivisible website boasts close to 6,000 Indivisible groups, at least two in each congressional district. 

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda refers to Trump as “the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President Elect.” In their inaugural document, Indivisible’s architects reveal their defensive, ostensibly Tea Party-templated strategy to thwart the policies of the incoming administration. Positing that Trump will “attempt to use his congressional authority to reshape America in his racist, authoritarian and corrupt image” even though he “has no mandate” from the voters, the Team presents a methodology to “stand indivisibly to defeat Trump and the members of Congress who would do his bidding.” 

In defense of their position, Indivisible’s founders rationalize that if a “small minority in the Tea Party could stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump” and prevent him from “victimizing us and our neighbors.” They characterize Trump’s agenda as one that “explicitly targets immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQ people, the poor and working class, and women.”

Indivisible’s founders include Angel Padilla, a former immigration policy consultant for La Raza and advisor to Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), and Ezra Levin, who served as an AmeriCorps employee in homeless services and worked for Rep. Lloyd Doggert (D-TX). With their aggregate of significant congressional staffing experience, Padilla and Gutierrez are well aware that legislators are defined by electoral interests and primarily concerned about being re-elected. In the Indivisible Guide, they convey their conviction that the vulnerability of a member of Congress reaches its zenith when the certainty of their re-election is disrupted.

In the preface of the Indivisible Guide, the plan’s creators offer a “Note to Immigrants and Non-Citizens” in which they emphasize that all people living in the United States, even illegal immigrants and non-citizens, have a right for their voices to be heard by their congressional representatives. They emphasize that the guide is a resource for “all individuals who would like to more effectively participate in the democratic process.”

As for the guide’s stratagem, it recommends that subscribers emulate the “act locally” strategy of the Tea Party and target three individuals: their two state senators and their local congressional representative. Readers are advised to let their opinions and expectations be known in various venues using a prescribed series of tactics. The Indivisible Guide, which also provides tips on marketing, recruiting, mass email and telemarketing campaigns and managing small groups, informs readers that members of Congress have limited time and staff to handle government business and can easily be distracted from the work at hand by a barrage of disruptive phone calls, unexpected group visits to district offices and appearances at local public events such as parades, ceremonial activities, and groundbreaking proceedings. They cite the importance for activists to wear similar clothing and carry coordinated signs to stand out as a major presence and project the appearance of unity.

While attending public events, Indivisible participants are encouraged to speak with any media representatives at the scene, threaten local event sponsors with bad publicity, be prepared to interrupt speakers, aggressively inject their opinions and engage in collective “booing” and applause where effective. It is critical, the guide instructs, to convince the press and government representative that the Indivisible activists are representative of the targeted district. 

For indoor events such as town hall meetings, Indivisible advises using indoor and outdoor teams to influence events inside the facility and manage press relations outside. Participants are encouraged to share prepared questions ahead of time, dominate question and answer sessions, spread out across the venue and present the appearance of widespread consensus on issues of concern. Also emphasized is the importance of videoing all interactions and maintaining a ubiquitous presence on social media.

The Indivisible founders explain that members of Congress, especially representatives, are always “running for office” and run scared at the slightest hint of dissent from their constituents. They advise that attendance at town hall meetings and visits to Congressional offices do not require advance appointments but can be orchestrated spontaneously with great success. If significant enough, pressure can be leveraged to force meetings that can be useful even if attended by lone congressional staffers, especially if media coverage can be arranged. The overriding idea is to apply enough pressure and instill significant doubt about reelection to gum up the works and eat up time and resources. 

To Indivisible’s founders, a day that a targeted member of Congress spends dealing with complaints from “constituents” is a day he is unable to stop ObamaCare, legislate against “reproductive rights,” or institute legislation to thwart illegal immigration. It is a day that forces them to redirect time and energy from their priorities. 

The overriding objective of Indivisible’s plan is to make elected officials feel that they are being monitored and that their re-election is on the line; to manufacture an environment that appears hostile and give the impression that Trump’s policies are unpopular with most of their constituents.

The mission of the Tea Party was to mobilize fellow citizens in an effort consistent with the traditional American values of “fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets,” while honoring the established political process of our representative government and the tenets of the U.S. Constitution. Indivisible misrepresents the Tea Party’s aims and actions and has created a counterproductive “hate Trump” movement to subvert these ideals and dishonor the country. As their document, the Indivisible Guide, attests, the express purpose of the organization is little more than an unprincipled attempt to disrupt the democratic process, stifle the voices of the millions of Americans with whom they disagree and return to the big government policies of the Obama administration. 

The radical Left is so incensed and horrified by the advent of a Trump presidency that it has been driven to adopt what it considers to be the tactics of a grassroots movement it abhors and accuses of being racist, homophobic, anti-government, anti-woman, nativist, and Islamophobic along with the array of other epithets reserved for conservatives and flag-waving Americans. Led by five former Democratic congressional staffers, the recently birthed progressive organization Indivisible admits to modeling its strategy to “resist” the Trump administration after the tactics employed by its perceived nemesis: the Tea Party. 

Operating from the conviction that presidential power is not unlimited and that pressure on Congress can reverse Trump’s potential damage, the Indivisible Team has launched a movement mainly for progressives, although disgruntled conservatives or anyone who opposes Trump may apply. The idea behind Indivisible is to resist the Trump agenda by diverting members of Congress, especially conservatives, from accomplishing their goals and preventing them from undoing many of the progressive policies put in place by the Obama administration. 

Ironically, the current protestations vis a vis “presidential power gone wild” is incongruous with the absence of complaints from the Left when it came to the Obama administration and its many secretive actions, executive orders, and congressional bypassing, despite unrelenting claims of transparency. The uncontested shift in Washington over the past eight years away from a constitutional republic and congressional legislative responsibility toward more of a bureaucratic, administrative government run without Congress’ intervention belies the sincerity of these assertions.

Characterizing the ideas of the Tea Party as “wrong, cruel and tinged with racism,” the Indivisible Team pledges to protect their values of “inclusion, tolerance and fairness” with an equivalent level of resistance and fervor. 

Following the January publication of a guide posted to Google Docs that went viral, the founders reported that within three weeks they had amassed 105,000 interested parties and 2,400 registered groups, one in every congressional district. Today, the Indivisible website boasts close to 6,000 Indivisible groups, at least two in each congressional district. 

Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda refers to Trump as “the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President Elect.” In their inaugural document, Indivisible’s architects reveal their defensive, ostensibly Tea Party-templated strategy to thwart the policies of the incoming administration. Positing that Trump will “attempt to use his congressional authority to reshape America in his racist, authoritarian and corrupt image” even though he “has no mandate” from the voters, the Team presents a methodology to “stand indivisibly to defeat Trump and the members of Congress who would do his bidding.” 

In defense of their position, Indivisible’s founders rationalize that if a “small minority in the Tea Party could stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump” and prevent him from “victimizing us and our neighbors.” They characterize Trump’s agenda as one that “explicitly targets immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQ people, the poor and working class, and women.”

Indivisible’s founders include Angel Padilla, a former immigration policy consultant for La Raza and advisor to Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), and Ezra Levin, who served as an AmeriCorps employee in homeless services and worked for Rep. Lloyd Doggert (D-TX). With their aggregate of significant congressional staffing experience, Padilla and Gutierrez are well aware that legislators are defined by electoral interests and primarily concerned about being re-elected. In the Indivisible Guide, they convey their conviction that the vulnerability of a member of Congress reaches its zenith when the certainty of their re-election is disrupted.

In the preface of the Indivisible Guide, the plan’s creators offer a “Note to Immigrants and Non-Citizens” in which they emphasize that all people living in the United States, even illegal immigrants and non-citizens, have a right for their voices to be heard by their congressional representatives. They emphasize that the guide is a resource for “all individuals who would like to more effectively participate in the democratic process.”

As for the guide’s stratagem, it recommends that subscribers emulate the “act locally” strategy of the Tea Party and target three individuals: their two state senators and their local congressional representative. Readers are advised to let their opinions and expectations be known in various venues using a prescribed series of tactics. The Indivisible Guide, which also provides tips on marketing, recruiting, mass email and telemarketing campaigns and managing small groups, informs readers that members of Congress have limited time and staff to handle government business and can easily be distracted from the work at hand by a barrage of disruptive phone calls, unexpected group visits to district offices and appearances at local public events such as parades, ceremonial activities, and groundbreaking proceedings. They cite the importance for activists to wear similar clothing and carry coordinated signs to stand out as a major presence and project the appearance of unity.

While attending public events, Indivisible participants are encouraged to speak with any media representatives at the scene, threaten local event sponsors with bad publicity, be prepared to interrupt speakers, aggressively inject their opinions and engage in collective “booing” and applause where effective. It is critical, the guide instructs, to convince the press and government representative that the Indivisible activists are representative of the targeted district. 

For indoor events such as town hall meetings, Indivisible advises using indoor and outdoor teams to influence events inside the facility and manage press relations outside. Participants are encouraged to share prepared questions ahead of time, dominate question and answer sessions, spread out across the venue and present the appearance of widespread consensus on issues of concern. Also emphasized is the importance of videoing all interactions and maintaining a ubiquitous presence on social media.

The Indivisible founders explain that members of Congress, especially representatives, are always “running for office” and run scared at the slightest hint of dissent from their constituents. They advise that attendance at town hall meetings and visits to Congressional offices do not require advance appointments but can be orchestrated spontaneously with great success. If significant enough, pressure can be leveraged to force meetings that can be useful even if attended by lone congressional staffers, especially if media coverage can be arranged. The overriding idea is to apply enough pressure and instill significant doubt about reelection to gum up the works and eat up time and resources. 

To Indivisible’s founders, a day that a targeted member of Congress spends dealing with complaints from “constituents” is a day he is unable to stop ObamaCare, legislate against “reproductive rights,” or institute legislation to thwart illegal immigration. It is a day that forces them to redirect time and energy from their priorities. 

The overriding objective of Indivisible’s plan is to make elected officials feel that they are being monitored and that their re-election is on the line; to manufacture an environment that appears hostile and give the impression that Trump’s policies are unpopular with most of their constituents.

The mission of the Tea Party was to mobilize fellow citizens in an effort consistent with the traditional American values of “fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets,” while honoring the established political process of our representative government and the tenets of the U.S. Constitution. Indivisible misrepresents the Tea Party’s aims and actions and has created a counterproductive “hate Trump” movement to subvert these ideals and dishonor the country. As their document, the Indivisible Guide, attests, the express purpose of the organization is little more than an unprincipled attempt to disrupt the democratic process, stifle the voices of the millions of Americans with whom they disagree and return to the big government policies of the Obama administration. 



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Fighting Communism in California


In February, California senator Janet Nguyen (R-Santa Ana), the country’s first Vietnamese-American state legislator, whose district includes more than 100,000 people of Vietnamese descent, was removed from the Senate chamber after objecting to the lionization of deceased former state assemblyman and senator Tom Hayden, a communist collaborator during the Vietnam War.  Nguyen was born in Saigon a year before the city fell to the North Vietnamese forces in 1975 and legally immigrated to the United States with her family four years later, settling in southern California.

When the posthumous lionization began of Hayden’s service of almost two decades in California state government, Nguyen was distressed.  She knew Hayden as someone who had aided and given comfort to the communist enemy in her country of origin.  She felt compelled to express the sentiments of her heavily refugee-populated district, whose families had suffered greatly because of North Vietnamese brutality.  The community blames the U.S. anti-war movement for undermining the war effort and contributing to the eventual victory of the North Vietnamese communists.

During the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Hayden, a prominent and vocal voice for the North Vietnamese communists, had organized a campaign with Jane Fonda, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy to cut off American aid to the existing government of South Vietnam and cooperate with the Vietcong and Khmer Rouge.  Hayden traveled to southeast Asia numerous times during the conflict to strategize with the enemy on defeating America’s anti-communist plan.  When reports came to light that American soldiers were being tortured in communist captivity, he proclaimed the reports to be “propaganda.”  Hayden and Fonda notoriously weakened the morale of American POWs by participating in broadcasts for the North Vietnamese in which they accused American troops of war crimes.

After Hayden’s passing October 23, 2016, the California Senate held a ceremony five months later on February 20, 2017, honoring his service to the state legislature.  California Democratic Party chairman John Burton praised the former senator as “one of the great visionaries” and as “a guy with a lot of courage.”  President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) crowed, “He dedicated his life to the betterment of our state and our great country through the pursuit of peace, justice and equity.”  Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) applauded Hayden for his street activism against the Vietnamese war.  

These undue accolades proved to be too much for Nguyen, who is aware of the truth regarding Hayden’s anti-war pursuits.  She left the chamber and, later, unsuccessfully attempted to gain approval to recess the session later in the week in remembrance of the one million Vietnamese who died because of the war and to speak about Hayden’s actions in Vietnam.

Although refused permission, Nguyen returned to the Senate four days later and gave her statement anyway, speaking first in Vietnamese and then English.

“Mr. Hayden sided with a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family,” she said.  “Mr. Hayden’s actions are viewed by many as harmful to democratic values and hateful toward those who sought the very freedoms on which this nation is founded.”  

Regretfully, Senator Nguyen didn’t get far with her statement, as she was chastised for being out of order, had her microphone cut off, and was ultimately removed from the California Senate floor.  The following weekend, over 100 local Vietnamese Americans, who felt that the memory of their lost loved ones and the brutal assault on their country had been disrespected, attended a rally in support of the senator and her right to speak out against Hayden’s actions.

A week later, recognizing the public relations implications of dragging a Vietnam war refugee from the state Senate floor, de Leon attempted an apology that essentially excused Nguyen’s removal for violating chamber rules by citing the timing of her remarks.  However, this response appeared disingenuous, given that Nguyen was denied permission to speak and, instead, told to either post her comments online or provide them following adjournment, an apparent violation of Senate rules.

In May, once again, Nguyen was forced to act on her anti-communist beliefs when Assembly Bill 22 was introduced by California assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-San Francisco).  The legislation amended an existing statute for removing a public employee who “is knowingly a member of the Communist party” or member of an organization that “advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of any state by force or violence.”  Essentially, the bill would allow communists to work legally in California government.  On May 10, the bill passed the Assembly and was headed for a Senate vote.

Constituents from Nguyen’s district, often referred to as “Little Saigon,” were up in arms about A.B. 22.  Many had lived under communist oppression and strongly protested the measure.  With district support, Nguyen promptly launched a petition to oppose the legislation.  Plans were readied in the local Vietnamese-American community to send protesters to Sacramento.  

Claiming that his bill didn’t “endorse communism or encourage communism,” Bonta maintained that he was protecting “people’s rights” and following constitutional precedents that made it illegal for government to fire employees due to their political affiliations, a claim that rang hollow for Nguyen’s constituents.

For now, it appears that Sen. Nguyen’s efforts and those of the community she represents succeeded in thwarting plans to allow those espousing communist ideologies to work in California government.  On May 18, Bonta announced withdrawal of the bill and apologized to veterans and those who fled the communist regime in Vietnam.  Nguyen must be commended for her valiant quest to stand up in the face of acclaim for a traitorous communist collaborator and for her actions to stop legislation that would have normalized communist ideology in the Golden State.

In February, California senator Janet Nguyen (R-Santa Ana), the country’s first Vietnamese-American state legislator, whose district includes more than 100,000 people of Vietnamese descent, was removed from the Senate chamber after objecting to the lionization of deceased former state assemblyman and senator Tom Hayden, a communist collaborator during the Vietnam War.  Nguyen was born in Saigon a year before the city fell to the North Vietnamese forces in 1975 and legally immigrated to the United States with her family four years later, settling in southern California.

When the posthumous lionization began of Hayden’s service of almost two decades in California state government, Nguyen was distressed.  She knew Hayden as someone who had aided and given comfort to the communist enemy in her country of origin.  She felt compelled to express the sentiments of her heavily refugee-populated district, whose families had suffered greatly because of North Vietnamese brutality.  The community blames the U.S. anti-war movement for undermining the war effort and contributing to the eventual victory of the North Vietnamese communists.

During the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Hayden, a prominent and vocal voice for the North Vietnamese communists, had organized a campaign with Jane Fonda, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy to cut off American aid to the existing government of South Vietnam and cooperate with the Vietcong and Khmer Rouge.  Hayden traveled to southeast Asia numerous times during the conflict to strategize with the enemy on defeating America’s anti-communist plan.  When reports came to light that American soldiers were being tortured in communist captivity, he proclaimed the reports to be “propaganda.”  Hayden and Fonda notoriously weakened the morale of American POWs by participating in broadcasts for the North Vietnamese in which they accused American troops of war crimes.

After Hayden’s passing October 23, 2016, the California Senate held a ceremony five months later on February 20, 2017, honoring his service to the state legislature.  California Democratic Party chairman John Burton praised the former senator as “one of the great visionaries” and as “a guy with a lot of courage.”  President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) crowed, “He dedicated his life to the betterment of our state and our great country through the pursuit of peace, justice and equity.”  Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) applauded Hayden for his street activism against the Vietnamese war.  

These undue accolades proved to be too much for Nguyen, who is aware of the truth regarding Hayden’s anti-war pursuits.  She left the chamber and, later, unsuccessfully attempted to gain approval to recess the session later in the week in remembrance of the one million Vietnamese who died because of the war and to speak about Hayden’s actions in Vietnam.

Although refused permission, Nguyen returned to the Senate four days later and gave her statement anyway, speaking first in Vietnamese and then English.

“Mr. Hayden sided with a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family,” she said.  “Mr. Hayden’s actions are viewed by many as harmful to democratic values and hateful toward those who sought the very freedoms on which this nation is founded.”  

Regretfully, Senator Nguyen didn’t get far with her statement, as she was chastised for being out of order, had her microphone cut off, and was ultimately removed from the California Senate floor.  The following weekend, over 100 local Vietnamese Americans, who felt that the memory of their lost loved ones and the brutal assault on their country had been disrespected, attended a rally in support of the senator and her right to speak out against Hayden’s actions.

A week later, recognizing the public relations implications of dragging a Vietnam war refugee from the state Senate floor, de Leon attempted an apology that essentially excused Nguyen’s removal for violating chamber rules by citing the timing of her remarks.  However, this response appeared disingenuous, given that Nguyen was denied permission to speak and, instead, told to either post her comments online or provide them following adjournment, an apparent violation of Senate rules.

In May, once again, Nguyen was forced to act on her anti-communist beliefs when Assembly Bill 22 was introduced by California assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-San Francisco).  The legislation amended an existing statute for removing a public employee who “is knowingly a member of the Communist party” or member of an organization that “advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of any state by force or violence.”  Essentially, the bill would allow communists to work legally in California government.  On May 10, the bill passed the Assembly and was headed for a Senate vote.

Constituents from Nguyen’s district, often referred to as “Little Saigon,” were up in arms about A.B. 22.  Many had lived under communist oppression and strongly protested the measure.  With district support, Nguyen promptly launched a petition to oppose the legislation.  Plans were readied in the local Vietnamese-American community to send protesters to Sacramento.  

Claiming that his bill didn’t “endorse communism or encourage communism,” Bonta maintained that he was protecting “people’s rights” and following constitutional precedents that made it illegal for government to fire employees due to their political affiliations, a claim that rang hollow for Nguyen’s constituents.

For now, it appears that Sen. Nguyen’s efforts and those of the community she represents succeeded in thwarting plans to allow those espousing communist ideologies to work in California government.  On May 18, Bonta announced withdrawal of the bill and apologized to veterans and those who fled the communist regime in Vietnam.  Nguyen must be commended for her valiant quest to stand up in the face of acclaim for a traitorous communist collaborator and for her actions to stop legislation that would have normalized communist ideology in the Golden State.



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Failing Those Who Served Us


Three years after the 2014 Veterans Health Administration scandal erupted in headlines, outrage, investigations, and the resignation of then-secretary of veterans’ affairs Eric Shinseki, veterans still must contend with an agency that provides less than stellar service.

A government report issued in February found that the VA’s shift to using more private-sector care for veterans has its own problems.  They include cumbersome authorization and scheduling procedures, inadequate provider networks, and the potential for veterans having to pay their own treatment costs.  Plus wait times for care, the heart of the 2014 scandal, are still long: an average of 45 days for 53% of veterans.

Problematic health care, as well as the descent into homelessness for a growing number of our nation’s veterans, belies our posture of national pride in our troops.  We label them heroes, and then we fail to properly provide for them.

The problems of inadequate health care began to surface in 2012 and 2013, when two doctors at the Phoenix VA Health Care System voiced concerns.  The whistleblowers said they had witnessed substandard care, that VA officials had falsified health service wait times, and that 40 veterans died while waiting for health care.  These claims were later verified by the Veterans Administration, and investigations began nationwide.

A 2014 General Accounting Office audit of 731 VA medical centers and outpatient clinics reported that roughly 100,000 veterans nationwide were experiencing long wait times for health care.  Another VA report detailed specific techniques used to falsify wait times.  

Still other allegations of mismanagement surfaced in 2014, when a congressional committee revealed that more than $380,000 in bonuses were awarded to directors and top executives of 38 VA facilities where falsification of records and delays in care were being examined.  The money was part of $2.7 million in extra pay given in 2013 to top-ranking VA officials.

Further, a 2015 VA report found that the VA had such sloppy record keeping that 307,000 veterans out of 867,000 pending cases on the VA’s list of electronic records were actually deceased.  VA officials could not conclude if the veterans had received care, were still waiting for care, or had even applied for care.  Nonetheless, some concluded that those veterans had died while waiting for medical help.

During his campaign for office, President Trump pledged to fix the sorry state of VA health care.  So far, he has reauthorized the shift of some services to the private sector under the Choice Program, which is off to a rocky start but enables veterans to seek medical services outside the VA system.  He also appointed as secretary of veterans’ affairs David Shulkin, who since 2015 oversaw the VA.  Shulkin, now as head of the entire agency, has embarked on a 10-point plan to reform the VA.

In addition to the tragic issue of poor health care, almost 40,000 of our nation’s veterans experience homelessness, according to 2016 federal Housing and Urban Development statistics.  Homeless veterans make up about 7% of the nation’s homeless population of more than 560,000.  At 3,000 homeless veterans, Los Angeles has the highest veteran homeless population in the country.

The HUD-VASH (HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program has provided a voucher program for veterans since 2008 with 85,000 total issued since then.  Congress set aside $60 million in 2016 to serve 8,000 families.  But the program has its critics, among them Vietnam-era veteran Robert Rosebrock, a veterans’ rights advocate, who has said that the program is wholly inadequate and places at-risk veterans in dangerous surroundings far from health care facilities and support networks.

In Los Angeles, Rosebrock has been a familiar protest figure on site at the 387-acre West Los Angeles Veterans Administration, the largest VA veterans’ home property in the nation.  In 1888, the land was bequeathed to veterans as part of a charitable trust established to create a “National Home” for American veterans.

But for decades, the site, close to the upscale Brentwood neighborhood, was used, not for the benefit of veterans, but for various private and public projects.  They included a public dog park, a post office parking lot, a hotel laundry service, an athletic stadium for a local private school, and a college baseball stadium.  In 2009, Disney held a fundraiser there for children with AIDS in South Africa.  The facility has even been leased for a television production.

Rosebrock and a small group of veterans demonstrated every Sunday and Memorial Day.  For his efforts, he received multiple citations over the years which he views as retaliation for his efforts on behalf of his fellow veterans.  On Memorial Day in 2016, he was criminally charged for displaying two four-by-six-inch American flags on the fence outside of the West Los Angeles VA facility and faced up to six months in jail.  Almost a year later, after securing assistance from government watchdog Judicial Watch, Rosebrock’s case was heard in federal court.  Fortunately, the judge assigned to what appeared to be a vindictive prosecution ruled for Mr. Rosebrock and dismissed the case.

Meanwhile, development of 1,200 units of housing for veterans, plus supportive services, was announced in 2016.  The shift to veterans’ housing came about after the VA, under Secretary Robert A. McDonald, Shinseki’s replacement, settled a 2011 lawsuit brought against it by the ACLU of Southern California.  The lawsuit argued that the West Los Angeles land should be used as it was first designated – for housing veterans.  McDonald and the VA acquiesced. Currently, progress continues on the master plan.  One small, older building was refurbished and opened in 2015 with 65 units of housing.

But transformation of the property for housing will take precious time.  And John Rowan, the CEO of Vietnam Veterans of America, says time is in short supply for today’s Vietnam veterans, who he says are “elderly, frail and in declining health and are being forced to live in deplorable circumstances.”

Rowan had questioned the commitment of the VA and the mayor of Los Angeles to achieve their stated goal of eliminating veteran homelessness in America by 2016.  Clearly, this has not been accomplished, and veteran suffering has not been alleviated, despite proclamations and master plans.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs still is underperforming for our veterans and not doing enough fast enough to address the shameful situation of deficient health care and homelessness for those who have served our country.  Rather than honoring their service and alleviating their suffering, the government has failed to meet its obligation to this underserved and often forgotten population.

If the U.S. government can spend $7.2 billion in taxpayer dollars to support the 552,237 refugees resettled in America from 2006 to 2014, the federal government can certainly do a better job of taking care of our veterans.  Failing to do so makes all our talk of valuing our veterans ring hollow for veterans suffering today.

Three years after the 2014 Veterans Health Administration scandal erupted in headlines, outrage, investigations, and the resignation of then-secretary of veterans’ affairs Eric Shinseki, veterans still must contend with an agency that provides less than stellar service.

A government report issued in February found that the VA’s shift to using more private-sector care for veterans has its own problems.  They include cumbersome authorization and scheduling procedures, inadequate provider networks, and the potential for veterans having to pay their own treatment costs.  Plus wait times for care, the heart of the 2014 scandal, are still long: an average of 45 days for 53% of veterans.

Problematic health care, as well as the descent into homelessness for a growing number of our nation’s veterans, belies our posture of national pride in our troops.  We label them heroes, and then we fail to properly provide for them.

The problems of inadequate health care began to surface in 2012 and 2013, when two doctors at the Phoenix VA Health Care System voiced concerns.  The whistleblowers said they had witnessed substandard care, that VA officials had falsified health service wait times, and that 40 veterans died while waiting for health care.  These claims were later verified by the Veterans Administration, and investigations began nationwide.

A 2014 General Accounting Office audit of 731 VA medical centers and outpatient clinics reported that roughly 100,000 veterans nationwide were experiencing long wait times for health care.  Another VA report detailed specific techniques used to falsify wait times.  

Still other allegations of mismanagement surfaced in 2014, when a congressional committee revealed that more than $380,000 in bonuses were awarded to directors and top executives of 38 VA facilities where falsification of records and delays in care were being examined.  The money was part of $2.7 million in extra pay given in 2013 to top-ranking VA officials.

Further, a 2015 VA report found that the VA had such sloppy record keeping that 307,000 veterans out of 867,000 pending cases on the VA’s list of electronic records were actually deceased.  VA officials could not conclude if the veterans had received care, were still waiting for care, or had even applied for care.  Nonetheless, some concluded that those veterans had died while waiting for medical help.

During his campaign for office, President Trump pledged to fix the sorry state of VA health care.  So far, he has reauthorized the shift of some services to the private sector under the Choice Program, which is off to a rocky start but enables veterans to seek medical services outside the VA system.  He also appointed as secretary of veterans’ affairs David Shulkin, who since 2015 oversaw the VA.  Shulkin, now as head of the entire agency, has embarked on a 10-point plan to reform the VA.

In addition to the tragic issue of poor health care, almost 40,000 of our nation’s veterans experience homelessness, according to 2016 federal Housing and Urban Development statistics.  Homeless veterans make up about 7% of the nation’s homeless population of more than 560,000.  At 3,000 homeless veterans, Los Angeles has the highest veteran homeless population in the country.

The HUD-VASH (HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program has provided a voucher program for veterans since 2008 with 85,000 total issued since then.  Congress set aside $60 million in 2016 to serve 8,000 families.  But the program has its critics, among them Vietnam-era veteran Robert Rosebrock, a veterans’ rights advocate, who has said that the program is wholly inadequate and places at-risk veterans in dangerous surroundings far from health care facilities and support networks.

In Los Angeles, Rosebrock has been a familiar protest figure on site at the 387-acre West Los Angeles Veterans Administration, the largest VA veterans’ home property in the nation.  In 1888, the land was bequeathed to veterans as part of a charitable trust established to create a “National Home” for American veterans.

But for decades, the site, close to the upscale Brentwood neighborhood, was used, not for the benefit of veterans, but for various private and public projects.  They included a public dog park, a post office parking lot, a hotel laundry service, an athletic stadium for a local private school, and a college baseball stadium.  In 2009, Disney held a fundraiser there for children with AIDS in South Africa.  The facility has even been leased for a television production.

Rosebrock and a small group of veterans demonstrated every Sunday and Memorial Day.  For his efforts, he received multiple citations over the years which he views as retaliation for his efforts on behalf of his fellow veterans.  On Memorial Day in 2016, he was criminally charged for displaying two four-by-six-inch American flags on the fence outside of the West Los Angeles VA facility and faced up to six months in jail.  Almost a year later, after securing assistance from government watchdog Judicial Watch, Rosebrock’s case was heard in federal court.  Fortunately, the judge assigned to what appeared to be a vindictive prosecution ruled for Mr. Rosebrock and dismissed the case.

Meanwhile, development of 1,200 units of housing for veterans, plus supportive services, was announced in 2016.  The shift to veterans’ housing came about after the VA, under Secretary Robert A. McDonald, Shinseki’s replacement, settled a 2011 lawsuit brought against it by the ACLU of Southern California.  The lawsuit argued that the West Los Angeles land should be used as it was first designated – for housing veterans.  McDonald and the VA acquiesced. Currently, progress continues on the master plan.  One small, older building was refurbished and opened in 2015 with 65 units of housing.

But transformation of the property for housing will take precious time.  And John Rowan, the CEO of Vietnam Veterans of America, says time is in short supply for today’s Vietnam veterans, who he says are “elderly, frail and in declining health and are being forced to live in deplorable circumstances.”

Rowan had questioned the commitment of the VA and the mayor of Los Angeles to achieve their stated goal of eliminating veteran homelessness in America by 2016.  Clearly, this has not been accomplished, and veteran suffering has not been alleviated, despite proclamations and master plans.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs still is underperforming for our veterans and not doing enough fast enough to address the shameful situation of deficient health care and homelessness for those who have served our country.  Rather than honoring their service and alleviating their suffering, the government has failed to meet its obligation to this underserved and often forgotten population.

If the U.S. government can spend $7.2 billion in taxpayer dollars to support the 552,237 refugees resettled in America from 2006 to 2014, the federal government can certainly do a better job of taking care of our veterans.  Failing to do so makes all our talk of valuing our veterans ring hollow for veterans suffering today.



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San Diego: Ground Zero for Islamic Indoctrination in American Public Schools


With a decade-long history of yielding to Islamic demands and recent, more alarming submissions, San Diego city schools appear to be ground zero for Islamic indoctrination within American public schools.  The current capitulation includes an Islam-centric curriculum with input and resources from a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization, which raises First Amendment issues as well as serious concerns of favoritism toward Muslims students over students of other faiths. 

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) history of accommodation to the demands of Muslim students began in 2007.  That year, Carver Elementary School in East San Diego ignited controversy when 100 Somali Muslim students transferred from a closed charter school.  To accommodate these new students, the school rescheduled its recess periods to allow a 15-minute break each afternoon for Muslim prayer.  The school also added Arabic to its curriculum and removed pork and other non-halal food from the cafeteria.  The outcry forced the school to rescind the break, but it simply shifted the lunch hour to accommodate Muslim prayer.  SDUSD wasn’t as accommodating to a Christian student in 1993 and was successfully sued when it denied a high school student’s request for a lunchtime Bible study group.

This past week, SDUSD, in collaboration with the Council on American Islam Relations (CAIR), instituted an anti-bullying campaign aimed specifically at protecting Muslims students.  In launching the initiative, SDUSD cited an unsubstantiated study by CAIR claiming that 55% of American Muslim students surveyed in California said they were bullied because of their religion.  The new program will include adding lessons on Islam to the social studies curriculum that emphasize prominent Muslims in history, creating Muslim-only “safe spaces,” adding Muslim holidays to the school calendar, and providing support and resources for Muslim students during Ramadan.

According to Stan Anjan, SDUSD’s executive director of family and community engagement, the new program will focus on promoting a positive image of Islam.  Special disciplinary measures will also be created for the so-called bullying of Muslims cited by CAIR.  Instead of detention, the school plans a “restorative justice” program in which students dialogue with each other about perceived bullying words or actions.  Educational materials on Islam and resource listings will be provided to parents and school personnel as well.

CAIR, “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas,” according to terrorism expert Steve Emerson, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror-funding case brought by the Justice Department in 2007.  CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce terrorist groups Hamas and Hezb’allah, and several CAIR executives have been successfully prosecuted and incarcerated for terrorist activities.  CAIR was designated as a terrorist group by the UAE in 2014.

In 2015, Kevin Beiser and Michael McQuary, two members of the SDUSD Board of Education, issued a formal proclamation in support and recognition of CAIR San Diego, citing ten years of “constructive civic engagement” in San Diego and Imperial Counties.  They praised the organization’s work to “promote not only religious and cultural tolerance and understanding but also justice and equality for all who live in the United States.”

CAIR director Hanif Mohebi was specifically complimented for his commitment to “promoting equitable educational opportunity for all students and preparing them to succeed in a culturally diverse society.”  The trustees recognized a community partnership with CAIR in mediating school situations involving “discrimination and other behavioral issue[s]” and announced CAIR’s upcoming tenth anniversary banquet, centered on the theme “Strengthening Our Voices, Advancing Together.”

CAIR, billing itself as a benign Muslim civil rights organization, has long been at the forefront in pressuring schools and businesses to accommodate the special needs of Muslims.  In 2009, CAIR complained of favoritism when Christian students in Roseville, a Detroit suburb, were given permission slips to attend off-site Bible study classes.  Yet CAIR pushed in 2012 for Dearborn public schools to accommodate Muslim prayer on school grounds and early Friday dismissals for Jumu’ah prayers.  The organization has pressured schools to have a say on textbook selection and to feature its own lecturers for school assemblies.  When a public school teacher in Concrete, Washington referenced the Taliban and Hamas while citing examples of the use of violence to bully people, CAIR cried “racism” and called for a federal investigation, saying the teacher had veered off topic to make anti-Muslim statements.  The school district responded that the teacher’s comments were taken out of context.

Mohebi, the head of CAIR San Diego, has been pushing the “anti-Islamophobia” program.  He recently tried to prevent the San Diego Police Department from attending a training session on Islamic terrorism featuring Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamic extremism.  Mohebi said officers would be learning “conspiracy theories” from Mauro.  Further, Mohebi importuned that no taxpayer dollars should pay for the training and that the SDPD should not confer continuing education credits for attendance.  In a further attempt to control police training on Islam, Mohebi requested the ability to monitor police training to vouch for its accuracy and to provide clarifications throughout the session.

CAIR’s recent activity and its incursion into the San Diego schools’ curriculum has been criticized by Charles LiMandri, president and chief counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF).  LiMandri said the San Diego program represents a “wholesale realignment of school curricula and the students’ learning environment to the recommendations of a religious organization whose stated mission is to “enhance the understanding of Islam” and “empower American Muslims.”

The FCDF maintains that the First Amendment prohibits a government agency from attempting to effect a secular goal by the propagation of religious concepts.  LiMandri points out the litigious pitfalls of a curriculum which could easily be construed as a governmental endorsement of a religion.  He also cautions that CAIR’s interpretation of the term “bullying” could extend to the stifling of criticism of Islam, further impinging on First Amendment protections.

Citizens for Quality Education San Diego, a non-partisan group of citizens concerned about public education, voiced their opposition to the new Islamic-friendly curriculum and characterized it as an attempt to implement at local schools “anti-American sharia law,” incompatible with the U.S. Constitution.  The group criticized the blatant singling out of the Muslim religion for special accommodations and demanded that the policy be rescinded.  Despite widespread community outcry, the district seems to be moving ahead.  

If allowed to stand, the SDUSD anti-bullying program – geared specifically to the CAIR-identified needs of Muslim students – could mark a dangerous departure from treasured constitutional principles and First Amendment protections.  This case warrants serious attention, as it has grave implications for the direction of education and the supremacy of Islam in the nation.

With a decade-long history of yielding to Islamic demands and recent, more alarming submissions, San Diego city schools appear to be ground zero for Islamic indoctrination within American public schools.  The current capitulation includes an Islam-centric curriculum with input and resources from a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization, which raises First Amendment issues as well as serious concerns of favoritism toward Muslims students over students of other faiths. 

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) history of accommodation to the demands of Muslim students began in 2007.  That year, Carver Elementary School in East San Diego ignited controversy when 100 Somali Muslim students transferred from a closed charter school.  To accommodate these new students, the school rescheduled its recess periods to allow a 15-minute break each afternoon for Muslim prayer.  The school also added Arabic to its curriculum and removed pork and other non-halal food from the cafeteria.  The outcry forced the school to rescind the break, but it simply shifted the lunch hour to accommodate Muslim prayer.  SDUSD wasn’t as accommodating to a Christian student in 1993 and was successfully sued when it denied a high school student’s request for a lunchtime Bible study group.

This past week, SDUSD, in collaboration with the Council on American Islam Relations (CAIR), instituted an anti-bullying campaign aimed specifically at protecting Muslims students.  In launching the initiative, SDUSD cited an unsubstantiated study by CAIR claiming that 55% of American Muslim students surveyed in California said they were bullied because of their religion.  The new program will include adding lessons on Islam to the social studies curriculum that emphasize prominent Muslims in history, creating Muslim-only “safe spaces,” adding Muslim holidays to the school calendar, and providing support and resources for Muslim students during Ramadan.

According to Stan Anjan, SDUSD’s executive director of family and community engagement, the new program will focus on promoting a positive image of Islam.  Special disciplinary measures will also be created for the so-called bullying of Muslims cited by CAIR.  Instead of detention, the school plans a “restorative justice” program in which students dialogue with each other about perceived bullying words or actions.  Educational materials on Islam and resource listings will be provided to parents and school personnel as well.

CAIR, “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas,” according to terrorism expert Steve Emerson, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror-funding case brought by the Justice Department in 2007.  CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce terrorist groups Hamas and Hezb’allah, and several CAIR executives have been successfully prosecuted and incarcerated for terrorist activities.  CAIR was designated as a terrorist group by the UAE in 2014.

In 2015, Kevin Beiser and Michael McQuary, two members of the SDUSD Board of Education, issued a formal proclamation in support and recognition of CAIR San Diego, citing ten years of “constructive civic engagement” in San Diego and Imperial Counties.  They praised the organization’s work to “promote not only religious and cultural tolerance and understanding but also justice and equality for all who live in the United States.”

CAIR director Hanif Mohebi was specifically complimented for his commitment to “promoting equitable educational opportunity for all students and preparing them to succeed in a culturally diverse society.”  The trustees recognized a community partnership with CAIR in mediating school situations involving “discrimination and other behavioral issue[s]” and announced CAIR’s upcoming tenth anniversary banquet, centered on the theme “Strengthening Our Voices, Advancing Together.”

CAIR, billing itself as a benign Muslim civil rights organization, has long been at the forefront in pressuring schools and businesses to accommodate the special needs of Muslims.  In 2009, CAIR complained of favoritism when Christian students in Roseville, a Detroit suburb, were given permission slips to attend off-site Bible study classes.  Yet CAIR pushed in 2012 for Dearborn public schools to accommodate Muslim prayer on school grounds and early Friday dismissals for Jumu’ah prayers.  The organization has pressured schools to have a say on textbook selection and to feature its own lecturers for school assemblies.  When a public school teacher in Concrete, Washington referenced the Taliban and Hamas while citing examples of the use of violence to bully people, CAIR cried “racism” and called for a federal investigation, saying the teacher had veered off topic to make anti-Muslim statements.  The school district responded that the teacher’s comments were taken out of context.

Mohebi, the head of CAIR San Diego, has been pushing the “anti-Islamophobia” program.  He recently tried to prevent the San Diego Police Department from attending a training session on Islamic terrorism featuring Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamic extremism.  Mohebi said officers would be learning “conspiracy theories” from Mauro.  Further, Mohebi importuned that no taxpayer dollars should pay for the training and that the SDPD should not confer continuing education credits for attendance.  In a further attempt to control police training on Islam, Mohebi requested the ability to monitor police training to vouch for its accuracy and to provide clarifications throughout the session.

CAIR’s recent activity and its incursion into the San Diego schools’ curriculum has been criticized by Charles LiMandri, president and chief counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF).  LiMandri said the San Diego program represents a “wholesale realignment of school curricula and the students’ learning environment to the recommendations of a religious organization whose stated mission is to “enhance the understanding of Islam” and “empower American Muslims.”

The FCDF maintains that the First Amendment prohibits a government agency from attempting to effect a secular goal by the propagation of religious concepts.  LiMandri points out the litigious pitfalls of a curriculum which could easily be construed as a governmental endorsement of a religion.  He also cautions that CAIR’s interpretation of the term “bullying” could extend to the stifling of criticism of Islam, further impinging on First Amendment protections.

Citizens for Quality Education San Diego, a non-partisan group of citizens concerned about public education, voiced their opposition to the new Islamic-friendly curriculum and characterized it as an attempt to implement at local schools “anti-American sharia law,” incompatible with the U.S. Constitution.  The group criticized the blatant singling out of the Muslim religion for special accommodations and demanded that the policy be rescinded.  Despite widespread community outcry, the district seems to be moving ahead.  

If allowed to stand, the SDUSD anti-bullying program – geared specifically to the CAIR-identified needs of Muslim students – could mark a dangerous departure from treasured constitutional principles and First Amendment protections.  This case warrants serious attention, as it has grave implications for the direction of education and the supremacy of Islam in the nation.



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How the Use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Saved Thousands of American Lives


The intelligence community unjustly suffered a black eye when its use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) was publicized by the media and used as a political issue by Democrats trying to discredit a Republican administration and undermine the post 9/11war effort.  In addition, CIA black site operations were unfairly tied to an isolated case of prisoner abuse by military police at Abu Ghraib, a U.S.-run Iraqi detention facility for terrorist detainees.  What was missing from the head-on attacks on the intelligence agency was the reality of how EIT thwarted terrorist plans and potentially saved thousands of American lives. 

A new book, Enhanced Interrogation:  Inside the Minds and Motives of Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America (Crown Forum, 2016) by psychologist and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Dr. James E. Mitchell, describes the author’s involvement in the development and implementation of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program from its inception in 2002 until it was shut down by Obama in 2009.

The book is an eye-opening account of how thoughtfully and judiciously enhanced interrogation techniques were developed, how they were applied, how much valuable intelligence was gleaned from their use and how effectively they thwarted potentially deadly attacks.

The unfair discrediting of EIT began when California Senator Diane Feinstein, a Senate Select Intelligence Committee member, cherrypicked information from CIA documents and alleged that corrupt CIA officials mercilessly tortured detainees and failed to produce a scintilla of useful intelligence in the process. Yet, her dubious claims were far from the truth.  Feinstein was poised for a witch-hunt against the Bush administration and the CIA.  The Senate Intelligence Committee failed to produce a balanced, bipartisan investigation and even refused to interview any of the CIA operatives and contractors involved in the EIT operation.

In his book, Mitchell defends the CIA program as well run, effective, conducted fully within the bounds of the law and a source of valuable counterterrorism intelligence.  Further, the same Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committees that condemned the program were fully briefed ahead of time and supported it before it became politically useful to denounce it.

In Enhanced Interrogation, Mitchell laments that traditional rapport-building techniques typically used by law enforcement did not work with Islamic terrorist detainees who were trained to resist using various methods laid out in the Manchester Manual.  The manual was a computer file found by Manchester Metropolitan Police in 2000 in the home of Abu Anas al-Libi, a Libyan under indictment in the U.S. for his part in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.  Al-Libi worked as a computer specialist for Al Qaeda. The 180-page document on how to wage war included instructions on how to withstand interrogation methods and falsely claim torture.

Faced with detainees trained to resist traditional interrogation techniques, U.S. officials, after much analysis and soul-searching at the CIA, decided to use Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape or SERE techniques.  These interrogation methods had been used for decades without significant injuries to train the U.S. military in resistance techniques when in enemy captivity.  One of the techniques was waterboarding, which the author and another psychologist lobbied to eliminate from training because they felt it was too effective and would undermine the confidence of soldiers in their ability to withstand interrogation and protect military secrets.  Ultimately, CIA head, George Tenet, the DOJ, White House lawyers, then national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, VP Cheney and President Bush, all approved use of these techniques.

One of the first Islamic terrorist detainees waterboarded was Abu Zubaydah, an operational planner for Al Qaeda prior to 9/11, who was believed to have much valuable intelligence to share with U.S. authorities.  At one critical point after 9/11, Zubaydah had shut down and was unresponsive to questioning.  Prior to waterboarding, he was intensely observed and subjected to a variety of interrogation methods.  In addition, medical doctors, religious leaders and psychologists were consulted to determine if he would experience any long-term medical, psychological or cultural impact from the procedure.

In the end, the waterboarding operation proved to be enormously useful. Zubaydah provided critical information necessary to capture terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and to break up plans for future attacks.

Zubaydah revealed the roles of others, including Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an accomplice to 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Adnan el-Shukrijuman, a senior Al Qaeda operative; and dirty bomber, Jose Padilla.  Zubaydah also admitted that, before he was captured, he had been planning to start his own Al Qaeda-like jihadist group to kill Jews in Israel.  Interestingly, he advised his interrogators to use harsh techniques on other detainees to lessen their guilt and sense of betrayal of Islamic ideals when they yielded after a significant amount of pressure.

Continued waterboarding as time went on resulted in, not a useless torture operation, as later claimed, but the uncovering of a treasure trove of information about terrorists and their plans to launch horrific attacks that could now be thwarted.

When Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen who was the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing and other maritime terrorist attacks was captured in the United Arab Emirates, he endured EIT at a CIA black site before being transferred to GITMO.  Al-Nashiri had much valuable intelligence to impart, having been Osama bin Laden’s go-to guy on sea attacks.  Also, Abu Zubaydah because of his position in Al Qaeda provided a check on the veracity of the information gleaned from the Al-Nashiri interrogations.

Bin Al-Shibh, one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ‘s operatives, headed a cell whose plans to crash a hijacked plane into Heathrow and into buildings in London’s financial district were disrupted in 2003.  He had previously moved to Germany in the mid-1990s and joined the Hamburg cell that planned the 9/11 attacks.  Bin al-Shibh, often identified as the “20th hijacker,” was the only one of the group who failed to obtain a U.S. visa.  He was accused of aiding the hijackers by wiring money and passing on information from key Al Qaeda leaders.  Further, Bin al-Shibh’s capture was crucial for locating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, himself a rich source of information, whose main priorities were to protect Osama bin Laden and withhold information about planned attacks.

When Sheikh Mohammed was in custody, the use of EIT led to disruption of post 9/11 attacks, which included the West Coast attack on the Library Tower, the Plaza Bank in Washington State, the Sears Tower in Chicago and possibly other locations.  It also led to the capture of Hambali, a Jemaah Islamiya leader with close ties to Al Qaeda and the mastermind of the 2002 Bali attack who Sheikh Mohammed enlisted to execute the so-called “second wave.”

In the aftermath of waterboarding, Sheikh Mohammed provided information on Al Qaeda operative, Iyman Faris, who was working on a plot to cut the Brooklyn Bridge suspension cables and cause a rush-hour collapse. Sheikh Mohammed also gave up information on Jose Padilla, who was plotting a radiologic dirty bomb attack inside the U.S.  Further, Sheikh Mohammed identified two other Al Qaeda terrorists: Uzair Paracha, who was charged with smuggling explosive devices into the country to blow up gas stations along the East Coast, and Adnan Shukrijumah, who surveilled nuclear power plants, the homes of past presidents, historic landmarks, subways and bridges and proved a critical link to locating Osama bin Laden.  

The author learned a great deal in the thousands of hours he spent with Sheikh Mohammed, particularly about Islamic jihadist ideology and logistics.  Sheikh Mohammed described how the failed Bojinka plot launched in the Philippines to simultaneously bomb a dozen U.S. commercial planes and crash them into the ocean was the genesis for the 9/11 attacks.  The terrorist expressed surprise that the U.S. did not respond to the African embassy attacks, the U.S.S. Cole bombing and the Beirut Marine barracks hit.  Mohammed declared that large-scale attacks would not defeat America, which would be destroyed by massive immigration and the outbreeding of non-Muslims.  Mohammed explained that Islamists would use the welfare system to support themselves while they spread jihad and employed America’s laws and rights to protect themselves and their activities.

Another little-discussed side benefit of EIT was that terrorist detainees were conditioned to cooperate in interrogations when they expected that harsh techniques might be used, even when they weren’t going to be used.  Mitchell explains that this type of Pavlovian anticipation meant that EIT could be tapered off after an average of 72 hours.

Enhanced Interrogation makes clear that a significant amount of critical intelligence was acquired through EIT techniques that helped the U.S. capture terrorists, disrupt plots, save lives and better understand the enemy.  The CIA’s interrogation program was a success and provided much information about terrorist organizational structure, leadership financing and planning.  Without EIT, according to Mitchell, the United States would never have killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

When it comes to using EIT, Americans must ask what they value most:  the so-called rights of terrorists intent on destroying America or the safety and security of the American people.  Should U.S. authorities stop people who see themselves as being at war with us and our way of life by employing a pre-emptive, war-focused intelligence gathering approach or do we use an ex post facto law enforcement or criminal approach of convicting terrorists in a court of law?  Surely, the former pro-active perspective offers the best chance for keeping Americans safe.

In Enhanced Interrogation, we see how the limited use of approved non-life threatening enhanced interrogation techniques can be instrumental in gleaning much critical information to thwart terrorist plots and potentially saved thousands of lives.

The intelligence community unjustly suffered a black eye when its use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) was publicized by the media and used as a political issue by Democrats trying to discredit a Republican administration and undermine the post 9/11war effort.  In addition, CIA black site operations were unfairly tied to an isolated case of prisoner abuse by military police at Abu Ghraib, a U.S.-run Iraqi detention facility for terrorist detainees.  What was missing from the head-on attacks on the intelligence agency was the reality of how EIT thwarted terrorist plans and potentially saved thousands of American lives. 

A new book, Enhanced Interrogation:  Inside the Minds and Motives of Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America (Crown Forum, 2016) by psychologist and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Dr. James E. Mitchell, describes the author’s involvement in the development and implementation of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program from its inception in 2002 until it was shut down by Obama in 2009.

The book is an eye-opening account of how thoughtfully and judiciously enhanced interrogation techniques were developed, how they were applied, how much valuable intelligence was gleaned from their use and how effectively they thwarted potentially deadly attacks.

The unfair discrediting of EIT began when California Senator Diane Feinstein, a Senate Select Intelligence Committee member, cherrypicked information from CIA documents and alleged that corrupt CIA officials mercilessly tortured detainees and failed to produce a scintilla of useful intelligence in the process. Yet, her dubious claims were far from the truth.  Feinstein was poised for a witch-hunt against the Bush administration and the CIA.  The Senate Intelligence Committee failed to produce a balanced, bipartisan investigation and even refused to interview any of the CIA operatives and contractors involved in the EIT operation.

In his book, Mitchell defends the CIA program as well run, effective, conducted fully within the bounds of the law and a source of valuable counterterrorism intelligence.  Further, the same Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committees that condemned the program were fully briefed ahead of time and supported it before it became politically useful to denounce it.

In Enhanced Interrogation, Mitchell laments that traditional rapport-building techniques typically used by law enforcement did not work with Islamic terrorist detainees who were trained to resist using various methods laid out in the Manchester Manual.  The manual was a computer file found by Manchester Metropolitan Police in 2000 in the home of Abu Anas al-Libi, a Libyan under indictment in the U.S. for his part in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.  Al-Libi worked as a computer specialist for Al Qaeda. The 180-page document on how to wage war included instructions on how to withstand interrogation methods and falsely claim torture.

Faced with detainees trained to resist traditional interrogation techniques, U.S. officials, after much analysis and soul-searching at the CIA, decided to use Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape or SERE techniques.  These interrogation methods had been used for decades without significant injuries to train the U.S. military in resistance techniques when in enemy captivity.  One of the techniques was waterboarding, which the author and another psychologist lobbied to eliminate from training because they felt it was too effective and would undermine the confidence of soldiers in their ability to withstand interrogation and protect military secrets.  Ultimately, CIA head, George Tenet, the DOJ, White House lawyers, then national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, VP Cheney and President Bush, all approved use of these techniques.

One of the first Islamic terrorist detainees waterboarded was Abu Zubaydah, an operational planner for Al Qaeda prior to 9/11, who was believed to have much valuable intelligence to share with U.S. authorities.  At one critical point after 9/11, Zubaydah had shut down and was unresponsive to questioning.  Prior to waterboarding, he was intensely observed and subjected to a variety of interrogation methods.  In addition, medical doctors, religious leaders and psychologists were consulted to determine if he would experience any long-term medical, psychological or cultural impact from the procedure.

In the end, the waterboarding operation proved to be enormously useful. Zubaydah provided critical information necessary to capture terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and to break up plans for future attacks.

Zubaydah revealed the roles of others, including Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an accomplice to 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Adnan el-Shukrijuman, a senior Al Qaeda operative; and dirty bomber, Jose Padilla.  Zubaydah also admitted that, before he was captured, he had been planning to start his own Al Qaeda-like jihadist group to kill Jews in Israel.  Interestingly, he advised his interrogators to use harsh techniques on other detainees to lessen their guilt and sense of betrayal of Islamic ideals when they yielded after a significant amount of pressure.

Continued waterboarding as time went on resulted in, not a useless torture operation, as later claimed, but the uncovering of a treasure trove of information about terrorists and their plans to launch horrific attacks that could now be thwarted.

When Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen who was the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing and other maritime terrorist attacks was captured in the United Arab Emirates, he endured EIT at a CIA black site before being transferred to GITMO.  Al-Nashiri had much valuable intelligence to impart, having been Osama bin Laden’s go-to guy on sea attacks.  Also, Abu Zubaydah because of his position in Al Qaeda provided a check on the veracity of the information gleaned from the Al-Nashiri interrogations.

Bin Al-Shibh, one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ‘s operatives, headed a cell whose plans to crash a hijacked plane into Heathrow and into buildings in London’s financial district were disrupted in 2003.  He had previously moved to Germany in the mid-1990s and joined the Hamburg cell that planned the 9/11 attacks.  Bin al-Shibh, often identified as the “20th hijacker,” was the only one of the group who failed to obtain a U.S. visa.  He was accused of aiding the hijackers by wiring money and passing on information from key Al Qaeda leaders.  Further, Bin al-Shibh’s capture was crucial for locating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, himself a rich source of information, whose main priorities were to protect Osama bin Laden and withhold information about planned attacks.

When Sheikh Mohammed was in custody, the use of EIT led to disruption of post 9/11 attacks, which included the West Coast attack on the Library Tower, the Plaza Bank in Washington State, the Sears Tower in Chicago and possibly other locations.  It also led to the capture of Hambali, a Jemaah Islamiya leader with close ties to Al Qaeda and the mastermind of the 2002 Bali attack who Sheikh Mohammed enlisted to execute the so-called “second wave.”

In the aftermath of waterboarding, Sheikh Mohammed provided information on Al Qaeda operative, Iyman Faris, who was working on a plot to cut the Brooklyn Bridge suspension cables and cause a rush-hour collapse. Sheikh Mohammed also gave up information on Jose Padilla, who was plotting a radiologic dirty bomb attack inside the U.S.  Further, Sheikh Mohammed identified two other Al Qaeda terrorists: Uzair Paracha, who was charged with smuggling explosive devices into the country to blow up gas stations along the East Coast, and Adnan Shukrijumah, who surveilled nuclear power plants, the homes of past presidents, historic landmarks, subways and bridges and proved a critical link to locating Osama bin Laden.  

The author learned a great deal in the thousands of hours he spent with Sheikh Mohammed, particularly about Islamic jihadist ideology and logistics.  Sheikh Mohammed described how the failed Bojinka plot launched in the Philippines to simultaneously bomb a dozen U.S. commercial planes and crash them into the ocean was the genesis for the 9/11 attacks.  The terrorist expressed surprise that the U.S. did not respond to the African embassy attacks, the U.S.S. Cole bombing and the Beirut Marine barracks hit.  Mohammed declared that large-scale attacks would not defeat America, which would be destroyed by massive immigration and the outbreeding of non-Muslims.  Mohammed explained that Islamists would use the welfare system to support themselves while they spread jihad and employed America’s laws and rights to protect themselves and their activities.

Another little-discussed side benefit of EIT was that terrorist detainees were conditioned to cooperate in interrogations when they expected that harsh techniques might be used, even when they weren’t going to be used.  Mitchell explains that this type of Pavlovian anticipation meant that EIT could be tapered off after an average of 72 hours.

Enhanced Interrogation makes clear that a significant amount of critical intelligence was acquired through EIT techniques that helped the U.S. capture terrorists, disrupt plots, save lives and better understand the enemy.  The CIA’s interrogation program was a success and provided much information about terrorist organizational structure, leadership financing and planning.  Without EIT, according to Mitchell, the United States would never have killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

When it comes to using EIT, Americans must ask what they value most:  the so-called rights of terrorists intent on destroying America or the safety and security of the American people.  Should U.S. authorities stop people who see themselves as being at war with us and our way of life by employing a pre-emptive, war-focused intelligence gathering approach or do we use an ex post facto law enforcement or criminal approach of convicting terrorists in a court of law?  Surely, the former pro-active perspective offers the best chance for keeping Americans safe.

In Enhanced Interrogation, we see how the limited use of approved non-life threatening enhanced interrogation techniques can be instrumental in gleaning much critical information to thwart terrorist plots and potentially saved thousands of lives.



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