Monday, December 14, 2015
Whistleblower Report: Could Obama Have Stopped the Terror Attack in San Bernardino?
Did political correctness cost American lives?
Once again, the Obama Administration is putting political correctness ahead of your national security, and this time there are real consequences:
A former Homeland Security employee says he likely could have helped prevent the San Bernardino terror attack if the government had not pulled the plug on a surveillance program he was developing three years ago.
Philip Haney told Megyn Kelly tonight that as part of his investigation, he was looking into a collection of global networks that were infiltrating radical Islamists into the U.S.
But a year into the investigation, Haney said they got a visit from the State Department and the Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, who said that tracking these groups was problematic because they were Islamic.
His investigation was shut down and 67 of his records were deleted, including one into an organization with ties to the mosque in Riverside, Calif., that San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook attended.
Haney explained that if his work was allowed to continue, it could possibly have thwarted last week's attack.
"Either Syed would have been put on the no-fly list because association with that mosque, and/or the K-1 visa that his wife was given may have been denied because of his association with a known organization," Haney explained.
The level of denial that infects the Obama Administration on the issue of radical Islam is so great that it's now cost American lives.
Angela Merkel is doing more damage to the future of the West than Donald Trump
The founders of the European Union wanted it to give Christendom modern democratic form, but this is now nearly invisible
One day, a historian will pinpoint exactly when we in the West started talking about Muslims. It came surprisingly late. Even in anti-immigration rhetoric, mention of religion used to be rare. The issue then was race. Enoch Powell’s famous “Rivers of Blood” speech of 1968 did not tackle religion. In the index of Simon Heffer’s definitive biography of Powell, the words “Islam” and “Muslim” do not appear.
Probably the first time in modern Britain that Muslims, so named, became the big headline was in 1989. The Ayatollah Khominei’s fatwa called for the death of Salman Rushdie because of his “blasphemous” novel The Satanic Verses. This made waves in the United States too, but my guess is that the question of Islam did not reach the front of the American mind until 11 September 2001.
Sir Salman Rushdie faces the threat of reprisals from Indian Muslims after a leading Islamic institute demanded the government ban his scheduled appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Fewer than 15 years later, it is the hottest subject. This week, Donald Trump made it hotter still. He wants a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s elected representatives can work out what is going on”.
How have we reached this plight? Until we know the answer, we shall not begin to be able to decide how to get out of it.
Like most other commentators, I agree that Mr Trump’s remarks were nasty and dangerous – nasty because they libel millions of decent people, dangerous because they could drive such people to think: “If you hate and fear us, we must hate and fear you.”
But there is another reason why he has caused such a stir. Like all skilled populists, Mr Trump is touching (or rather trampling) on a real problem. If, after all, he had replaced the word “Muslims” with the words “Hindus” or “Christians” or “Jews”, everyone would immediately have concluded that he was, as well as nasty, mad. Politically, that would have been the end of him.
Alas, there are two true things lying behind his idiotic policy suggestion. The first is that the problem is about Muslims. The second is that our “elected representatives” do not know what to do about it.
The above-mentioned Ayatollah Khomeini also said “Islam is politics”. He meant that Islam tells you how to rule, and therefore any unIslamic way of ruling is illegitimate. His remark also implied that his religious status meant that the best person to rule – directly in his own stamping ground, Iran, and indirectly, through his teaching, everywhere – was one Ayatollah Ruollah Khomeini. Islam was his power grab.
Khomeini was a Shia, but a similar way of weaponising the faith was also developed in Sunni Islam. It stands behind organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood (linked here with the Muslim Association of Britain), Jamaat-e-Islami (strong among some members of the Muslim Council of Britain) and Hizb Ut-Tahrir.
It rests not only on an interpretation of the words of God allegedly spoken through the mouth of his Prophet, but on a tale of grievance. In this tale, bad people – colonial powers, Christians, Jews, America, “hypocrite” Muslim monarchs – destroyed the right rule of true Islam (the caliphate) and humiliated the faithful.
This world-view is known as “Islamism”. Islam itself is related to Islamism as patriotism is related to nationalism, the former being based on love of something, the latter on hatred of something else. Islamism validates resentment. Its emotional appeal is like that of communism and fascism, but stronger, because it promises heaven to those who commit its violent acts on earth.
Such ideas have become powerful in the West, partly because of arithmetic: we now have a great many Muslims in our midst – far more here, proportionately, than in Mr Trump’s country, and more in France than here. The risk of violence rises with the total. Even if it is true that 99 per cent of Muslims would not hurt a fly, when you increase the numbers you inevitably get more of those who would. People are, therefore, right to worry more about mass immigration from, say, Syria, than from, say, Poland.
But, even with high numbers, the problem would be much less severe if our leaders and institutions had greater cultural confidence. If they upheld a robust belief in the Western way of life, reflected in what our schools taught, what the BBC broadcast, what rules of citizenship were insisted on, and what was considered injurious to our values, then the doctrines of Islamism would be better resisted.
It is not as if our institutions refuse to have any public doctrine at all – look at the preaching against climate change, or racism. If Mr Trump starts shouting, or Tommy Robinson, formerly of the English Defence League, pops up, the authorities all know how to try to squash their “unacceptable” thoughts.
But if Muslim leaders say that the plight of their brethren in Britain today is like that of Jews in Germany in the Thirties, or that no Muslim should serve in the British armed services against a Muslim country, no one jumps on them. It is not only Jeremy Corbyn, dining last night with what would be better called the Stop the West Coalition, who devoutly believes the narrative of our “Islamophobia”: it is almost the official orthodoxy.
There is a tremendous reluctance to study the genealogy of the harmful ideas. None of the Islamist organisations named above is, so far as I know, actively engaged in promoting violence in this country, but all of them preach extremism which creates the mental space in which violence can breed.
For years, David Cameron has been pushing this point, but the bureaucratic response is agonisingly slow. The website of MI5 still emphasises that, since the Cold War, “we no longer undertake counter-subversion work”. Instead they concentrate on terrorism. Goodness knows, there is a need to head off actual plots, and MI5 should be congratulated for its success, but one reason we won the Cold War was because we understood what, ideologically, we were up against. The ideological content of Islamism is even more important than was that of latter-day Soviet Communism, and much more persuasive within a section of the British population.
The Security Service Act of 1989 allows MI5 to investigate attempts to “undermine parliamentary democracy” by “political” means as well as violent ones. Islamism is, by self-definition, a political attempt to undermine parliamentary democracy, yet is largely unstudied. If our own spies won’t do it, who can? Public bodies dealing with Muslim organisations are, therefore, fighting blind, having few means of telling the good guys from the bad.
Ultimately, the capacity of a civilisation to resist those who hate it depends on its self-belief. In Europe, this was expressed in what was called Christendom, enriched by the ideas of the Enlightenment. The founders of the European Union wanted it to give Christendom modern democratic form, but this is now nearly invisible. The leader of the union’s largest Christian Democrat party, Angela Merkel, has let more than a million mainly Muslim immigrants into her country this year alone. The East German pastor’s daughter is surely a much nicer person than Donald J Trump, but I wonder if she is not doing more actual harm to the future of the West.
Why the Gasps?
You don’t get a reaction of shock and disgust when you say something crazy, you get it when you say something pretty sensible that everybody has been supposed to ignore precisely because the rational arguments against your idea aren’t as strong as the emotions against it.
Besides Trump’s call for a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration, today there was Justice Scalia pointing out that black affirmative action beneficiaries might do better in slower paced colleges. From the Times:
"An affirmative action plan at the University of Texas seemed to be in trouble at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. By the end of an unusually long and tense argument, a majority of the justices appeared unpersuaded that the plan was constitutional.
… In a remark that drew muted gasps in the courtroom, Justice Antonin Scalia said that minority students with inferior academic credentials may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”
“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he added."
The horror, the horror … Here’s the New York Daily News upcoming cover, making my point for me:
I’m not sure if Scalia’s question is totally true, but, obviously, it’s essential to discuss it to have an intelligent debate on affirmative action. And that’s precisely why it was so shocking that Scalia dared bring it up.
Respectability in modern America is proportional to the number of plausible and important ideas you would never dream of mentioning, even if you are a Supreme Court justice or a Presidential candidate.
Hijacking the Little Sisters' Religion
When President Barack Obama addressed the nation Sunday night about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, he was careful to build a wall of separation between the terrorists who had murdered 14 Americans and the religion they claimed to embrace.
"But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West," Obama said.
Were the president to exhibit this same zeal in defending the integrity of Christianity, he would drop his administration's legal pursuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
He would also let all Americans decide for themselves whether it is in keeping with their moral principles to buy, provide or take actions intended to facilitate the provision of insurance that covers sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
Yet the Obama administration has pursued a case into the Supreme Court that, if the administration prevails, would prohibit Catholic nuns from freely exercising their Catholic faith.
It could also move the United States toward accepting the fallacious argument that federal judges ought to have the authority to interpret what are and are not legitimate religious views.
The Little Sisters are bravely resisting.
In practical terms, the government wants to force this order of nuns to take one of two actions. It can sign a document instructing the third-party administrator of its self-insured employee health plan that the administrator is obligated to provide coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices. Or it can give the Department of Health and Human Services the information it would need to tell the third-party administrator it is obligated to do so.
Either way, the government wants to force the nuns to take an action whose purpose is to facilitate distribution of sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
"Our beliefs forbid us from participating, in any way, in the government's program to promote and facilitate access to sterilization, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices," the Little Sisters have said.
As this column noted in July, the sisters' lawyers explained their moral objection in a brief submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which heard their case.
"This is necessary not only to prevent complicity in grave sin, but also to avoid even appearing to condone wrongdoing, which would violate the Little Sisters' public witness to the sanctity of human life and could mislead other Catholics and the public," said the brief. "Such scandal would itself be sinful and would undermine the Little Sisters' ability to carry out their ministry."
The majority of a three-judge panel ruled against the sisters, and, in September, the full appeals court voted not to take up their case.
The appeals court refused to accept the proposition that forcing an order of Catholic nuns to take an action that is expressly intended to convert their health care plan into a conduit for delivering abortion-inducing drugs places a "substantial burden" on the sisters' exercise of their faith. They argued that this is especially true because the Christian Brothers, who currently act as the third-party administrator for the sisters' plan, are themselves exempted from the mandate to provide sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients.
Therefore, the judges argued, the action the government wants to force the nuns to take will not result in the government's intended purpose: the provision of sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients.
When the full appeals court voted not to take up the case, Judge Harris Hartz, joined by four other judges, dissented. He argued that the court was taking a step toward empowering federal judges to rewrite the moral rules of a religion.
"All the plaintiffs in this case sincerely believe that they will be violating God's law if they execute the documents required by the government," said Judge Hartz. "And the penalty for refusal to execute the documents may be in the millions of dollars. How can it be any clearer that the law substantially burdens the plaintiffs' free exercise of religion?
"Yet the panel majority holds otherwise," he wrote. "Where did it go wrong? It does not doubt the sincerity of the plaintiffs' religious belief. But it does not accept their statements of what that belief is. It refuses to acknowledge that their religious belief is that execution of the documents is sinful. Rather, it reframes their belief."
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit hijacked the Catholicism of the Little Sisters of the Poor. It made itself the interpreter of what that faith truly demands.
In its own brief to the appeals court, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had warned of this.
"Indeed, the test repeatedly championed by the government would transform the Religious Freedom Restoration Act's substantial burden analysis into an exercise in amateur theology," said the USCCB brief. "The Constitution, however, does not permit federal courts or government officials to be arbiters of matters of faith."
It is time for the Obama administration to entirely drop its sterilization-contraceptive-abortifacient mandate and declare that federal judges have no right to rewrite the Catholic faith.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.