Saturday, February 11, 2017

Today's Tune: Future Islands - A Dream Of You And Me

Defining fame with Future Islands
September 23, 2016

Music can do a lot of amazing things, but one of its most magical qualities is that it can completely knock down our shields and let us feel emotion we usually don’t connect with in the mundane shuffle of daily life. This is what Future Islands goes for with every performance. Their music lives on that elevated plane, and their display of raw emotion invites you to unshackle yourself and really let it hit you. Listening to the glow of nostalgic synthesizers from Gerrit Welmers and the pulse of the picked J-bass of William Cashion melt behind captivating frontman Sam Herring singing from deep inside while jutting around the stage, don’t be surprised to find yourself having a moment. In our interview, Sam Herring opened up about reliving moments on stage and connecting with the audience on an emotional level, which is what Future Islands is all about.
When Future Islands first graced the airwaves of network television in March 2014, they put on a performance that impressed David Letterman and Paul Shaffer as much as it did the millions watching at home, and those who watched and shared as the performance went viral online. The band had recorded their most ambitious LP yet, Singles, independently on their own dime, and it paid off when they got picked up by indie powerhouse 4AD and the band gained their widest audience ever. The humble synthpop band that had spent nearly a decade steadily grinding on the DIY circuit was suddenly on everyone’s tongues, and their hit song “Seasons (Waiting on You)” was in everyone’s ear. The melancholy song about life’s changes struck a chord with people because of its real depiction of looking back at lost love. It’s sadness and hope and memories beautifully interwoven. It is the complicated feeling of remembering the good times from a life you’ve moved on from, or are trying to.
That emotional experience is Future Islands’ trademark, probably more so than their New Wave and Post-Punk inspired sound, or even Herring’s memeable dance moves. “Trying to open my emotional vulnerability on stage, it’s not about creating a performance as much as allowing people to feel like, ‘Hey this guy can cry on stage in front of a thousand people,' so I can be open. If not in my life, at least just in this moment.”  Herring’s quirky dance moves, guttural yelps, intense stares, chest pounding, and the rest of his idiosyncratic stage maneuvers could put him in a category with some of rock and roll’s great eccentrics, but Herring is no golden god - he’s more like the guy next door. “We’re all small town boys,” he explains, “If I see you on the street, I’m going to say hi, and I hope that you’ll say hi too.” The two sides are seamlessly meshed together by sheer earnestness. “I go into a place when we’re performing, but between songs I’m just a guy... We do go through things in life, and we have the intense dramatic moments. As the songs go, as we play the songs, those are those dramatic moments captured in time.”
The band’s sound was formed at the inception of their first band in college, Art Lords & The Self-Portraits. Welmers and Herring were best friends in high school, but hadn’t yet made music together, and they met William in their first semester at art school. They wanted to make a performance art piece and decided music was the best medium for their message. “Our early influences were Kraftwerk and Joy Division and New Order, so it all kind of came from those sounds... We were just using what we had at our disposal to create, and that were old Casio and Yamaha keyboards and a borrowed bass guitar, borrowed amps. We scraped together what we could to make music with, weird shakers and sound makers and stuff, and that just kind of lead us down a road. These kinds of things defined us early on and we kept with that sound, kept painting with that palette.”
After their LP Singles and the success of the song “Seasons” took them to tour longer and harder than ever before through 2014 and 2015, this year has been a big break, having played just five shows this summer, and only a few announced for this fall. When asked about what the band did over the year, Herring said, “Working on new material and relaxing a lot. Gerrit got hitched. For the guys, definitely spending a lot of time with loved ones and settling in and enjoying that. For me, I’ve been traveling a lot. Writing music on my own and for other people and just getting ready.”
All three members have released music with their side projects this year as well. Cashion and Herring are part of The Snails, a “party rock and roll band with elements of surf music, elements of reggae, [and] elements of punk and post punk,” comprised of members from several different Baltimore bands. They released their debut LP in February, titled Songs From the Shoebox. Keyboardist Welmers is in control of sound design and the programming and production side of the band's music. (Sam calls him the “backbone structure of Future Islands.") He released his 7th album as Moss of Aura, called We’ll All Collide. He brings his synth sensibilities present in Future Islands’ music to a lo-fi electronic chillwave territory that Herring describes as “the perfect beach music”. William’s side project, Peals, is a rhythmic ambient band, crafting gorgeous soundscapes made with guitars, loops, and experimental textures. Their new album, Honey, just dropped last Friday. Herring himself released a hip hop album last September with legendary producer Madlib, Trouble Knows Me, and has had a steady flow of features on other artists tracks releasing throughout the year under his hip hop moniker Hemlock Ernst. “It’s been a busy year without being a busy year.”
The hip hop side career may seem a bit surprising for a small town southern boy turned indie synth pop lead singer, but hip hop was Herring’s first musical love. His older brother introduced him to hip hop as a kid, and he became obsessed. His knowledge of underground regional hip hop from the 1990’s is very extensive.  When he was fourteen he began freestyling in cyphers with his friends and writing a few songs, but never actively pursued recording and releasing music at the time. Years later he found himself inspired by Milo, the Milwaukee based producer and rapper who he met while touring with Future Islands, and he got back into writing rap and started releasing music as Hemlock Ernst. Future Islands manager introduced him to Egon, the longtime General Manager and A&R of legendary Stones Throw Recordswho now runs his own label Now-Again Records. Egon was shocked and maybe a bit flattered that Herring was familiar with Egon’s own short foray as an artist. Sam had a copy of his only album, Curse of the Evil Badger, since high school. Egon asked to hear him rap and was blown away, and linked him up with Madlib. He’s been able to work with and meet his heroes like Busdriver, Baswan, A-Plus from Souls of Mischief, and at least a dozen other underground hip hop artists he was excited to share. “It’s basically like my 16-year-old self’s tape collection coming to life - just kicking it with these guys. It’s been really cool to have that outlet. Hip hop was my original artform. It’s what made me first write. It’s why I fell in love with writing, and that’s continued through what Art Lords became and what Future Islands became, and it’s come full circle now.
The down time for Future Islands has them itching to put out new music and hit the road hard. Specifics are unavailable yet, but Sam tells me they are in the process of making their new album and are planning to hit the road hard again next year. “We’re trying to go completely collaborative right now, and it’s proved pretty fruitful.” He explains that on the past three albums some of the songs were composed individually by Gerrit and then brought to the band at rehearsal, and some were written collaboratively. “This time we’re trying to go back to the old roots of just the three guys in a room... Something about Gerrit and William's connection as musicians has always pulled something out of me.” The few shows that Future Islands is playing this fall are the first rumblings of the waking giant, as they get ready to follow up their breakthrough album. “Every day we’re getting buzzed on social media like ‘When’s it going to come out?’ We’re ready. I’m not saying we’re ready to drop something, but we want to feed people.”


American Security and Islamic Reform

The government must vet aliens for sharia-supremacist ideology.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — February 11, 2017
Image result for sharia protest
"Do you think Islam needs reform?”

Wouldn’t it be interesting, wouldn’t it get us to the crux of the immigration debate, if our best news anchors — I’m looking at you, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier — would put that question to every major politician in Washington?

Instead, the press is asking not just the wrong question but one that utterly misses the point, namely: “How many terrorist attacks have been committed by immigrants from this handful of Muslim-majority countries?” It is the same wrong question posed by the imperious federal judge in Seattle who suspended President Trump’s temporary travel ban on aliens from those countries — seven of them. It is the same wrong question that animated the incorrigible Ninth Circuit appeals court in upholding this suspension — and intimating along the way that Trump, and by implication all who fear for the future of our country, are anti-Muslim bigots crusading against religious liberty (the Ninth Circuit being notoriously selective when it comes to protecting religious traditions).

Does the Trump administration realize it’s the wrong question? I wonder. Instead of attacking the question’s premise, the administration undertakes to answer it. It seems not to grasp that the security argument is not advanced, much less won, by compiling a list of terrorist plots.

Let’s try this again.

Islam does need reform. This is critical to our national security for two reasons that bear directly on the question of which aliens should, and which should not, be allowed into our country.

First, reform is essential because the broader Islamic religion includes a significant subset of Muslims who adhere to an anti-American totalitarian political ideology that demands implementation of sharia — Islamic law. This ideology and the repressive legal code on which it rests are not religion. We are not talking about the undeniably theological tenets of Islam (e.g., the oneness of Allah, the acceptance of Mohamed as the final prophet, and the Koran as Allah’s revelation). We are talking about a framework for the political organization of the state, and about the implementation of a legal corpus that is blatantly discriminatory, hostile to liberty, and — in its prescriptions of crime and punishment — cruel.

Islam must reform so that this totalitarian political ideology, sharia supremacism (or, if you prefer, “radical Islam”), is expressly severable from Islam’s truly religious tenets. To fashion an immigration policy that serves our vital national security interests without violating our commitment to religious liberty, we must be able to exclude sharia supremacists while admitting Muslims who reject sharia supremacism and would be loyal to the Constitution.

Second, sharia supremacists are acting on a “voluntary apartheid” strategy of gradual conquest. You needn’t take my word for it. Influential sharia supremacists encourage Muslims of the Middle East and North Africa to integrate into Western societies without assimilating Western culture. The renowned Muslim Brotherhood jurist Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who vows that “Islam will conquer Europe, conquer America,” urges Muslim migrants to demand the right to live in accordance with sharia. Turkey’s sharia-supremacist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, admonishes that pressuring Muslims to assimilate is “a crime against humanity.” The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim governments that purports to speak as a quasi-caliphate, promulgated its “Declaration of Human Rights in Islam” in 1990 — precisely because what the United Nations in 1948 presumptuously called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is neither “universal” nor suitable to a sharia culture.

Voluntary apartheid does not require insinuating terrorists into migrant populations. It requires insinuating assimilation-resistant migrant populations into Western countries. Those populations form sharia-supremacist enclaves, which (a) demand the autonomy to conduct their affairs under Islamic law as a challenge to the sovereign authority of the host country, and (b) become safe havens for incitement, radicalization, paramilitary training, fundraising, and jihadist conspiracy — the prerequisites for terrorism.

The problem is not that our “See No Islam” policies may be letting some small percentage of trained terrorists into the country (although that is certainly problem). The main problem is that we are creating the conditions under which anti-American enclaves can take root, the Constitution can be undermined, and today’s young Muslim teenager becomes tomorrow’s radicalized jihadist.

We cannot grapple with these challenges if we are intimidated into silence by such questions as whether a “Muslim ban” is being proposed; whether heightened scrutiny would be tantamount to a “religion test”; how many refugees or aliens from this or that Muslim-majority country have been charged with terrorism crimes; whether Muslims would be disproportionately affected by immigration exclusions; and whether a ban on a few Muslim-majority countries can be justified if most Muslim-majority countries are exempted.

Such questions are designed to make vetting Muslims seem inconceivable. They are meant to exhaust you into conceding: “If we have to fret so mightily about the potential impact of immigration laws against Muslims, how could we possibly contemplate examining Muslims directly to sort out sharia supremacists from pro-American Muslims?” You are to pretend that there is no obvious subset of Muslims who are hostile to our country. You are to assume that screening for hostile Muslims would be illegal because to ask about Islam would offend religious liberty — but because you know there are hostile Muslims, you silently hope the authorities have figured out some sneaky, roundabout way to screen for them without appearing to screen for them.

Enough of that. We need to move beyond the “are we targeting Muslims” nonsense and get to the critical question: How do we embrace our Islamic friends while excluding our sharia-supremacist enemies?

Here’s a suggestion: Bring our Muslim friends, loud and proud, into the process.
The only people who may have more interest than we do in Islamic reform are Islamic reformers: courageous Muslims who embrace American constitutional principles of liberty and equality. And at great risk to themselves: Under the supremacist view of sharia, those who depart from Islamic-law principles set in stone a millennium ago are apostates, subject to the penalty of death. You’re not supposed to question that, though, because it’s, you know, “religion.”

How about we stop consulting with the Muslim Brotherhood and other sharia supremacists who tell us Islam is just fine as is, even as its aggressions mount? How about we bring the reformers very publicly into the vetting process, to help the administration tell the good guys from the bad guys? To help the administration show that it is not Muslims but anti-American totalitarians that we seek to exclude.

It is the reform Muslims who tell us that Islam can separate sharia from spiritual life and that pro-Western Muslims do exactly that. It is the sharia supremacists who are outraged by the very suggestion that reform is possible, let alone necessary. If we continue taking our cues from the latter, it means that their noxious political ideology is part and parcel of Islam, and therefore that screening to keep that ideology out of our country is a violation of First Amendment religious liberty.

In other words, if you’re unwilling to say that Islam needs reform, then we can’t vet . . . and we are doomed. On the other hand, if Islam does need reform, isn’t it imperative that we identify the Muslims who resist reform — the sharia supremacists who seek not to join but to radically change our free, constitutional society?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Today's Tune: Future Islands - Ran (Live)

Vladimir Putin and the Return of the KGB

By Michael Curtis
February 10, 2017

Image result for putin kgb 2017

Putin at Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects 2017-01-03

Things have come to a pretty pass, and we don't know where we're at concerning Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.  But we can't call the whole thing off.  We can legitimately differ on whether Putin is a "killer" or not, or the father of his nation, or the noble knight saving Russia.  Few, however, will dispute the conviction that there is no moral equivalence between the Russian and American political and social systems.

Understanding of the Russian system becomes imperative with the announcement of the creation of the MGB (Ministry of State Security), combining a number of existing bodies, which is to be operative before the Russian presidential election of 2018.  It is ominous for two reasons.  One is that with its seeping powers, it will resemble the former KGB; the other is that the MGB was the name of the infamous Stalinist organization for eight years, 1946-53.

The current differences between President Donald Trump and members of the U.S. Senate over policy toward contemporary Russia exist at almost the 100th birthday of one of history's most important train rides.  In April 1917, Vladimir Lenin, accompanied by more than 30 companions, was allowed to ride from Zurich, where they were in exile, to the Finland Station in Petrograd.  Germany allowed the train to go through its country because its leaders believed, correctly, that Lenin's presence in Russia would lead to political instability and to Russia pulling out of World War I so that Germany would no longer have to fight on an Eastern front.

The train ride did lead to the end of the tsarist regime; to the dictatorship of the Communist party; to a totalitarian regime, the Soviet Union; and indirectly to the growth of Nazism as the supposed herald of anti-communism.  It is unlikely that the Bolshevik Revolution would have succeeded without Lenin, who articulated the promise of peace, bread, and land and channeled anti-war feelings and the longing for an end to the war with Germany.  At the Finland station, Lenin declared, "Long live the worldwide Socialist Revolution!"

Petrograd itself became Leningrad, which it remained until 1991, when it became St. Petersburg.  Though Lenin occupied power for a short time, his rule led to the deaths of millions.  The uprising in March 1921 against the Bolsheviks by the sailors and workers at the naval fortress at Kronstadt was crushed, with several thousand killed.

Stalin was not on the train to the Finland station, though after he came to power, hundreds of photos were doctored to make him appear beside Lenin.  There is abundant documentation of the crimes, euphemized as "mistakes," committed by the Stalinist regime.  More information on them comes out all the time.  A recent exposé is by Andrei Zhuko, who worked for years in the archives of the NKVD Soviet secret police.  In the Great Terror of 1937-38, about 1.5 million people were arrested and 700,000 killed.  Zhuko examined the records of 40,000 senior officials in the NKVD, and a database was released of his findings by the organization Memorial, which documents crimes during Stalin's rule.

Memorial lists 3.3 million names of victims.  In all, about 12 million were victims, internally deported or sentenced for political reasons.  Of the 40,000 NKVD on Zhukov's list, about 10% were executed or imprisoned.

Vladimir Putin is not a Stalinist, but he refuses to admit the criminality of the Soviet state.  To understand the present Russian system, it is helpful to trace the heritage and activities of existing Russian institutions, especially the FSB, the elite police force and spy agency, that is more than merely a security service and has immense power, including counterintelligence.

It stemmed from the Cheka, set up by Lenin, soon after the Revolution.  Under its leader, Felix Dzerzhinsky, it collected and disseminated foreign intelligence.  The Cheka then became the OGPU in 1923; the NKVD, notorious for the purges under Stalin of millions during the 1930s, in 1934; and the KGB in 1954.  The KGB was dissolved into separate bodies in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  They included the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service), FAPSI (Communications and Information), GUSP (Special Programs), and FPS (Federal Border Service), plus the main one, the FSK, which was renamed the FSB (Federal Security Service), representing a shift from counterintelligence to security.

Some KGB personnel became businessmen.  One is Alexander Lebedev, now owner of two London newspapers, the Evening Standard and the Independent.  The most important ex-KGB is Vladimir Putin, who joined in 1975 and worked in Leningrad and as an agent in Communist East Germany in the 1980s.  It was Colonel Putin who burned KGB files when the Berlin wall fell on November 9, 1989.

Putin headed the FSB for a year before becoming prime minister of Russia.  He was the third ex-KGB to become prime minister.  Under his rule as P.M. and then as president, the FSB became more important.  Noticeably, ex-KGB officials entered and controlled government bodies or business organizations, many engaging in corrupt activity.  For U.S. politicians, the real question is whether all elements of the Russian system are still controlled by ex-KGB.

Politically, the FSB has its own special institute, IKSI (Institute of Cryptography and Protection of Information).  The large staff works on code-breaking and now on information security and computer systems.

The FSB does not deal with foreign spies.  This is done by the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service).  The SVR, which employs about 13,000, has been headed by individuals close to the Kremlin.  Two were prime ministers: Mikhail Fradkov, 2004-2007, once rumored as a possible successor to Putin, and Yevgeny Primakov, 1989-1989.

According to the report by a British committee headed by former High Court judge Robert Owen, almost certainly it was Putin who approved the killing by poison by an SVR agent of Alexander Litvinenko, ex-FSB and KGB operative, in London in November 2006, while other agents attacked the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise in international waters in September 2013, arresting and detaining the crew.

There are rival organs and power struggles.  One is the Investigative Committee, headed by Alexander Bastrykin, classmate of Putin, which looks into high-level political murders, contra the Federal Protection Service; the FSB (Federal Security Service); and the National Guard, which is the personal security agency of the president.

Putin favors the "Petersburg family," his former ex-KGB colleagues and former Petersburg officials, who are influential in military, security, and law enforcement issues.  It is an informal group sometimes known as the siloviki.

Putin, gathering power and exerting personal authority, has said there is no such thing as a former KGB man.  No longer abiding by a system of divide and rule, Putin has been consolidating power, reshuffling personnel, trying to root out corruption, and trying to decrease costs of the different organizations, as well as to get unity.

To that end, Putin put under his personal control the National Guard.  Most important, he is setting up the MGB, the Ministry of State Security; uniting the FSB with the foreign intelligence service; and employing 250,000 people.  It is ominous that the name is that of Stalin's secret police for almost eight years in 1946-1953.  Even more disturbing is that it is a recreation of the KGB.

President Trump, beware and be prepared.

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Hollywood Chooses Sides in 24: Legacy, and Chooses Poorly

By Kurt Schlister
February 9, 2017

Image result for 24 legacy

Here’s a crazy idea – I know it seems kind of nuts, but if you are trying to make me watch your show or see your movie, perhaps it might be better not to disrespect patriotic Americans like me.

Wacky, huh?

Sure, it’s hard to believe that the industry that brought us virile superhunk Michael Cera and sexy ultrahottie Lena Dunham could make bad decisions. The geniuses in Hollywood clearly have their fingers on Americans’ collective pulse, if you define “Americans” as everyone in a coastal megalopolis who lives within 50 yards of a cruelty-free organic coffee shop.

Take 24: Legacy, the new Jack Bauer-free sequel to the famed post-9/11 terrorist killing show. Now, the original itself eventually went off the rails as it devolved from being a show about Americans killing evil foreigners to being about evil Americans being evil. And that evil usually took the form of some enormous and inexplicable conspiracy that somehow led to Kiefer Sutherland’s TV daughter being menaced by a mountain lion for some reason.

Like Law & Order24 succumbed to the Liberal Preferred Villain Error. In any L&E episode where you have a punk dressed like a gangbanger, you know the killer is actually going to be the suave businessman with the nice Mercedes.Always – just like in real life. And in 24, the evil radical Muslim psycho was always the unwitting catspaw for some shadowy cabal of American capitalists. It got to the point that you watched and muttered “Hey, that guy looks pro-American. He’s in on it.” And he always was – because in Hollywood, the real threat to America isn’t Islamic freaks trying to kill us but guys who seem patriotic.

You know, people like us. Hell, some of us even support President Trump, and you know that means we’re just a trumpet blast away from donning our brown shirts and hoods. The HuffPo said so, so you know it’s true.

Look, if I want to see normal Americans insulted, I can watch CNN. And I don’t watch CNN. But 24: Legacy looked kind of fun and, hoping against hope that Hollywood had learned we patriotic Americans are tired of being dissed, I watched the first episode, which ran right after Hillary lost the Super Bowl.

The show started promisingly enough, with an unflinching depiction of radical Muslim terrorists murdering innocent Americans – it was refreshing to see them willing to depict that gritty bit of realism. But then the show started circling the fake diversity drain with a bigoted leftist agenda that could have been cribbed from a social justice warrior’s rantings at an Oberlin Oppression Studies 101 seminar.

And it’s so lazy and predictable even as it’s racist and stupid. Every straight white male adult not-of-color character has to be a doofus, set up to be showed up by some diversity box-checking Mary Sue Token. How about that generic, vaguely Middle Eastern gal who just showed up at CTU? She’s instantly got the answers Boy Tech who’s been doing this for years doesn’t! And the honky hipster high school teacher? Well, a teen Chechen temptress has him wrapped around her Dracula-accented little finger. Then there’s that Aussie chick who hung out with hobbits in that elf opera? She’ll show head honcho Myron von Mayonnaise, who we know is bad since he fired an unseen Muslim guy because of reasons, some girl power with the stun gun the guards let her carry into the heart of the secure command post! I was shocked that the hero wasn’t a Buddhist lesbian Inuit with a lazy eye.

Actually, the hero was a young black actor who can’t really act but was pretty cool when he was shooting jihadis and yelling things into his cell phone like “We’re running out of time!” and “Get me the schematics of that Burger King!” I sort of wanted to see what happened to him – particularly as far as it involved shooting more jihadis. But then the producer had to go and open his mouth.

"‘I like to say the series begins as if it was written by Trump, but it ends as if it were written by Hillary,’ executive producer and co-showrunner Manny Coto” told The Hollywood Reporter. Wait, did he think that is a good thing?

What was the thought process that led to this guy sharing this insight out loud and on purpose? Is he unaware that at least half his potential audience is against Team Genital Hat? Was he thinking something along the lines of “Well, we really want to appeal to the Hillary voters who like blood-soaked shoot ‘em ups.” Good plan, dude.

But, just in case that comment failed to alienate every single person who didn’t vote for Felonia von Pantsuit, he continued his insanity in the same article:

“But here's the thing: the story of this season deliberately starts on an image that you might call jingoistic, expected and possibly inflammatory . . . The show does not come out on the same end it went in. We overturn deeper truths. There are things going on that we don't understand at first. What at first seems like a kind of straightforward jingoistic event unfolds like an onion into something much different and surprising and kind of sweeps aside the initial impressions that the season begins with. We would be worried if we didn't know where the season goes.”

Phew. I was worried there for a minute that 24: Legacy might actually show Americans as the good guys in this clash of civilizations. Wouldn’t want to be “jingoistic” about ISIS! Thank goodness the show will depict the kind of nuance that allows us to understand how we really aren’t any better than the Seventh Century savages who burn people alive in cages just because we aren’t Seventh Century savages who burn people alive in cages.

The “deeper truth” is that this is no longer a world of three networks anymore. We don’t have to accept whatever video slop you decide to serve us. And we aren’t going to. If you decide to insult us, you’re going to pay because we are going to refuse to pay for your dreck in either cash or time. We won’t watch your shows and we won’t see your movies. You can’t dictate to us anymore; we’re in charge now.

Hollywood, what the hell are you thinking?


By Ann Coulter
February 8, 2017

PHOTO: Elian Gonzalez is held in a closet by Donato Dalrymple, one of the two men who rescued the boy from the ocean, right, as government officials search the home of Lazaro Gonzalez for the young boy, April 22, 2000, in Miami.

Elian Gonzalez is held in a closet by Donato Dalrymple, one of the two men who rescued the boy from the ocean, right, as government officials search the home of Lazaro Gonzalez for the young boy, April 22, 2000, in Miami. (Alan Diaz/AP)

If only we were able to deport citizens, we could use Trump's new policy of excluding those who are "hostile" toward our country to get rid of Judge James Robart.

Judge Robart's veto of Trump's travel ban notwithstanding, there is not the slightest question but that the president, in his sole discretion, can choose to admit or exclude any foreigners he likes, based on "the interests of the United States.”

The Clinton administration used the executive branch's broad power over immigration to send a 6-year-old boy back to a communist dictatorship. The courts were completely powerless to stop him.

As explained by the federal appellate court that ruled on Elian Gonzalez's asylum application: "It is the duty of the Congress and of the executive branch to exercise political will," and "in no context is the executive branch entitled to more deference than in the context of foreign affairs," which includes immigration.

The court acknowledged that Elian might well be subjected to "re-education," "communist indoctrination" and "political manipulation." (Then again, so would enrolling him at Sidwell Friends.) It didn't matter! Sending little boys back to communist dictatorships was the policy of the Clinton administration.

The Obama administration's immigration policy was to ensure that millions of poverty-stricken foreigners would come here and help turn our country into a Mexican version of Pakistan.

When Arizona merely tried to enforce the federal immigration laws being ignored by the Obama administration, the entire media erupted in rage at this incursion into the majestic power of the president over immigration. They said it was like living in Nazi Germany!

The most reviled section of the act, melodramatically called the "Papers Please" law, was upheld by the Supreme Court. But the other parts, allowing state officials to enforce federal immigration laws, were ruled unconstitutional. A president's policy choice to ignore immigration laws supersedes a state's right to enforce them.

The court conceded that hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens were arrested in Arizona each year, that they were responsible for "a disproportionate share of serious crime," and that illegals constituted nearly 6 percent of Arizona's population.

But Arizona was powerless to enforce laws on the books -- if those laws happened to be about immigration. The president's authority over immigration is absolute and exclusive, as part of his authority over foreign policy.

To review:

-- When the president's immigration policy is to promote international communism: The president wins.

-- When the president's immigration policy is to transform America into a different country: The president wins.

-- But when the president's immigration policy is to protect Americans: Some piss-ant judge announces that his authority exceeds that of the president.

This is exactly what I warned you about in Adios, America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World HellholeNothingTrump does will be met with such massive resistance as his immigration policies.

The left used to attack America by spying for Stalin, aiding our enemies, murdering cops and blowing up buildings. But, then liberals realized, it's so much more effective to just do away with America altogether!

Teddy Kennedy gave them their chance with the 1965 immigration act. Since then, we've been taking in more than a million immigrants a year, 90 percent from comically primitive cultures. They like the welfare, but have very little interest in adopting the rest of our culture.

In many parts of the country, you're already not living in America. Just a few more years, and the transformation will be complete. There will be a North American landmass known as "the United States," but it won't be our country.

The only thing that stands between America and oblivion is a total immigration moratorium. We are well past the point of quick fixes -- as Judge Robart's delusional ruling proves.

The judiciary, both political parties, the media, Hollywood, corporate America and approximately 1 million lobbying groups are all working frantically to bring the hardest cases to our shores. Left-wing traitors, who used to honeymoon in Cuba and fight with peasant revolutionaries in Peru, toil away, late into the night, to ensure that genocidal Rwandans can move to America and immediately start collecting food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security.

No matter how clearly laws are written, government bureaucrats connive to import people from countries that a majority of Americans would not want to visit, much less become. Federal judges issue lunatic rulings to ensure that there will never be a pause in the transformation of America.

Congress could write laws requiring immigrants to pay taxes, learn English, forgo welfare and have good moral character. It could write laws giving the president authority to exclude aliens in the public interest.

Except it already has. Those laws were swept away by INS officials, federal judges and Democratic administrations -- under ferocious pressure from America-hating, left-wing groups.

The country will not be safe until the following outfits are out of business:

The ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project; the National Immigration Forum; the National Immigration Law Center; the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild; the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; the Office of Migration and Refugee Services; the American Immigration Law Foundation; the American Immigration Lawyers Association; the Border Information and Outreach Service; Atlas: DIY; the Catholic Legal Immigration Network; the Clearinghouse for Immigrant Education; the Farmworker Justice Fund; Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees; the Immigrant Legal Resource Center; the International Center for Migration, Ethnicity and Citizenship; the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force; the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; the National Association for Bilingual Education; the National Clearinghouse on Agricultural Guest Worker Issues; the National Coalition for Dignity and Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants; the National Coalition for Haitian Rights; the National Council of La Raza; and the National Farm Worker Ministry.

And that's only a small fraction of the anti-American immigration groups assiduously dragging the Third World to our shores -- while you were busy working.

Look at that list -- look at Judge Robart's ruling! -- and ask yourself: Is it possible that anything short of a total immigration moratorium can save this country? Only when there is no immigration to bellyache about will these nuts be forced to think of a new way to destroy America.


Wednesday, February 08, 2017


By Matthew Schmitz
March 2017 Issue of First Things
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Jude Law in 'The Young Pope'
The Young Pope, HBO’s series about an arch-reactionary successor to Pope Francis, is often boring and occasionally blasphemous, but its images are splendid: Jude Law, dressed in papal white, reclining with a cigarette, as menacing as Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt. Jude Law, standing on the sedia gestatoria, arms outstretched like Pius XII. Jude Law, celebrating the Tridentine Rite as if Paul VI had never reigned.
Each of these images affords the thrill of transgression. Just as AMC’s Mad Men offered its viewers the frisson of watching natty and unpleasant people smoke and drink in the office (a relief from casual Fridays, anti-smoking campaigns, and corporate sponsorship of every enlightened cause), The Young Pope depicts a Church that no longer seeks the favor of the world—and is all the more fabulous for it.
Upon his election, the young pope takes the name Pius XIII to signal a return to the past. When he addresses his cardinals, he lays out his anti-modern program: “Tolerance doesn’t live here anymore. It’s been evicted. It vacated the house for the new tenant, who has diametrically opposite tastes in decorating.” Diametrically opposite, and much improved. “The liturgy will no longer be a social engagement,” he declares. I confess that when I heard him say, “The Vatican must immediately buy back the papal tiara,” I let out a whoop.
Paolo Sorrentino, who wrote and directed the series, does not seem to be a traditional Catholic. As with most recent treatments of faith, a little more religious literacy would have gone a long way. Nonetheless, The Young Pope reveals the exhaustion of attempts to make the Church attractive by conforming it to the world. Reveling in supposedly old-fashioned garments like the papal red shoes and wide-brimmed saturno, it shows how attractive an unapologetically traditional Catholicism can be.
Sorrentino is not the first artist to admire Catholic tradition without adhering to it. Perhaps because they stand at some distance from the faith, or perhaps because they are trained in manipulating forms, artists have a way of hitting on truths about the Church that many Catholics cannot see. The signatories of the 1971 “Agatha Christie Letter” that pleaded for the preservation of the Latin Mass—people like Vladimir Ashkenazy, Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, Nancy Mitford, Iris Murdoch, and Joan Sutherland—were not generally Catholics, let alone traditional ones. But as artists, they were able to see the beauty and value of a liturgical form that too many practicing Catholics, through familiarity, had foolishly come to despise.
Click on the link below to read the rest of the article:

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Evolving Threat of Jihad in the West

February 6, 2017

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One of the most important stories related to the September 11 attacks was the one that was deliberately left largely untold. That story is the response of some Muslims in America to the massacre of nearly 3,000 people by Islamic supremacists in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

According to a Washington Post article published on September 18, 2001, in Jersey City, New Jersey, across the river from the destroyed World Trade Center, “Within hours of the two jetliners plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”

The New York Post reported on September 15, 2001, that Muslim Americans in Patterson, NJ were also seen celebrating the attacks. Word-of-mouth reports abounded in the weeks and months following September 11 of spontaneous celebrations carried out that day in Dearborn, Michigan, in Virginia and other Muslim American communities.

The most notable aspect of the published reports of the celebrations was that there were so few of them.

After all, the notion that any Muslim Americans would celebrate the jihadist attack was certainly newsworthy.

The stories were suppressed at the time by political leaders. Then New York mayor Rudy Guiliani for instance said the celebrations shouldn’t be reported lest they lead to violent attacks against peaceful Muslims.

Then president George W. Bush rushed to defend and uphold Islam as a “religion of peace,” almost immediately after the attacks. Bush insisted that al-Qaida was a fringe movement and ideology in the world of Islam. Its Islamic supremacism did not reflect either the Islamic faith or the ideology of the overwhelming majority of Muslims.

In 2007, then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice banned US officials from using the terms “jihad,” “Islamic” and “Islamism” in describing Islamic jihad and the ideology of Islamism or in conjunction with discussions of Islamic jihad and terrorism.

Under former president Barack Obama, the war on language went into high gear. Not only were all terms relating to Islam banned from use in the federal government, the term “terrorism” was even purged from the official discourse. Obama dumped the Bush-era term, “War on Terror,” for the even more meaningless phrase, “Overseas Contingency Operations.”

Obama barred the FBI from investigating radical Islamic breeding grounds and replaced surveillance operations with a program called, “Countering Violent Extremism.” Under that program, Islamists were given federal support. The notion was that once they were empowered, they would convince their communities to reject violence.

The US federal government’s actions were far from unique in the Western world. Indeed, when compared to the efforts taken by Europeans to sanitize public discourse of all discussion of Islamic jihadism, America’s efforts look downright moderate. In Europe, almost every mention of Islamism has been barred. Those that have criticized it have been subjected to criminal prosecutions and convictions.

In most cases, the rationales for these efforts to block discussion of the threat of radical Islam have been admirable.

Western nations have long histories of racism and intolerance. On the surface at least, placing a spotlight on the actions of one community, or adherents of one specific religion flies in the face of everything that the nations of the West have come to understand about how racism and bigotry takes root in a society. The very act of mentioning bad behavior carried out by members of a specific group seems inherently bigoted.

The problem with this well-intentioned position was self-evident from the start. It is not bigoted to point out the bigotry of others and to confront and challenge it.

It is bigoted not to do so. Even worse, it is dangerous.

It is impossible to solve a problem like Islamic radicalism by ignoring it. To the contrary, by ignoring it, you ensure that it will grow.

One of the strategically significant aspects of the September 11 attacks is that they showed that Islamic terrorists do not require control of territory to cause massive harm to their enemies and to their enemies’ societies.

On September 11, the 19 hijackers did not occupy downtown Manhattan. They did not drive tanks down 5th Avenue.

Armed with box cutters and informed by a bigoted, supremacist ideology, 19 Islamic terrorists viewed themselves as heroes as they used crude weapons to commit murder on a scale never seen before on American soil.

And after they did so, far from being condemned across the board in the Islamic world, they were celebrated as heroes by a very large number of Muslims not only in the Middle East but in the US and throughout the Western world.

The devastating implications of the US government’s decision to ignore the fact that at least some American Muslims celebrated the attacks were revealed over the weekend in an extraordinary report by Ruchmini Callimacci in the New York Times.

Titled, “Not ‘Lone Wolves’ After All: How ISIS Guides World’s Terror Plots from Afar,”Callimacci reported how Islamic State (ISIS) locates and recruits Muslims in countries around the world over the Internet. Once they recruit these adherents, ISIS terror masters in Syria and elsewhere direct them in plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks. These remote commanders dictate the actions of their distant adherents from the moment they make contact with them until just moments before they commit their attacks or are arrested by law enforcement bodies.

ISIS handlers, or commanders, are able to control the actions of their recruits as a platoon commander controls the actions of his soldiers, without ever meeting them. In many cases, the recruits do not even know their handlers’ identities, have never heard their voices and do not know where they are from.

The one thing that joins them to those directing them from thousands of kilometers away is their shared belief in the supremacy of radical Islam over all other ways of life. Their common faith in the justice of acts of mass murder against non-believers is so strong that it bridges the gap between the real and virtual worlds.

ISIS’s mode of operation is a natural progression from the September 11 attacks. Along the way, Anwar al-Awlaki, the commander of al-Qaida forces in Yemen killed in a US drone strike in 2011, was the pioneer of moving the direction of Western jihadists from the physical world to the virtual one. For more than a decade, Awlaki indoctrinated and directed numerous jihadists in the US and the UK. In the beginning Awlaki directed their actions by meeting with them and preaching to them in shared physical space. Later, he decamped to Yemen where he continued his efforts. He preached to them through cassette tapes, through satellite broadcasts and Internet chat rooms. He indoctrinated them through online essays. And he directed their terrorist attacks by email.

An interesting incident in Awlaki’s career came in 1996. At that time, Awlaki was working as a preacher at the Denver Islamic Society. According to a New York Times report from 2010, Awlaki left the mosque, and moved to San Diego shortly after an elder of the mosque upbraided him for telling a mosque member to travel to Chechnya to join the jihad against Russia.

The most revealing aspect of the story is that the elder who criticized Awlaki asked the New York Times not to publish his identity. By 2010, Awlaki had already been publicly implicated in directing scores of Western jihadists to commit attacks in the US and the UK. He was considered the commander of al-Qaida forces in Yemen. And yet, the mosque elder in Denver didn’t feel comfortable openly condemning him.

His aversion indicated where the balance of power in the American Muslim community lies.

Whether or not President Donald Trump is able to reinstitute his executive order mandating a 90-day ban on entry of nationals from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the fact is that such a move will be insufficient to diminish the terrorist threat in America. As Callimacci’s article made brutally clear, so long as the intellectual shackles of political correctness block the US and other Western governments from taking concerted action against the creed of Islamic supremacism and its adherents inside their own borders, the virtual terrorism command ISIS now controls will last until it morphs into an even more deadly threat in the months and years to come.


Why globalists detest a populist president who puts Americans first.

February 7, 2017
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President Donald Trump has been confronted by unprecedented demonstrations not only in the United States but even in foreign countries.
President Trump’s support of Brexit and his promises to secure our border with Mexico and subject aliens seeking entry into the United States to “extreme vetting” runs contrary to the Globalists goals.  Consequently they fired up the mobs even before Trump’s inauguration.
Globalists are behind the vilification of President Trump and anyone who supports effective immigration law enforcement. 
Globalists abhor the notion of national sovereignty and see secure borders as impediments to their wealth and consequently are doing everything possible to create Immigration Failure -- By Design.
Globalists have support “Sanctuary Cities” ignoring the nexus between terrorism, enclaves and sanctuary cities.
For decades globalists and their “front groups” such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have foisted their lies on Americans, through what I have come to refer to as the immigration con game.
News organizations have, all too often, become venues for the disbursement of propaganda. 
Consider how the seven countries whose citizens are being temporary barred from entering the United States have been described in the media as “Muslim majority countries.”  Yet there is nothing in Trump’s executive orders that mention Islam but rather focus on how the list of  countries was compiled by the Obama administration because of their links to terrorism and the inability to vet citizens of those countries.
Obviously the Democrats have been publicly leading the charge to vilify President Trump.  Trump upset their plans to coronate Hillary and were stunned by her defeat.  In response Democrats tried every possible strategy to delegitimize the outcome of the election and, by extension, the Trump presidency.
However, it is impossible to ignore that many journalists and politicians have, marching lockstep with the globalists, accused Trump of not really being a Republican but of being a “Populist”
Populism has been defined as:
 support for the concerns of ordinary people: it is clear that your populism identifies with the folks on the bottom of the ladder | the Finance Minister performed a commendable balancing act, combining populism with prudence.
the quality of appealing to or being aimed at ordinary people: art museums did not gain bigger audiences through a new populism.
Those journalists and politicians, upset over the notion of a President of the United States being a “Populist,” must not have read the Declaration of Independence that begins with the phrase, “We the people…”
You have to wonder what the Founding Fathers and especially what Thomas Jefferson would say about all of this.
In order to block the implementation of Trump’s immigration policies crafted to protect national security and the lives of Americans, the Democratic Party went “Judge shopping” and came up with James Robart, a jurist who, the media has been quick to report, had been, in fact, appointed by President George W. Bush. 
CNN provided a thumbnail sketch about James Robart: 5 things to know about judge who blocked travel ban that noted that Judge Robart sided with “Black Lives Matter” over the police in Seattle, Washington in a case last year, involving an allegation of excessive force by police.
The CNN report also noted that Judge Robart had also provided pro bono assistance to refugees.
My recent article on President Trump's Immigration Challenge  noted that the President not only has to undo the catastrophic damage done to immigration law enforcement by the Obama administration but also deal with the very structure of the Department of Homeland Security, the agency created by the Bush administration in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 to address vulnerabilities in the immigration system identified by the 9/11 Commission.
My article noted that I testified at a hearing on May 5, 2005 conducted by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims conducted a hearing on the topic, “New 'Dual Mission' Of The Immigration Enforcement Agencies.” 
Of particular interest is the statement made by the then-chairman of that subcommittee, Rep. John Hostettler who, in part said in his prepared statement:
The Homeland Security Act, enacted in November 2002, split the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS, into separate immigration service and enforcement agencies, both within the Department of Homeland Security. This split had been pursued by Chairman Sensenbrenner based on testimony and evidence that the dual missions of INS had resulted in poor performance.
Separating the former INS into two separate agencies to separate the immigration benefits program from the law enforcement elements of the former INS was a strategy I had strongly advocated in my testimony for the 9/11 Commission and during my discussions with members of the Congress as well as in my testimony at several hearings.  However, when the DHS was created, the immigration enforcement components of the DHS were split up and combined with other, non-immigration law enforcement agencies, thereby severely hobbling efforts at immigration law enforcement.
Consider this additional excerpt from Chairman Hostettler’s testimony:
At no time during the reorganization planning was it anticipated by the Committee that an immigration enforcement agency would share its role with other enforcement functions, such as enforcement of our customs laws. This simply results in the creation of dual or multiple missions that the act sought to avoid in the first place.
Failure to adhere to the statutory framework established by HSA has produced immigration enforcement incoherence that undermines the immigration enforcement mission central to DHS, and undermines the security of our Nation's borders and citizens.
It is impossible to believe that this was done by accident.  Clearly the Bush administration opposed securing our borders and effectively enforcing our immigration laws.
Today Democrats such as Chuck Schumer have seized every opportunity to bash Donald Trump over his immigration policies.  Of course, during the Obama administration it was Schumer who called for a suspension of the admission of Syrian refugees because of concerns that it was impossible to vet these aliens, a concern raised by no less an authority than John Brennan, the Director of the CIA who had been appointed by Obama.
As the Washington website, The Hill, reported on November 17, 2015, Schumer: Refugee pause may be necessary.
What a difference a year (and and administration) can make!  You have to wonder if Schumer’s own words back then, bring tears to his eyes today.
However, now that President Trump is giving Schumer what he asked for in 2015, pausing the admission of refugees who cannot be vetted, to protect Americans lives and national security, Schumer has taken to shamelessly bashing the President. 
On January 27, 2017 CBS reported, Sen. Menendez Slams Border Wall, Trump’s Other Immigration Plans that included this excerpt:
Menendez called the Mexican border wall a “wall of hate.” He said further that Trump’s plan to fund it violates national agreements, and will ultimately cost American jobs.
“So this is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in the incipiency of a new administration that only creates a major diplomatic and trade challenge with one of the most significant front door neighbors that we have in the western hemisphere,” Menendez said.
Menendez’s statements are nonsensical.  The purpose of the wall is to prevent the entry of criminals, terrorists and illegal aliens who displace American and lawful immigrant workers by evading the inspections process at ports of entry.
The purpose of the wall is to prevent the flood of narcotics into the United States.  Indeed, as Menendez made that statement, El Chapo” was being held in a jail in lower Manhattan.  Perhaps Menendez should read the January 20, 2017 press release“Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera Faces Charges in New York for Leading a Continuing Criminal Enterprise and other Drug-Related Charges” and check out the links it contains to the Detention Memo and the Indictment
Furthermore, the wall that President Trump is determined to build would not block access to our ports of entry along the U.S./Mexican border, just make certain that all movements across that violent border take place at those ports of entry and not between those ports of entry.
The only commerce that would be blocked by that wall would involve the influx of massive quantities of drugs and illegal aliens including criminals and terrorists.
However, Menendez is a Democrat.  It is clear where the Democrats stand on all of these issues. 
The question that has to be raised, however, is why Republicans such as Lindsay Graham and John McCain would stand should to shoulder with Menendez and Schumer on virtually every single issue where immigration and border security are concerned.
The answer is not difficult to find- they were all members of the “Gang of Eight” or, as I prefer to refer to them, “The Eight Gangsters.”
If the Republican Party is to continue to meet the rational and reasonable demands of the citizens of the United States and maintain its majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives, it will need to purge the globalists from their ranks, who have far more in common with today’s Democrats than with the goals of the Trump administration and “We the people.”
The Globalists are betraying America and Americans.
This is not about “Left” or “Right” but about right or wrong.
Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is