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If you don’t know who Thad McCotter is, don’t worry; you will soon. The next GOP candidate debate is scheduled for August 11, and it’s safe to say that McCotter’s presence in the lineup will get a lot of folks’ attention. Let’s put it this way: he’s not only the tallest guy in the room, but the brainiest. Also, the wittiest — as anyone who’s seen any of his frequent appearances on FOX’s “RedEye” knows.

When I first heard the name Thaddeus McCotter several years ago, I pictured an older Southern gentleman, white-haired, with spectacles and an old-fashioned pocketwatch in his vest, complete with a fob… Colonel Sanders without the bowtie.  Whoa.  I was way off base. Turns out the five-term Michigan Congressman is lean and tall, relatively young, athletic (football and baseball), and the lead guitarist in a Congressional rock-n-roll band, the “Second Amendments.

Formerly the head of the Republican Policy Committee — the #4 GOP leadership position in the House — McCotter represents Michigan’s 11th district, which includes western and northwestern suburbs of Detroit. A Detroit native, McCotter is highly sensitive to the automotive industry which employs (or has employed) many of his constituents. This may explain several pro-union votes cast by McCotter that many GOP primary voters, myself included, may find troubling.

However, since there is no perfect candidate (“perfect” being defined as: “agrees with me 100% on every issue”), I have a one-free-pass policy: I give each candidate a “Get Out of Jail Free” card on one issue. I figure that’s as close to perfect as you’re ever going to get in an imperfect world — and in the particularly imperfect world of politics. And that’s just on the issues. The perfect candidate also needs to be someone who can win.

Let me tell you how close to perfect McCotter is. He has the sheer intellectual firepower of Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann’s passion for the Constitution, the even temperament of Tim Pawlenty, the moral compass of Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain’s can-do American spirit. All that, plus a great sense of humor.

On the issues, McCotter is pro-life, pro-Israel, anti-Obamacare; he advocates lower taxes, reduced spending, small government, a strong defense, energy independence and Paul Ryan’s budget plan. He believes in responsible stewardship of natural resources but doesn’t buy the global warming hoax. The most recent piece of legislation he’s introduced is H.R. 2261, a bill to cut off United States contributions to the United Nations if if the U.N. goes through with recognizing an independent Palestinian “state” as planned this fall.

Actually, most of the GOP candidates share those views. I don’t understand conservative pundits who complain about the lineup of Republican candidates. I happen to think we suffer from “an embarrassment of riches.” Our candidates — those who have announced and the potential ones waiting in the wings — are fabulous, in my opinion, both in their stands on the issues and in their personal skills and experience. If anything, the problem is one of choosing between many excellent and virtuous people.

So what makes McCotter stand out? At least two very major things. First, he has a profound vision of the Big Picture — and, crucially, the ability to articulate it — that is reminiscent of G.K. Chesterton. Second, he has thought through, and deeply cares about, some hugely important issues that I don’t see anyone else in the GOP addressing:

1.  the very real challenges posed by globalization (jobs go to where labor is cheapest, even if that means prison and slave labor);

2.  the fact that Communist China is really and truly Communist, can not be trusted, and indeed is taking hostile action against us politically, economically, technologically and militarily;

3.  the fact that both for economic and for military security, we need a manufacturing base in this country;

4.  the crucial importance of “intermediating institutions” to the social fabric — churches, parent-teacher organizations, Kiwanis clubs, softball leagues, Boy Scouts, small-town chambers of commerce, etc. — without which society is hollowed out, reduced to isolated and vulnerable individuals on one end and an intrusive, overreaching government on the other. It is these intermediating institutions that help keep families and communities strong, strong enough to neither desire nor create an opening for the “nanny state.”

This last point is what Catholic social teaching calls “subsidiarity” — the principle that “human affairs are best handled at the lowest possible level, closest to the affected persons.” In other words, if a need can be met by one’s family, then the school or community should not interfere. If the local community can meet the need, then the state or its agencies should stay the heck out of the picture.

Thad McCotter “gets” all this on a deep, instinctual level — and that’s another reason his thinking reminds me of G.K. Chesterton, who was probably the most able exponent in the English language of the concept of subsidiarity. Many of our conservative candidates are “pro-family” — but precious few (Santorum is the only other one I can think of) explicitly recognize the crucial principle of subsidiarity, without which the bones of a pro-family stance have no flesh.

McCotter asserts that too many of us on the right, losing sight of subsidiarity, have become almost as ideological as our enemies on the left. We have gotten suckered into the ideology of “creative destruction,” which is not true conservatism at all. Here’s how McCotter explains it in his book, Seize Freedom!: “Creative destruction” is

the ideology that led “conservatives” to falsely think materialist panaceas — notably the chimera of “free trade” — would solve all problems between peoples.  Enrapt by this deceit, the heralds of “creative destruction” (for everyone but themselves) placed a greater value on saving five dollars on an imported shirt from a sweatshop than on defending the inherent dignity of individuals; than on ensuring fair competition and jobs for American manufacturers and workers; than on securing the national security of the United States from predatory nations like Communist China; and, yes, than on preserving the moral foundations of American culture, which secures and sustains our free-market prosperity.

I like and trust Thad McCotter because he espouses the basic, common-sense truth that I first heard articulated by Mike Huckabee back in 2008: To be secure and to remain free, our country absolutely must be self-sufficient in three things — food, energy and defense. Did you know that we have been outsourcing various defense-systems components? Not to mention that we import many of the machine tools that we need for manufacturing the components that we do still make here. Unlike any of the other candidates, Thad McCotter prioritizes not just “jobs” in the abstract, but specifically the necessity for America to restore its manufacturing base, which he calls our “Arsenal of Democracy.”

As for the “food” leg of the three-legged food-energy-defense stool, you will notice that McCotter is the only Republican candidate who mentions farmers. (He even put that electric guitar of his to use playing at a Farm Aid concert.) McCotter believes that the information-and-services economy so beloved by the liberal elites is no stable economy at all. A healthy, secure America, he says, is a nation of factories, and (significantly to this heartlander) “a nation of farms.”

As an admirer of E.F. Schumacher, Wendell Berry, and G.K. Chesterton, I love it that McCotter believes these things to his marrow. But the scheming political activist in me that wants to win elections rejoices that McCotter’s combination of conservative social values, strong-national-defense advocacy, and blue-collar (both factory and farm) sympathies will appeal to precisely those same working-class voters who enabled Ronald Reagan to win the White House, introducing the term “Reagan Democrats” to the American political lexicon.

McCotter can win those people in the middle who voted for Obama in 2008 because they’d bought the lie that Obama was a “moderate” and a “uniter.” Those people, now disillusioned, are more than ready to vote for a Republican, provided that they feel that he or she understands their concerns. Most importantly, Thad McCotter will win them not by watering down conservatism, but by explaining it so well that he will persuade people of the logic and rightness of conservatism. Just as Reagan did.

Congressman Pat Tiberi of Ohio says that McCotter represents an important part of the Reagan coalition that the GOP is going to have to win again to be a successful national party. “When my dad voted for Ronald Reagan, it was the first Republican he ever voted for,” Tiberi says. “He was a Catholic, a union worker, an immigrant. We need to reach voters like that who share our values but identify with the Democrats for demographic reasons.” McCotter, he says, “clearly and confidently communicates what he believes” in a way that “speaks to them.”

All right, enough about Thad McCotter. Check him out for yourself. Here he is in Whitmore Lake, MI, announcing his candidacy at a July 4th weekend “Freedom Fest”:

As you can see,  Joshua Sharf got it right when he said, “McCotter takes his politics seriously, but not himself, a rare characteristic in a politician.”

McCotter has a solid worldview, not just a set of talking points; a philosophy, not just a personal promotion strategy.

His book, Seize Freedom!, is available from Amazon; many of his speeches and interviews are online at YouTube (I’ve added one of my favorite McCotter speeches to the “Great Speeches” page here at this blog); and the best profiles I’ve seen of the man are at American Spectator and the New York Daily News.

Check out his campaign website, McCotter 2012.

As for me, I’m counting down the days until the Iowa Straw Poll. McCotter’s going to rock it — in more ways than one.

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Rep. Allen West recently gave an awesome speech to the Center for Security Policy.

While it seems that our media can only focus on one “crisis” at a time, Allen West never takes his eye off of all the threats to U.S. national security.

No teleprompter, you’ll notice. The man is a walking encyclopedia, and he can communicate.

What Paul Ryan does for budget issues, Allen West does for national security.

Hat Tip: Big Peace

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Yet one more reason in the ever-growing list of reasons why I’m not an “environmentalist” anymore…. Check out this eye-opening piece at the American Thinker:

Some sixty years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began the process of taming the Missouri by constructing a series of six dams.  The idea was simple: massive dams at the top moderating flow to the smaller dams below, generating electricity while providing desperately needed control of the river’s devastating floods.

The stable flow of water allowed for the construction of the concrete and earthen levees that protect more than 10 million people who reside and work within the river’s reach.  It allowed millions of acres of floodplain to become useful for farming and development.  In fact, these uses were encouraged by our government, which took credit for the resulting economic boom.  By nearly all measures, the project was a great success.

But after about thirty years of operation, as the environmentalist movement gained strength throughout the seventies and eighties, the Corps received a great deal of pressure to include some specific environmental concerns into their MWCM (Master Water Control Manual, the “bible” for the operation of the dam system).  Preservation of habitat for at-risk bird and fish populations soon became a hot issue among the burgeoning environmental lobby.  The pressure to satisfy the demands of these groups grew exponentially as politicians eagerly traded their common sense for “green” political support.

Things turned absurd from there….

The Corps began to utilize the dam system to mimic the previous flow cycles of the original river, holding back large amounts of water upstream during the winter and early spring in order to release them rapidly as a “spring pulse.”  The water flows would then be restricted to facilitate a summer drawdown of stream levels.  This new policy was highly disruptive to barge traffic and caused frequent localized flooding, but a multi-year drought masked the full impact of the dangerous risks the Corps was taking.

This year, despite more than double the usual amount of mountain and high plains snowpack (and the ever-present risk of strong spring storms), the true believers in the Corps have persisted in following the revised MWCM, recklessly endangering millions of residents downstream….

Perhaps the environmentalists of the Corps grew tired of waiting decades to realize their dream of a “restored Missouri River.”  Perhaps these elements heard the warnings and saw in them an opportunity to force an immediate re-naturalization of the river via epic flood.  At present, that is impossible to know, but to needlessly imperil the property, businesses, and lives of millions of people constitutes criminal negligence.  Given the statements of Corps personnel, and the clear evidence of their mismanagement, the possibility that there is specific intent behind their failure to act must be investigated without delay.

In recent decades, many universities have steeped their Natural Sciences curriculum in the green tea of earth-activism, producing radically eco-centric graduates who naturally seek positions with the government agencies where they can best implement their theories.  Today, many of these men and women have risen high in their fields, hiring fellow travelers to fill subordinate positions and creating a powerful echo chamber of radical environmentalist theory.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a victim/tool of the above-described process.  The horrifying consequence is water rushing from the dams on the Missouri twice as fast as the highest previous releases on record.  Floodgates that have not been opened in more than fifty years are in full operation, discharging water at a rate of 150,000 cubic feet per second toward millions of Americans downstream.

This is a mind-boggling rate of release.  Consider that 150,000 cubic feet of water would fill a football field instantly to a depth of four feet.  This amount of water, being released every second, will continue unabated for the next several months.  The levees that protect the cities and towns downstream were constructed to handle the flow rates promised at the time of the dam’s construction.  None of these levees have ever been tested at these levels, yet they must hold back millions of acre-feet of floodwater for the entire summer without failing.  In the flooding of 1993, more than a thousand levees failed.  This year’s event will be many orders of magnitude greater.There are many well-publicized examples of absurd obeisance to the demands of radical environmentalists resulting in great economic harm.  The Great Missouri River Flood of 2011 is shaping up to be another — only this time, the price will likely be paid in lives lost as well as treasure.  Ayn Rand said, “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

We need to begin the investigations immediately.  It seems that it is sanity, and not the river, that needs to be restored.

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While the nation was busy obsessing over Anthony Weiner’s private parts, we missed what should have been by far the more important story: his wife, Huma Abedin. As deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and by many accounts, her closest aide — Huma Abedin is privy to many state secrets. This is disturbing because Abedin’s immediate family members are more than tangentially involved in the Islamist cause. Not just Muslim. Islamist. As in: militant Islam. The enemy. In plain English: Someone with close ties to our enemies has an extremely high-level position in our State Department. Hello? Anyone awake?

According to Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack writing at Pajamas Media, Huma Abedin’s mother, Saleha Abedin, who lives in Saudi Arabia, is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood (also known as the International Women’s Organization), the women’s arm of the radical, terrorist-spawning Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, Huma’s brother, Hassan Abedin, has worked to promote the Islamic agenda from his base at Oxford University.

Oxford, which has long been infiltrated by Islamists who founded the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), has Huma’s brother listed as a fellow and partner with a number of Muslim Brotherhood members on the Board — including al-Qaeda associate Omar Naseef and the notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi. Both have been listed as OCIS trustees. Naseef continues to serve as Board chairman.

A report from 2007 identifies Naseef as the likely force behind the Abedin family’s abrupt departure from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, circa 1977 – the same year that the Muslim Sisterhood was established.

In 2009, Qaradawi’s role within Oxford and the Muslim Brotherhood was championed by the notorious Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi of Al-Nahda – a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate now active in Tunisia. OCIS has even presented an award for great scholarly achievement to Brotherhood member Shaykh Abd Al-Fattah Abu Gudda, whose personal history goes back to the Brotherhood’s founder, Hasan al-Banna.

Even the Sunday Times acknowledges that the cradle of Islamic jihad — Al-Azhar University — actively attempts to establish links with OCIS, where Huma’s brother serves.

Huma’s brother, Hassan, has also worked on projects with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose goal is “spreading Islam to the west.” Alwaleed bin Talal  is one of those Saudi princes who has credibility with many in America because of his personal connections, philanthropic donations, and investments (notably, he owns seven percent of NewsCorp, the parent of FOX News, making him the second-largest individual shareholder). But meanwhile, the prince gives huge financial support to radical Islamist groups masquerading as “moderate” — including the Cordoba Initiative (Ground Zero mosque), CAIR, and the Islamic Development Bank (promoting shariah-compliant finance, which inherently and by design promotes the spread of shariah).

Was Huma unaware of all this as she accompanied Hillary Clinton to the Dar El-Hekma women’s college in Saudi Arabia? Huma’s mother is co-founder and vice dean at the college and an active missionary on issues regarding Muslim women.

I got so confused while trying to make my way through the tangled web of connections that I had to make a diagram — somewhat simplified — to keep it all straight. (In case you’re wondering, the dotted line from Weiner to Hillary is there because of Hillary’s support — at least, until recently! — of Weiner’s political ambitions. Bill Clinton was even the officiator at Weiner’s and Abedin’s wedding.)

 

 

In 2008, Dr. Mumen Muhammad wrote about why Huma vowed to stay with Hillary even if the latter were to lose the presidential nomination to Obama:

Abedin assures in press releases of her continuance on the path with Hillary Clinton, even if Clinton failed as a candidate. The candidate’s aides and other influential figures in the Democratic Party assure that they do not disregard Abedin running for election or taking her position in the political arena with the help in successive political administrations of the Clinton family itself [emphasis added].

Hillary Clinton signed a document less than one month prior to her trip to Saudi Arabia with Huma that lifted the ban on Tariq Ramadan, allowing him entry into the United States. (Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna, and has ties to Islamic terrorist groups.) The Clinton family played a key role in promoting Fethullah Gülen, the extremely powerful Turkish imam and notorious Islamist conspirator, as he fled Turkey for the United States after attempting to overthrow Turkey’s secular government. (He was indicted on this charge in 2000.) In 2008, the former president heaped praise on Gülen, giving him a clean slate. Gülen has been given refuge and has even had sermons aired on Turkish television during which he explained to his followers how to best seize power from the Turkish government:

You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers… until the conditions are ripe….Until that time, any step taken would be too early — like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch. [emphasis added].

Gülen expressed this sentiment in another sermon as well:

The philosophy of our service is that we open a house somewhere and, with the patience of a spider, we lay our web to wait for people to get caught in the web; and we teach those who do [emphasis added].

 Serving with Huma’s brother as an Oxford Centre trustee is Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s [current] president himself. [Gül, who poses as a moderate but has strong Islamist roots] considers himself a follower of Fethullah Gülen, according to Wikileaks.

Besides the Abedin family’s numerous Islamist connections, another thing that raises red flags is the lack of Muslim outrage over Huma’s marriage to a Jewish man. Given how well-known the Abedins are in the Islamic world (and in the Islamist world), how is it that Huma was able to marry a non-Muslim, which is absolutely prohibited in Muslim law? Even in the West, there have been “honor killings” of girls from Muslim families for dating a non-Muslim, much less marrying one. (Note: A non-Muslim woman is allowed to marry a Muslim man — because the man is dominant in Islam. However, the reverse — a Muslim woman, such as Huma Abedin, marrying a non-Muslim man, such as Anthony Weiner, is absolutely forbidden by shariah because such an arrangement puts a non-Muslim in a position of dominance over a Muslim — which, in Islam, is intolerable.)

Since the penalty for such apostasy is death, why has Huma not been the victim of an “honor killing”? Ex-Muslim Walid Shoebat offers two possible explanations. One is that Huma and her family are using taqiyya — the obligation of a devout Muslim to lie and dissemble when dealing with non-Muslims in order to advance the greater cause of Islam. That would mean that Huma has been given a “pass”  in service of the greater Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood goal:  to infiltrate the highest levels of our government.

A second possible explanation is that Anthony Weiner might have converted to Islam. This is not as unlikely as it sounds at first blush, especially given that Weiner was raised as a secular Jew. New York imam Omar Abu-Namous, a close associate of Ground Zero mosque imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, encouraged Huma, in the wake of the recent scandals, to stand by her husband — but such advice would not be expected from an imam if Huma were in fact married to a non-Muslim.

As corruptive of our culture — and fraught with the potential for political blackmail — as Anthony Weiner’s peccadilloes have been, they pale in comparison to the potential dangers created by his wife, Huma Abedin, being a top, trusted aide to the Secretary of State of the United States.  Can you say “Alger Hiss“?

Cross-posted at Unified Patriots and RedState

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Oh, if only Osama bin Laden’s death could solve all our problems. No doubt we’ve dealt a serious blow to al-Qaeda. Unfortunately, Hezbollah, which has cells over the Western Hemisphere — including within U.S. borders — is an even greater long-term danger to us than al-Qaeda is.

In case anyone needs a refresher, Hezbollah is the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization that has dominated Lebanon for many years, having made its first huge splash in 1983, when its suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut killed 241 Americans. Since then, Hezbollah has spread all over the world, and has pulled off some very high-profile terrorist attacks, including the bombing of the largest Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, and the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1998.

Hezbollah has had a growing presence in South America for over twenty years, with its heaviest concentration in the remote, lawless wildlands of South America’s “Tri-Border Area” (TBA), where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay intersect. Although Hezbollah’s chief target is the United States of America, few Americans are even aware of the group’s large and growing presence in our hemisphere. The fact that Iran is now building missile bases in Venezuela has perhaps gotten a few more people’s attention — but the media is not devoting to it anything like the coverage that its significance deserves.

If all that weren’t bad enough, Hezbollah is in Mexico, is actively and successfully recruiting there, and now we find out that its reach extends as far northward as Tijuana. Maybe I missed it, but as far as I can tell, virtually nobody is covering this. There’s one lone TV station down in San Diego that broke the story — and other than a mention on the Fox News website, and a few conservative blogs, the story has gone down a black hole. Barack Obama certainly didn’t mention it when he delivered his little “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, bitter clingers!” speech last week in El Paso.

From Channel 10 News in San Diego:

A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.

“They [Hezbollah] are recognized by many experts as the ‘A’ team of Muslim terrorist organizations,” a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.

From Small Wars Journal, we get the following account that illustrates just how sophisticated Hezbollah is:

Recently, FBI agents went to the Tri-Border Area on a covert mission, only informing a select few officials of the host country with little time before arriving. Hezbollah faxed the FBI New York office pictures of their agents de-boarding their plane, just minutes after it happened. ―The implicit message was clear: We know you‘re here. We‘re watching. It was a classic example of Hezbollah‘s superb counterintelligence, another reason why American officials consider the group so dangerous.

This is what we’re up against, folks. And they’re not just down in the wilds of South America any more. According to the former intelligence agent who spoke to 10News San Diego:

The group is now active much closer to San Diego. “We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico.”

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. policy has focused on al-Qaeda and its offshoots. “They [al-Qaeda] are more shooters than thinkers … it’s a lot of muscles, courage, desire but not a lot of training.”

Hezbollah, he said, is far more advanced.

“Their operators are far more skilled … they are the equals of Russians, Chinese or Cubans,” he said. “I consider Hezbollah much more dangerous in that sense because of strategic thinking; they think more long-term.”

Hezbollah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.

Now, the group is blending into Shi’a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana.

Until a few months ago, when I first started researching Hezbollah’s activities in Latin America, I didn’t even know there were Shi’a Muslim communities in Mexico. But indeed there are — in part, emigres from Muslim countries; in part, Mexican converts to Islam. The 10News story continues:

Other [Hezbollah] pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade .

“They have had clandestine training in how to live in foreign hostile territories,” the agent said.

The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.

He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.

“From money laundering to firearms training and explosives training,” the agent said.

For example, he tracked, along with Mexican intelligence, two Hezbollah operatives in safe houses in Tijuana and Durango.

“I confirmed the participation of cartel members as well as other Hezbollah individuals living and operating out of there,” he said.

One of the things that is crucial to know about Hezbollah is that, although they are affiliated with Iran, each cell is set up to be self-sufficient with respect to personnel and funding. By and large, once a cell is established, it is not getting financial support from Iran. Each cell raises its own funds. This is why Hezbollah has gotten involved with the drug and human-trafficking cartels, along with currency-trading, import-export, and document-forging operations: These are money-makers.

But it’s a two-way street. The drug cartels give Hezbollah a piece of the action with the drug and human-trafficking trades, but on the other hand, Hezbollah’s particular specialties are useful to the Mexican cartels.

Tunnels the cartels have built that cross from Mexico into the U.S. have grown increasingly sophisticated. It is a learned skill, the agent said, [that] points to Hezbollah’s involvement.

“Where are the knowledgeable tunnel builders? Certainly in the Middle East,” he said.

Why have Americans not heard more about Hezbollah’s activities happening so close to the border?

That’s a very, very good question. Could it be (as I suspect) just good old-fashioned denial — i.e., we’re dealing with a threat so horrible, and seemingly so intractable, that deep down, we really just don’t want to know? A variation on that is that news media — and the interests that control them — are afraid of creating a panic. Regrettable, but understandable.

“If they [Hezbollah] really wanted to start blowing stuff up, they could do it,” the agent said.

According to the agent, the organization sees the U.S. as their “cash cow,” with illegal drug and immigration operations. Many senior Hezbollah leaders are wealthy businessmen, the agent said.

“The money they are sending back to Lebanon is too important right now to jeopardize those operations.”

The agent said the real concern is the group’s long-term goal of radicalizing Muslim communities.

“They’re focusing on developing … infiltrating communities within North America.”

Counterterrorism professionals tell us that Hezbollah already has cells in the United States. And we know that their operatives are continuing to enter the U.S. via Mexico. Obama and others like to make it sound as if Mexicans are the only people coming over our unsecured border. But every year, thousands of OTMs (other than Mexican) cross the border as well. According to the Dept. of Homeland Security,

federal law enforcement agencies detained 791,568 deportable aliens in fiscal year 2008 – and 5,506 of them were from 14 “special-interest countries”… Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen … [and terror sponsors] Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran.

Although only three of the thirteen Muslim countries on that list are listed as “terror sponsors,” Yemen is now al-Qaeda’s strongest base of operations, Somalia is the home base of the vicious terrorist group al-Shabaab, and we hardly need comment on the terror groups based in, funded by, or otherwise connected with Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Now consider: If border security personnel managed to catch 5,506, how many successfully got through without being caught?

The problem is bad enough that even Eric Holder’s Justice Department admits that terrorists have been crossing our borders.

There are nearly 2,000 mosques in the U.S.. Even if only one percent of them shelter Hezbollah operatives, that would still be 20 American cities that could be attacked simultaneously if the command went out.

Just the imaginative figments of spy-thriller authors? Hardly. This is actually the way Hezbollah works, according to counterterrorism expert Cyrus Miryetka. Hezbollah cells play “the long game,” biding their time for years or decades, waiting for the signal to do what they’ve trained for years to do. When the signal comes, we could see multiple Beirut-barracks type bombings. Or Mumbai-style massacres. Or Beslan-type massacres of schoolchildren. Or some combination of all the above. Or something we haven’t seen before and can’t even imagine. But the one thing we can almost surely count on, according to intelligence experts, is that it would be multiple attacks in multiple cities happening nearly simultaneously.

A useful analogy is red imported fire ants. Anyone who’s lived in the southern U.S. will know what I’m talking about. The tactic of those vicious, meat-eating insects — which have killed off much of the ground-nesting bird population in Texas and other states, and have even killed larger animals such as calves — is to crawl up your leg by the dozens or hundreds before you even know they’re on you — and then, upon the release of a pheromone signal by the first one to sting, they all sting simultaneously. The pain is excruciating.

Right now, Hezbollah operatives are figuratively crawling up our leg, infiltrating one cell after another into our country, getting in place, getting ready, awaiting the signal.

Frightening, depressing stuff — no wonder nobody wants to talk about it. But if a wildfire were headed directly toward your home as you slept, wouldn’t you want someone to call and wake you up, so you could survive, and possibly even save your home? We may be in for tragic events, but surely our odds of surviving or even preventing them are better if we’re aware and informed about the danger. Forewarned is forearmed.

So, what to do?

  • Insist that our elected officials cease their willful ignorance of this problem, fulfill their constitutional duty to inform themselves about the enemy within, and in turn, inform the public. We have been bound and gagged by leftist-imposed “political correctness”; those gags need to come off, and quickly.
  • Immediately shut down all jihadist training camps in the United States. It is scandalous that people openly training for the violent overthrow of the United States are permitted to operate here at all. On the contrary, these people should be put on trial for sedition and punished accordingly. And the people living in nearby communities should be alerted to the camps’ existence. It’s simply wrong to keep people in the dark about the presence of such dangerous enemies in their vicinity. We have laws requiring that people be notified about sexual predators in their neighborhood; why not about people who mean to kill them and their children?
  • Vigorously investigate every mosque and Islamic center in the United States. Numerous intrepid researchers have already documented the nefarious purposes for which these centers are used. Shut down the guilty ones and deport their imams. Again, “political correctness” is just a euphemism for national suicide. We are facing a threat to our continued existence, both as a country and as individuals “guilty” of being “infidels.”
  • Last but certainly not least : Seal the borders. (Mexico first, but don’t forget Canada.)

There are many more tactics in an effective strategy; these are just the most obvious ones to an amateur. Our intelligence agencies will know full well what to do; we just need to listen to them, and to free our law-enforcement personnel to implement life-saving measures.

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What exactly is the nature of Islam?

Specifically:

  • Is Islam itself evil — or only certain interpretations of it?
  • Can Islam be reformed — or is that impossible by its very nature?
  • Should we encourage “moderate” Muslims — or is that just wasted effort?

Ever since 9/11, Americans have been asking themselves these questions.

Christians often ask an additional question:

  • Is it worthwhile, or even morally right, for the Church to “dialogue” with Muslims — or should all our effort be focused on converting them?

Personally, I’ve gone back and forth on these questions more times than Barack Obama’s head goes back and forth when he gives a speech. As a Christian, and particularly as a Catholic, I feel like I get mixed messages from Scripture, history, Church teaching, and reason. Christians from St. Thomas Aquinas to C.S. Lewis, and all the way back to St. Paul (see Romans 1:19-20; Acts 17:22-28), have explained that God reveals Himself even to those who have never heard the name of Jesus, and that glimmerings of truth exist within other religions. In the words of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II declaration on the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions,

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. [emphasis mine]

Of Muslims (note: Muslim persons, not Islam itself) the document states:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth….

On the other hand, St. Paul said to “test the spirits” to discern whether they’re good or evil, and Jesus said we can judge a tree by its fruit.

Roy H. Schoeman, a Jewish Catholic, in his book Salvation Is from the Jews, has this to say about Islam:

[Satan] has one goal — to deprive man of salvation, of eternal happiness — and one of the ways to achieve that is through the propagation of false religion, the primary victims of which are its own adherents…. Of all the major religions of the world, only Islam arose after God’s full revelation of Himself to man in His incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ…. Only Islam’s revelation came after Christ, aware of Christianity yet contradicting it. Hence one must ask what the source of the revelation was — was it of human or of supernatural origin? If of supernatural origin, did it come from God or from fallen spirits?… One must ask just what spiritual entity lies behind the revelation of Islam. [pp. 295-300]

And yet… I believe that beauty is one of God’s attributes, and I have personally seen and heard things within Islam that are stunningly beautiful — Sufi dancing (in which I have even participated), the poetry of Rumi, the goosebump-inducing sound of certain Muslim melodies.

On the other hand, when I tried to read the Qur’an for myself, I had to stop, because it so disgusted and outraged me that I could not continue. It’s as if someone tore all the pages out of the Bible, discarded 90% of them, put the remaining 10% through a shredder, cut and pasted the shreds together randomly, then tried to cover the ugliness of the pastiche by throwing a lot of overly flowery language over it. But that’s just my subjective opinion. If we want to stick to more objective criteria, we can look at the statistics on the cold, hard facts of life in Islamic countries, such as clitorectomy, polygamy, burqas, honor killings, forced child marriages, wife-beating, domestic imprisonment, acid attacks, gang rapes, and other cruelties toward Muslim women and girls.

So… Is Islam the direct work of the devil, and was Muhammad possessed by demons? Or, is Islam merely a very faulty instrument through which God in His omnipotence and mercy can nevertheless reach people — the way a cheap toy flute, with misspaced holes and flimsy keys, might still make music in the hands of a master?

Should Western Christians band together with virtuous atheists, such as the late Oriana Fallaci, to fight the anti-human cult of Islam? Or, should we join forces with Muslims of goodwill in order to combat what may be the even greater evil of secularism, what Pope Benedict XVI termed the “dictatorship of relativism”?

Can Islam be reformed and made compatible with the modern world of progress, liberty and individual rights? Or, is it inherently unreformable?

To stage a debate on that last question, you’d be hard-pressed to find two more qualified and articulate principals than the two men you’ll see in the video below.

For the affirmative, we have Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, who is, hands down, my favorite Muslim in public life. He’s earnest, likable, accomplished, patriotic, has integrity and goodwill, and is engagingly smart and articulate. A medical doctor and formerly an officer in the U.S. Navy, Jasser is founder and head of a group called the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), whose goal is genuine Islamic reformation. He has started programs to inculcate young Muslim Americans with the principles of our Founding Fathers, a love of liberty, and commitment to the Constitutional rule of law, and separation of mosque and state.

If you can’t watch the whole debate, try to at least watch from the 5:10 mark to the 10:20 mark, which is the first segment in which Dr. Jasser comments. If you’ve never seen Jasser interviewed or read his articles, you owe it to yourself to hear his views, for he is an entirely different breed from the duplicitous, seditious CAIR types who dominate the discussion of Islam in our media. I don’t agree with everything Jasser says, but I appreciate having his perspective; he makes me think. I believe he is completely sincere — which makes him a very brave man.

On the other side is Dr. Robert Spencer, head of Jihad Watch, co-founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), and one of my longtime personal heroes — right up there with Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, all of whom face constant death threats because of their leadership in the fight to defend liberty and human rights against the creeping imposition of shariah all over the globe.

Moderating the discussion is Andrew McCarthy, author of Willful Blindness and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. McCarthy headed the legal team that prosecuted and convicted Sheikh Abdel Rahman, “the blind sheikh,” who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy knows more about Islam than 99% of Americans — but on the questions raised in my first paragraph, he freely admits he’s ambivalent. Introducing the debate topic, he says, “I’ve been having this argument with myself for about eighteen years!”

I’ll be honest. Although I, like McCarthy, am ambivalent, I mostly tend to think that, while countless individual Muslims are good people, Islam itself is an evil ideology, Muhammad was demonically possessed, and the Twelfth Imam in Iran is probably the Antichrist. There. I’ve said it.

But, if there is anyone who could make me doubt all that, it would be Zuhdi Jasser.

The debate took place on April 3 at a retreat sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Enjoy!

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYK3uicC%5D

UPDATE: Walid Shoebat, former Muslim, has given a lot of thought to this issue, particularly to Dr. Jasser’s arguments, which Shoebat rebuts in his piece “The Problem With Reforming Islam.”

Cross-posted at Creative Tension

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Nothing should shock me anymore about the depth of humanity’s oldest hatred — nevertheless I am in shock. The next Holocaust is being prepared — as the world looks on. And does nothing.

On Wednesday, in Cairo, Fatah — the terrorist group founded by Yasser Arafat that now styles itself as “moderate” and runs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank — signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, the terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip. The signing was accompanied — as these things always are — by enough pomp and ceremony to disguise, for most onlookers, the monstrous evil taking place. It was attended by representatives not only of the Arab League, but of the E.U. and the U.N. That means us. Scandalously, the U.S. is not only a member of the U.N., but its chief financial contributor. So when “representatives of the U.N.” show up to cheer the consolidation of Palestinian power against Israel, they are doing that in our name.

From Big Peace:

The reconciliation agreement is an important step on the way to getting the United Nations General Assembly to unilaterally create a Palestinian state in September by international mandate. A reconciliation is an important prerequisite.

Abbas said that they had forever turned “the black page of divisions.” Meshall spelled out Hamas’s goal:

“Our aim is to establish a free and completely sovereign Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any settlers and without giving up a single inch of land and without giving up on the right of return [of Palestinian refugees].”

In fact, several years ago, the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, European Union) set three conditions for Hamas: recognize the state of Israel; renounce violence; and honor past Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Hamas has said that it will not agree to any of these conditions.

Well, of course it won’t. That would go against their whole reason for being. Hamas has been committed, from its origins, to the utter elimination of the Jews of Israel. Their very charter, Hamas’s founding document, is a declaration of war — against Israel, and against all of non-Muslim humanity. Here is the second paragraph of the Hamas charter in its entirety:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

And do not suppose that Hamas intends to fold up shop once they’ve obliterated Israel. The charter is a manifesto of global Islamic conquest. Here’s a sample, from Article 7, which appears under the heading “The Universality of the Islamic Resistance Movement”:

As a result of the fact that those Muslims who adhere to the ways of the Islamic Resistance Movement spread all over the world, rally support for it and its stands, strive towards enhancing its struggle, the Movement is a universal one.

And what would life be like in Hamas’ utopia? Poor, nasty, brutish and short. That’s the only kind of life unmitigated hatred can yield.

I will never forget the heartbreaking scenes in 2005 as Israeli soldiers evicted their own fellow Jews from their homes in Gaza, so that Israel could give the whole Gaza Strip to the Palestinians — in hopes of peace. And I’ll never forget how sick I felt as that gift was trashed by its recipients.

Before

After

The Jewish settlers in Gaza had built some of the most state-of-the-art agricultural facilities in the world, exporting flowers, fruit and vegetables to Europe and elsewhere, and employing thousands of Palestinians, Israelis, and others. Wealthy Jewish philanthropists in the U.S. (as well as a couple of prominent non-Jewish ones such as Bill Gates) bought the Gush Katif hothouses for $14 million and donated them to the Palestinian Authority. The hothouses had taken years to build, but as PA police looked on, Palestinian mobs ransacked them within hours of the Israeli exit. They stripped them of their glass, wiring, computer and electronic equipment and irrigation pipes and timers, destroying a vital source of employment for Gaza Palestinians in the process.

Jewish minds had conceived and designed the greenhouses, Jewish hands had built them, Jewish families had earned their livings in them. Therefore they must be destroyed. Don’t want anything that’s been contaminated by the filthy Jews!

It would seem that the most well-honed skill in Gaza now is the art of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The mentality of the suicide bomber.

There is only one way out of this pit. The late, great Israeli prime minister Golda Meir saw what it was. She said:

“Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

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