School officials in Wisconsin were caught on video trying to intimidate parents into closing down a weekly “Jesus Lunch” for hungry kids in a local park, and now the police are involved.
Mothers in Middleton have been hosting a Jesus Lunch 16 times per year since 2014 in Fireman’s Park. Students from Middleton High School, who may eat at local dining establishments, often choose a free lunch provided by the mothers. The religious message shared with meals was the catalyst for targeting the gathering, which has grown from a small handful of students to hundreds.
“We are asking you to allow our legal counsels to consider this together because this is certainly a question you contend is a First Amendment right,” Donald Johnson, the superintendent of the Middleton-Cross Plains district, recently said to the mothers after blocking the park entrance with hazard cones. “We contend that this is really an issue of our ability to exercise our lease for the city. We think that cooperation is really the way to go.”
Johnson was then presented with a letter from the group’s lawyer, another from the City of Middleton, and a lease agreement to use the park, the education watchdog EAGnews.org reported last Friday.
“[Officials] coned up the parking lot, waited there and confronted my clients and told them to leave,” Phillip Stamman, an attorney representing the moms, told the website. “[The parents] responded how I recommended. They walked right past them. The superintendent repeatedly tried to confront them. He was the first one. But they just moved on.”
The video also shows the Johnson simultaneously lamenting the parents’ lawyers while saying his desired resolution would entail their removal from the park.
“Fireman’s Park – a public park owned by the city of Middleton – remains accessible to everyone in the public for the purposes of assembly and free speech,” lunch organizer Beth Williams said in a statement. “By law, the lease agreement between the city and the school district of Middleton does not privatize the park.”
The school district contends it has jurisdiction over the park because its lease applies to school hours.
“The District has understood over the past 16 years that this is a District responsibility, and that school rules and District policy must apply,” Johnson wrote in an email to Cap Times April 16. “[Middleton-Cross Plains School District] is not interested in litigation, and is committed to working collaboratively to find a solution that meets the needs of all parties. We are interested in thoughtful and respectful dialogue. We do not intend to interfere with the Jesus Lunch, and we will continue to reach out to organizers to find an amicable resolution in the near future in the best interests of all of our students.”
Middleton Police Department will now monitor Tuesday’s Jesus Lunch due to heightened tensions in the town.
“Reasonable people differ over the interpretation of the wording of the lease,” Police Chief Charles Foulke said April 15 on the department’s Facebook page. “I’m not worried about reasonable people, but I am concerned about unreasonable people, people who are using this issue for their own purposes and who are beginning to threaten good people on either side of this issue. Unless something unforeseen happens, the ‘Jesus Lunch’ is going to happen this Tuesday and will probably continue until the end of the school year… Please do not assume that our presence in any way indicates a preference for any side in this issue other than to preserve the peace and allow people to exercise their 1st Amendment rights… I hope it is not the students who teach the adults how to act.”
In addition to citing food-safety concerns, school officials sent an email to parents on April 12 saying, “We believe that religious or political events do not have a place in our school or on our campus, except when sponsored by a student group in accordance with our rules, which require prior approval,” Fox News reported.
Principal Stephen Plank also attempted to denigrate the group by saying the Christians’ message has resulted in some students “sitting in the hallway crying” or leaving school early, the network reported.
Stamman told Fox that no form of harassment will deter the parents from hosting Jesus Lunch in the future.
“These women will not be intimidated,” Stamman said. “They are wholeheartedly committed to serving the students a free meal while sharing a Christian message.”
The White House website has censored a video of French Pres. Francois Hollande saying that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”
The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the WhiteHouse.gov website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande’s translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video.
According to the official White House transcript of Hollande’s remarks, Hollande refers to “Islamist terrorism.” The audio of the bold text in brackets is missing from the video – the only point in the video were the audio is absent:
“We are also making sure that between Europe and the United States there can be a very high level coordination.
“But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, [Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition.] And we note that Daesh is losing ground thanks to the strikes we’ve been able to launch with the coalition.”
Watch the video of Hollande’s censored comment:
Pres. Obama has come under fire from Republicans for his refusal to say “radical Islam” when discussing terrorism and, again yesterday, he declined to do so.
Obama made three vague mentions of terrorism, citing the “hands of terrorism,” the “scourge of terrorism,” and “counterterrorism” in Thursday’s press event.
The animus between Cruzites and the Trumpians is so strong these days that anyone in either camp who tries to point out that one side isn’t always right and the other side isn’t always wrong results in knee-jerk, moonbat-like hostility the likes of which I’ve not seen among the Republican electorate in my lifetime.
For instance, I read a brief post the other day on some social media network by an ardent Trump fan wherein he(?) mentioned that Cruz gets a bum rap for being a part of the “RINO-Bush” 2000 campaign. The Trumpian in question merely pointed out that, at the time, Bush was the most conservative guy in the race who had any chance of beating Al Gore, and that Ted was simply supporting his party’s nominee. He opined that Cruz wasn’t necessarily some establishment assclown just because he’d backed George Dubya for president, and he was exactly right in that assessment, but that didn’t stop other Trump backers from treating him like he was the worst traitor since Benedict Arnold.
Similarly, I was attacked by faceless, #NeverTrump SM-warriors just the other day for defending The Donald over accusations by Ted Cruz that he had planted the National Enquirer sex-scandal story. All I did was share information which confirmed that it was allies of Marco Rubio who had been shopping that story around for months prior to it becoming public. Afterward I mentioned that I thought it was hypocritical of Cruz to be doing exactly what he’d accused Trump of doing only days before, which was holding someone to account for acts that no one could prove they’d actually committed. Based upon the reactions I got from my fellow Cruzites, one would have thought that I’d tortured a puppy on live video. I was branded a Trumpaloompa, a TrumpRump and other such monikers, even though I’d made it clear from the start that I’ve always backed Ted Cruz for president and still do. Not only did none of the people who responded to me exhibit the intellectual honesty to admit that I’d made a valid, fact-based point, but they seemed to assume I was a part of some pro-Trump, lunatic-fringe spy network or something.
In both of the above cases, the various respondents behaved with irrational contempt toward well-intentioned and well-reasoned people, and nobody else piped up at any time to illuminate these folks as to how completely leftist they all sounded. Yes, I said LEFTIST!
Look, I don’t give a damn who you support for president or why, that’s your business. However, what I DO care about is the manner in which you choose to do it, and if your idea of righteous campaigning is to defame and denigrate anyone who has the temerity to expose the inconsistencies and outright falsehoods perpetrated by whatever candidate you happen to embrace, then you’re no better than a filthy neo-socialist parasite!
And that goes doubly for people who support Ted cruz for president. Why? Because the number one criticism I hear leveled at Trump from my fellow Cruzites is that he will say or do anything to get elected. And while that may be true, when you turn a blind eye to the fact that Ted Cruz does not appear to be above dirty tricks and hypocrisy himself, you’ve just ceded any moral or ethical high ground you may have had to the opposition. Indeed, I hold Cruz supporters to a higher standard than I do the followers of other candidates in this race, and if you’re to have any real integrity as a Cruzite, you will too.
Moreover, I’m sick to death of seeing people whom I’ve always considered to be genuine, well-principled conservatives take sides against Donald Trump absolutely every time some left-wing media asshat invents a “scandal” out of thin air. Sure, you have every right to criticize The Donald for the myriad dumbass things he’s said over the years, but jumping on the let’s-bash-Trump bandwagon every time the opportunity presents itself is just plain pathetic. It’s beneath men and women of good faith to act in such a way, and what pisses me off the most about this state of affairs is that I am often forced to defend a man I don’t even like very much in the name of fairness and basic decency against others of my own ideological bent.
It angers me, and for that reason I now beseech my fellow Crusites to GROW THE FUCK UP and start behaving like the sort of people you profess to want running our country, instead of the unprincipled swine who’ve done nothing but steer it straight into the crapper since the day after President Ronald Reagan gave his farewell address from the Oval Office.
Edward L. Daley
A video allegedly showing a woman at San Francisco State University verbally badgering a student for “cultural appropriation” has gone viral after being posted on YouTube Monday evening.
The woman can be heard telling the student, a white male, he can’t wear dreadlocks because “it’s [her] culture” and threatens to cut them off with scissors. The woman is identified in the YouTube as a “campus employee.”
After the student attempts to extricate himself from the woman’s grasp – “you have no right to tell me what I can wear on my head… stop touching me” – she pulls him back and says, “if you put your hands on me, you’re gonna learn.”
At the end of the video, she asks the cameraman “why are you filming this?” and shoves the lens after he responds, “for everyone’s safety.”
Barack Obama told an audience of Argentinian youth that the differences between socialism and capitalism make interesting conversation but just pick whatever works. The ideological-left U.S. president suddenly doesn’t have an affinity for ideology.
He said in the past there was a sharp division between communists, socialists and capitalists but that is merely an intellectual argument and it’s not so today.
The Marxist in the White House is erasing the lines between two dangerous ideologies and the one that made the U.S. great, just as he erased our borders. This is a man who would be at home in communist China.
“So often in the past there has been a division between left and right, between capitalists and communists or socialists, and especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate,” Obama said at the Buenos Aires town hall.
“Those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it really fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory. You should just decide what works.”
For Obama, high taxation, wild spending, government agency domination over the people and heavy regulations work which tells you what he is.
Obama made his comments in response to a question about establishing nonprofit community organizations and said it’s important to get government and private sector investment, which for him is a sketchy relationship between Wall Street and DC.
“To president Castro, I said you’ve made great progress in educating young people [Cuban dictators indoctrinate its youth]. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education. Medical care, the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States despite it being a very poor country because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement,” he said about the repressive regime. “They should be congratulated. But you drive around Havana and you see the economy is not working. It looks like it did in the 1950s.”
The US president likes socialism but also likes the capitalism, both of which he has subscribed to for the last seven years.
Then he told them not to rigidly adhere to labels as if the systems of socialism and capitalism are mere labels.
“You have to be practical in asking yourself, How do you achieve the goals of equality and inclusion, but also recognize the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services and innovation and it also gives individuals freedom because they have initiative, depending on the social issues you are trying to address, what works? What you’ll find is the most successful societies and economies are the ones that are rooted in a market-based system but also realize a market does not work by itself. It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis.”
His love of wealth redistribution and social [unfair] justice trumps all.
During his trip, he told the Cuban dictator that his revolution was like ours – it was a liberation movement – and he told Argentinians earlier in the week that he is frustrated with the separation of powers.
FLASHBACK 2012: Socialist Or Fascist – Thomas Sowell
It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.” He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.
What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.
Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.
Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous – something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.
Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies.
The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.
One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.
Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely – and correctly – regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.
Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.
It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot – and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.
What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people – like themselves – need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.
The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, “We the People…”
That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution’s limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges’ new interpretations, based on notions of “a living Constitution” that will take decisions out of the hands of “We the People,” and transfer those decisions to our betters.
The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.
Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sensationally claimed that one of the Brussels bombers was arrested for terror offences and deported back to Belgium last June.
Erdogan claimed that Turkish authorities informed Belgium that the arrested man – believed to Ibrahim El-Bakraoui – was “a foreign fighter” but investigators allowed him to walk free because they couldn’t establish terror links.
The news raises yet more questions about the embattled Belgian security forces’ ability to prevent acts of terror being plotted and carried out in jihadi hotbeds in the country.
Speaking this afternoon, Erdogan said that Belgian authorities released the suspect despite Turkish warnings that he was “a foreign fighter” who had been captured on the border with Syria.
Erdogan did not identify the individual but NTV television named him as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the two men who blew themselves up at Brussels airport.
He added that Belgian authorities had failed to confirm the suspect’s links to terrorism “despite our warnings” following his deportation.
Erdogan went on to say Belgian consular authorities were formally notified of his deportation on July 14, 2015. He added that he was then released by the Belgian authorities.
“Despite our warnings that this person was a foreign terrorist fighter, the Belgian authorities could not identify a link to terrorism,” he said at a news conference alongside visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
Erdogan said that the Netherlands were also implicated in the issue as the man had initially been deported to the Netherlands at his own request and the Dutch authorities informed.
He did not specify how he had been transferred from the Netherlands to Belgium where 31 people died in bomb attacks on Tuesday.
“I believe that we can work this out (the fight against terror) if world leaders form an alliance against terror. For that, we need to redefine global terror and terrorists,” Erdogan added.
Turkey has previously complained that Western countries did not heed warnings of the dangers posed by jihadists it had expelled back to Europe after arresting them on the Syrian border.
European officials have also urged Turkey to improve intelligence sharing and praised an increase in cooperation in recent months.
31 people were killed and 270 injured after a series of blasts in Zaventem airport, and an hour later a Metro station in Maalbeek.
One of the airport suicide bombers was named as Ibrahim El-Bakraoui, while his brother Khalid El-Brakraoui has been confirmed as the Metro attacker.
Both brothers were well known to police before the attacks, with Khalid even being hunted by Interpol.
But despite the international manhunt for the pair due to their links with last November’s Paris attacks, the pair appear to have been freely moving around Brussels.
There are also serious concerns over the ease with which Belgium-based jihadis have been able to escape despite huge manhunts.
Paris attacker Salah Abdesalem vanished during one police raid last before being captured.
And there appears to have been no trace of Najim Laachraoui since his suitcase nail failed to explode at Brussels airport yesterday morning.
The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.
The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.
The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”
But the biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation – the arrest on Friday of fugitive Salah Abdeslam – did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital’s airport and subway system that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded. Three suicide bombers also died.
Just as in Paris, Belgian authorities were searching for at least one fugitive in Tuesday’s attacks – this time for a man wearing a white jacket who was seen on airport security footage with the two suicide attackers. The fear is that the man, whose identity Belgian officials say is not known, will follow Abdeslam’s path.
After fleeing Paris immediately after the November attacks, Abdeslam forged a new network back in his childhood neighborhood of Molenbeek, long known as a haven for jihadis, and renewed plotting, according to Belgian officials.
“Not only did he drop out of sight, but he did so to organize another attack, with accomplices everywhere. With suicide belts. Two attacks organized just like in Paris. And his arrest, since they knew he was going to talk, it was a response: ‘So what if he was arrested? We’ll show you that it doesn’t change a thing,'” said French Senator Nathalie Goulet, co-head of a commission tracking jihadi networks.
Estimates range from 400 to 600 Islamic State fighters trained specifically for external attacks, according to the officials, including Goulet. Some 5,000 Europeans have gone to Syria.
“The reality is that if we knew exactly how many there were, it wouldn’t be happening,” she said.
More than four sources with access to tallies of fighters tasked with Europe attacks independently corroborated the numbers of fighters who trained for specific attacks in Europe, including some who have spoken to fighters directly. Others have cross checked information regarding fighters leaving or returning.
Two of the suicide bombers in Tuesday’s attacks, Belgian-born brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were known to authorities as common criminals, not anti-Western radicals until an apartment one of them rented was traced to Abdeslam last week, according to Belgian state broadcaster RTBF. Similarly, an Algerian killed inside that apartment on March 15 had nothing but a petty theft record in Sweden – but he’d signed up as an Islamic State suicide bomber for the group in 2014 and returned to Europe as part of the Nov. 13 plot.
In claiming responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, the Islamic State group described a “secret cell of soldiers” dispatched to Brussels for the purpose. The shadowy cells were confirmed by the EU police agency, Europol, which said in a late January report that intelligence officials believed the group had “developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks.”
French speakers with links to North Africa, France and Belgium appear to be leading the units and are responsible for developing attack strategies in Europe, said a European security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss briefing material. He is also familiar with interrogations of former fighters who have returned to Europe. Some were jailed after leaving IS while others were kicked out of the terror group, and they include Muslims and Muslim converts from all across Europe.
Fighters in the units are trained in battleground strategies, explosives, surveillance techniques and counter surveillance, the security official said.
“The difference is that in 2014, some of these IS fighters were only being given a couple weeks of training,” he said. “Now the strategy has changed. Special units have been set up. The training is longer. And the objective appears to no longer be killing as many people as possible but rather to have as many terror operations as possible, so the enemy is forced to spend more money or more in manpower.”
Similar methods had been developed by al-Qaida but IS has taken it to a new level, he said. Another difference is that fighters are being trained to be their own operators – not necessarily to be beholden to orders from the IS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, or elsewhere.
Several security officials have said there is growing evidence to suggest the bulk of the training is taking place in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in North Africa.
In the case of Tuesday’s attacks, Abdeslam’s arrest may have been a trigger for a plot that was already far along.
“To pull off an attack of this sophistication, you need training, planning, materials and a landscape,” said Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College in London, which has one of the largest databases of fighters and their networks.
“Even if they worked flat out, the attackers in Brussels would have needed at least four days,” said Maher, who has conducted extensive interviews with foreign fighters.
The question for many intelligence and security officials is now turning to just how many more fighters have been trained and are ready for more attacks.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official who was not authorized to speak publicly said people from the cell that carried out the Paris attacks are scattered across Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. Recently, a new group crossed in from Turkey, the official said.
On Wednesday, Turkish authorities said one of the Brussels suicide attackers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, was caught last June near the Syrian border and deported to the Netherlands, with Ankara warning Dutch and Belgian officials that he was a “foreign terrorist fighter.” But he was released from Dutch custody due to lack of evidence of involvement in extremism.
Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said Wednesday that authorities had no reason to detain El Bakraoui because he was “not known for terrorist acts but as a common law criminal who was on conditional release.”
The latest new name to surface this week, Najim Laachraoui, turned out to be the bombmaker who made the suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, according to French and Belgian officials. Attackers used an explosive known as Triacetone Triperoxide, or TATP, made from common household chemicals. DNA evidence indicates he died on Tuesday in the suicide attack on the airport, two officials briefed on the investigation told AP.
Fifteen kilos of TATP were found in an apartment linked to the Brussels attackers, along with other explosive material.
The unidentified man seen on security footage wearing a white jacket and black hat at the Brussels airport on Tuesday remains at large, a fugitive link in a chain still being forged.
The Brussels terrorists were preparing an attack on a nuclear power plant and had recorded 12 hours of reconnaissance footage, it has been reported.
The ISIS cell were spying on the Belgian’s nuclear power chief, possibly as part of a kidnap plan to force him to let them into an atomic facility, according to newspaper Derniere Heure.
Hours of film of the home of the Research and Development Director of the Belgian Nuclear Programme were discovered in an apartment in Brussels raided by anti-terrorist police following the attack in Paris.
The footage confounded investigators at first – as it showed the entrance to the director’s home in Flanders, an area outside the capital.
But detectives made the chilling deduction that the group was attempting to gain entry to an atomic facility after watching all 12 hours of footage, which included images of a local bus.
Armed troops were sent to defend French and Belgian nuclear facilities following the discovery and both countries nuclear programmes were put on the highest state of alert.
Reports of the plan first emerged as early as February and was at that time linked back to the cell responsible for the Paris attacks.
The footage was discovered ‘as part of seizures made following the Paris attacks,’ a Belgian prosecutor said, refusing to divulge the individual’s identity ‘for obvious security reasons’.
At the time, Belgium’s federal agency for nuclear control stressed the importance of not revealing the name of the person involved so as ‘not to endanger the enquiry or nuclear security’ or indeed the person involved and their family.
The images were captured by a camera hidden in nearby bushes and recovered by two suspects who left the area in a vehicle with the lights off, Derniere Heure reported.
However, reports in February did not publicly name Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui – the brothers we now know are responsible for the Brussels bombings – as the creators of the footage.
The claims give further credence to the links now established, at least publicly, between the Paris and Brussels bombings.
The bombings in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed 31 people are now believed to have been carried out because the authorities were closing in on the fugitive members of the terror cell.
Leading lawmakers identified Belgium as a hotspot for terrorism months ago and are warning that many of the radicalized individuals living there are still able to travel to the United States without first obtaining a visa and undergoing thorough security checks.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon Tuesday afternoon that current flaws in the U.S. visa waiver program – which facilities travel to the United States from partner nations including Belgium – have created a loophole that could permit radicalized individuals to legally enter the United States with minimal background checks.
DeSantis is warning of these flaws on the heels of deadly mass terrorist attack in Brussels on Tuesday that has killed at least 30 and wounded hundreds more.
“The visa waiver reform, this is something we have been perusing and the [Obama] administration has brushed us off at every turn,” DeSantis said, explaining that current policy does not mandate more strenuous checks on individuals identified as coming from terrorist hotspots, such as the small Belgian town of Molenbeek, which has emerged as a principal training site for jihadists.
“It’s the case that if those folks are citizens of Belgium they qualify for the visa waiver program and can hop on a plane and get here,” he added. “Clearly, that is not adequate given what happened.”
The Obama administration “even takes the position it’s safer to allow someone to come in on a visa waiver than make them get one, it’s kind of crazy,” DeSantis said. You’re not going to be able to have intelligence on everyone there because there are so many potential recruits. It’s a clear vulnerability.”
What is worse, DeSantis said, is that the Obama administration has been lax about deporting individuals who overstay their visas, meaning that a radicalized person could disappear in America as they plan a potential attack.
“There’s no enforcement once they get here,” DeSantis said. “Hundreds of thousands of people come over and then overstay” their visas. “You are not going to be removed under current policy under this administration.”
DeSantis and other lawmakers first labeled Belgium as a hotspot for ISIS terrorists in the aftermath of the 2015 attacks in Paris. At least five of the Paris attackers were French nationals, two of whom had been living in Belgium. Another one of the terrorists was a Belgian national.
Citizens from both countries are still able to freely travel to the United States under the visa waiver program, which facilitates travel between the American and a host of foreign countries.
“At least six of the Paris attackers could have attempted to enter the country under this program,” DeSantis said in December, during a congressional hearing on the visa waiver program’s flaws.
Molenbeek in particular “is a hellhole that is filled with Belgian national Islamic radicals who qualify to travel to the U.S. without a visa under the visa waiver program,” DeSantis warned during the hearing.
DeSantis said on Tuesday that following the attack in Paris, he realized that the United States is vulnerable from threats in Europe, in addition to those from Syria and other terror strongholds.
“The problem was not just people coming from Syria,” he explained. “There was a major vulnerability from places in Europe and this Molenbeeck neighborhood was one of the most egregious that I had seen.”
The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged on Tuesday that Belgium is still a part of the visa waiver program, and that policy has not shifted in the wake of the attack.
“Though we do not require Belgian citizens to have a visa to travel here for business or tourism purposes, both the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have procedures in place to identify and prevent travel here from Belgium by individuals of suspicion,” Jeh Johnson, DHS secretary, said in in a statement on Tuesday.
“All travelers arriving in the United States are vetted against the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database, regardless of whether they arrive with a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorization,” Johnson said. “We continually evaluate whether more screening is necessary, particularly in light of today’s attacks.”
Asked about these screening methods, DeSantis cast doubt on the United States’ ability to thoroughly vet these individuals, explaining that gaps in U.S. intelligence cannot account for the large number of radicalized Europeans.
A student at Columbia University has authored an editorial saying Belgians deserve to be blamed for Tuesday’s Islamic terrorist attack in Brussels because their society is a front of “Islamophobia.”
“Columbia’s vigils and memorial services allow us to mourn victims and condemn terrorism,” writes student Brian Min in the Columbia Daily Spectator. “Moving forward, however, they should condemn not only terrorism, but also the specific Islamophobic attitudes and policies that facilitated the recent attacks.”
Min, a freshman planning to study French as well as women, gender, and sexuality studies, argues that the Brussels attack and other terrorist attacks, are “usually not arbitrary events without any justification – they often are responses to institutionalized hate and oppression.”
“Belgium remains the only other country in the world besides France to have a national ban of full-face veils,” Min says. “Employers too often get away with discriminating against Muslim employees. It comes as no surprise that the municipality Molenbeek – the site of one of the explosions – has an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent where the majority of Muslim youths are denied equal access to the labor and housing market.”
Despite his remarks, Min claims he is not condoning terrorism, because “hate should never be used to fight against hate.”
Min then argues in favor of repurposing vigils and other mourning events for political purposes, saying they should be used to denounce specific policies he disagrees with.
“[I]t is not enough for vigils and memorial services to broadly condemn Islamophobia and other forms of hatred that helped breed terrorist attacks,” he says. “They should also verbally denounce the specific forms of Islamophobia and hatred in relation to targeted nations and their policies of institutionalized discrimination, such as Belgium’s ban on full-face veils. In order to fight against Islamophobia and hate crimes that dramatically increase after major tragedies like the Brussels attacks, we must localize the specific Islamophobic policies and attitudes that helped to facilitate such attacks.”
Despite Min’s argument, there’s ample reason to believe Belgium is not a strong center of Islamophobia. For instance, in 2013 a Belgian man was sent to jail for hate speech for tearing up a Quran near some Muslims, and the country’s hate speech legislation has been interpreted as generally restricting any rhetoric that is overly hurtful towards Muslims.
Teddy bears, tears, candles, cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags, balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own sickness.
Since the world learned of the dozens dead, hundreds injured, and hundreds of thousands affected by Monday’s attack on the NATO and European Union capital, we have seen an outpouring of what is commonly known as “solidarity”.
This word – most commonly associated with hard-left politics, trades union activism, socialism, and poseur indie rock bands – has come to mean very little in reality. In effect, “standing in solidarity” with someone now means that you have observed the situation, changed your Facebook profile picture accordingly, and patted yourself on the back.
And if like dead bodies Facebook profile pictures lost heat, it would be accurate to say that the Tricolores that adorned the social media profiles of many had hardly become cold before we were all changing the colours of the bands on the flags. From blue to black. From white to yellow. The blood red remains.
Because nowadays, teddy bears are the new resolve. They symbolise everything we have become in response to our way of life being threatened, and our people being slaughtered on our streets: inanimate, squishy, and full of crap.
Our security services and our police, hamstrung by political correctness, are just as interested (or more?) in rounding up Twitter “hate speech” offenders than criminal, rapist, or terrorist migrants. Our borders are as porous as our brains. We refuse to realise that there are now literally millions of people amongst us who hate us. Who hate our way of life, and who will, one day, dominate our public life.
But of course, such statements are dismissed as fear-mongering, alarmist, or “out of touch with reality”. As if the data doesn’t exist, or the demographics aren’t shifting quickly enough to notice.
As if vast parts of our towns and cities haven’t become ghettos, or no-go zones, or hubs of child grooming activity, or terrorism.
As if mosques, schools, prisons, and universities aren’t used as recruiting grounds for radicals.
As if the blood of our countrymen hasn’t even been spilled at all.
Instead, we will now think deeply about how we can “reach out” to these populations. How we can “co-exist” and “be tolerant” of one another. As if toleration – which is actually the permittance of what is not actually approved or desired – is a healthy aspiration for a society.
It is as if we model our countries on the practice of bending over and “taking one for the team”, chastising those who fail to “tolerate” the most barbaric traditions of alien cultures. It is everything this cartoon – obviously branded “racist” – suggests.
“But come on, Raheem, not all immigrants, or Muslims, are criminals, or rapists… you’re not!”
Yeah – and look at me. Excoriated daily by Islamists on Twitter. Why? Because I’ve integrated and I love my country. Because I refuse to believe that an Islamic caliphate is the best thing for Britain, or anywhere, quite frankly. Where is my white (or brown) knight? Where are the voices of the moderate Muslim world defending me?
Not that I need protection, or defence, but some people aren’t as hard headed or resolved as I am.
Thusly, the albeit minority evil amongst British Muslims is thriving because good Muslims are doing nothing. At some point, we have to question why. I’m not sure most people are ready for the answers to that one.
So continue to sit there with your head in your hands. Mourning only to make yourself feel better. Missing people you never knew. Exclaiming, as the most immature of minds does: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Expressing sympathy is no bad thing. But to be truly sympathetic towards someone under attack, one must be chivalrous, gallant, and unafraid.
Watching someone getting raped, and tweeting your solidarity with them is not enough. Human nature and goodness calls upon us to intervene. To assist. To free someone from their torture, and to save them from their demise.
It is not enough to scrawl “no fear” on a post it note, and stick it onto some £3 flowers.
We must be fearless in electing leaders who we feel will best keep us safe. It is one of the few areas of our lives in which we should be able to feel comfortable. We pay our taxes, you keep us safe.
If not, then we must arm ourselves. If our governments refuse to protect us, or even begin to use the tools with which we empower them against us: surveillance, counter-terror laws, detention, then we will need to take the law back into our own hands. We cannot be afraid of doing so. It is where our societies all sprung from.
The defence of ourselves as individuals. The defence of our families, our properties, our means of production, our communities, and our neighbours.
It is why arms sales to individuals has shot up since the migrant crisis in Europe. Many Germans are losing their faith in their elected leaders to protect them. The same applies in Sweden, and in Austria. Some people refuse to take being wiped out laying down. How quaint.
It is also time to start to make serious, wide-reaching demands of our politicians on the subject of immigration and Islamism.
When U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump said what he said about a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, the tolerance lobby went into overdrive: full condemnations across the board from politicians – including presidents and prime ministers, across the media sphere, and you will recall the House of Commons debating a petition to ban the man from the country.
Now even the most politically correct of Hollywood luvvies is asking: is he really that wrong on this?
Because Mr. Trump has thought in a cycle longer than his potential presidency: what does the Western world look like in 20, 30, 50 years? What kind of societies do we leave to our children?
Do we leave cities with soldiers on patrol. With “peace” signs scrawled onto bomb-struck buildings? Or do we leave them safe places, with real promise for the future. Like our parents, or at least our parents’ parents, left us.
In order to confront this question, we have to get to the root cause of the problem. There is too much immigration, or at least, not enough hand-picked immigration, into the Western world today.
People of my age had no choice that our post-war leaders felt the heavy hand of post-colonial guilt on their shoulders, and decided to open up our countries, and flood us with “diversity”.
But we do have a choice to not make the same mistakes again. And we have a duty to correct the ones that were made.
And yes, that does mean exactly what you think it means. It means ending mass migration. It means smashing apart ghettos and no go zones. It means repealing laws that allow for Sharia councils. It means asserting what it means to be British, or European, or American, without fearing a backlash from the political left, or the media classes who scarcely see a face my colour let alone darker.
Let them riot. Let them cry.
I would far rather be subjected to ceaseless “direct action” by the scourges of my own society than import others.
At least if my fellow countrymen are deplorable, I won’t get called a racist for pointing it out.
So put down the teddy bears, burst the balloons, and let’s start demanding again that our countries are safe and civilised. And if we can’t find people who’ll make that happen for us… let’s do it ourselves.
But they’re just looking for a safe place to live?
Via The Blaze:
Three weeks after being attacked while filming in a migrant-heavy district of Sweden’s capital, “60 Minutes Australia” has finally aired the footage of the attack.
The crew, upon arriving to the Rinkeby district of Stockholm on March 1, was immediately confronted and attacked by migrants. The area is also known as “Little Mogadishu,” a reference to the high number Somali migrants who live in the area.
According to footage, the crew’s tumultuous day began as a car filled with migrants approached the crew. When the discussion between the crew and the migrants began to get tense, one of the crew’s cameramen was deliberately run over as the car sped off.