Friday, August 29, 2014

The Value of a Promise

In case you missed it with all the Ferguson, Missouri news coverage, Russia is invading the Ukraine and we are witnessing what happens when the United States announces to the world that she will not fight, she will not send in her military, she will not lead.   One of the problems with President Obama’s declarations is that the United States gave its word to defend Ukraine.

After the fall of the USSR in 1991, Ukraine (Kiev) had the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal.  Concerned the weapons would either fall into the wrong hands or be further sold off to Iran, the West convinced Kiev to surrender its weapons to Moscow in exchange for an agreement that the United States, UK, and Russia would guarantee Ukraine’s security.   On February 5, 1994, Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major and Leonid Kuchma entered into the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, a diplomatic memorandum of understanding and not a treaty, that left Ukraine utterly defenseless against the nuclear-armed Moscow and reliant on the US and London to come to her aid.

The terms of the agreement could not have been clearer.  “Russia, the U.S. and U.K. agreed "to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine...reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine."”  Further highlighting Russia’s recalcitrance, in 1975 Russia signed the Helsinki Accords binding the leading players of the Cold War to respect one another’s international boundaries. 

Earlier this year, Putin invaded and annexed Crimea, formerly a part of the Ukraine and Ukraine’s biggest fears have come home to roost.  Yesterday, the Ukrainian government said Russian soldiers, tanks, and artillery rolled into southeastern Ukraine in what the U.S. considers an invasion, reported the Washington Post.   President Obama’s response, along with other UN members, to Putin’s aggression and annexation of Crimea and his current invasion in southeastern Ukraine has been – economic sanctions alone.  The president said yesterday that a military response is not even an option.

While this may seem to be a squabble on the other side of the world to Americans and not as interesting as the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Putin’s aggression, and more importantly his success, has far reaching implications for the United States and the world.  By Putin’s actions and President Obama’s inaction, the United States has signaled to the world, and to threshold nuclear countries like Iran, that treaties will not be enforced and the ability to seize power by force is only limited by imagination.  An unchecked imagination became the nightmare the world defeated in World War II.

Sadly, a senior diplomat interviewed by the Washington Post framed the problem perfectly.  He said, "The Americans say, give up your nuclear program and we will guarantee your security. But the Iranians can say—you already told the Ukrainians that, and look where it got them."

If the United States’ promise to guarantee a nation’s security cannot be trusted as it has proven not to be, then we are witnessing the return to the Cold War (nuclear proliferation with Iran not bowing to US demands to end its nuclear program) and a fight that certainly President Obama is unskilled or unwilling to wage.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Time for Choosing

Will we fight to preserve the American way of life or will we cave from lost American leadership?

President Obama must now face the reality that Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and so many others, Democrats and Republicans alike, have known since before September 11, 2001.  Terrorism is a real threat to America and now we know that the Islamic State (ISIS) is not a Junior Varsity team as the current president boldly proclaimed them to be.

The president's very own Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, said yesterday at the Pentagon that "[the Islamic State] is an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else.""They are beyond a terrorist group.  They marry ideology [with] a sophistication of...military prowess.  They are tremendously well funded.  This is beyond anything we've seen," he added.

For those of us for whom this is not news, this is a shocking statement coming from this administration which tells us just how bad this threat has grown over the past six years under his leadership (or lack thereof). It was not so long ago that President Obama told the world that al-Qaeda was on the run.  It wasn't true when he said it and radical jihadists have now become the threat not previously seen by the civilized world.

"This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated," said General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The Obama administration is now awake.  Unfortunately, our enemies have already tried our president's mettle of leadership on the world stage and his enlightened condition may be a day late.  

The glaring failure in Syria that gave birth to ISIS, the lack of integrity to stand with Ukraine as promised against the thug of Russia (Putin) who is marching to overthrow the country, the soft support (and often criticism) of Israel against their war against an obvious evil, the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, and the premature withdrawal of troops from Iraq that has nearly produced the most barbaric regime we've seen in modern history (to name a few), may mean we are all in grave danger.  

With the leadership of the United States, the allied forces buried the greatest evil the world knew (at that time) by winning World War II.  The United States along with Great Britain and the influence of others toppled communist Russia and the fear of world annihilation.  These were among the greatest evils of our time.  We didn't beat these evils by signaling time lines for withdrawal or by fighting based on popularity polls.  We fought evil to defeat it at all costs.  We fought with strength.   The world is witnessing the resurrection and take over of that same evil because (I perceive) the greatest force of good, the United States, is virtually absent from the world stage.

Notwithstanding the Progressive ideology that screams all war is bad, radical environmentalism is good, religion is for the ignorant, and Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) is a homophobe, we should be able to agree that ISIS must be defeated at all costs.

To that end, I leave you with a few thoughts from one of our greatest presidents who in 1964 said the following in one of his most memorable speeches in support of Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for president, during the rise and threat of our arch enemy at that time-the Soviet Union.  

"We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening. " Ronald Reagan

He eloquently finished off his speech and said, "We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope [America] of man on earth, or we"ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness."

What will we do? Once again, it is a time for choosing. We must fight or die!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tragedy in Black America

There indeed is tragedy in black America.  Violence and the anger it births is not foreign to me as a target of gang violence myself.  However, the tragedy in black America is overshadowed by the death of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri.  The facts of his murder have not yet been revealed but blacks in Ferguson handed their own community five nights of violent protest in response to the death of the unarmed teen caused by a Ferguson police officer.  Small businesses were destroyed, innocent neighbors terrorized, and the town was set ablaze all beyond the capacity of the local police department to handle.  These types of killings in the black community are outrageous (remember Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California) and are often met with riotous behavior.  The murder of an unarmed teen by police cannot be overlooked and deserves an appropriate response in a civilized society.   Any officer who uses excessive or unnecessary force must be brought to justice.

However, the death of Michael Brown alone is not the tragedy that deserves a riot.  This is not the death that Al Sharpton should be locking arms and marching over.  This is not the death the New Black Panther Party should be interrupting press conferences over.  Yes, it is particularly injurious when unarmed blacks are killed by the police.  The anger is fueled by racial profiling and the perception that law enforcement is unfair to blacks. The history that once made indiscriminate killing (lynching) of blacks either legal or not punishable is not so far in the distant past.  It still stings.  However, killings perpetrated by law enforcement pale in comparison to black-on-black crime and thus the real tragedy in the black community are overlooked.

Homicide victims usually are killed by people of their own race and ethnicity. The pattern goes back at least a generation, the Wall Street Journal reported back 2012.    Blacks are killed by blacks 94% of the time.  Black on black crime is the by-product of a larger problem in black America.

In January 2014, the Violence Policy Center reported the following statistics.  In 2011 there were 6,309 black homicide victims in the United States.  The homicide rate among black victims in the United States was 17.51 per 100,000.  For whites, the national homicide rate was 2.64 per 100,000.

Nebraska is ranked first as the state with the highest black homicide victimization rate. Its rate of 34.43 per 100,000 was nearly double the national average for black homicide victims. Nebraska was followed by Missouri (33.38), Michigan (31.54), Pennsylvania (29.02), and Oklahoma (25.51).

The recent losses of Michael Brown and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles are sad and demand a response and healing in those communities.  But we must not overlook the black bodies that stack up year after year mostly at the hands of other blacks.

The commonalities between black on black crimes on a state-by-state basis is that they predominantly occur in inner cities where poverty and gang activity are commonplace.  While many scholars want to blame access to guns as the cause of these murders, they conveniently ignore the real life conditions in black communities.  When large swaths of a community are disproportionately unemployed (11.5%), unable to compete because the public education system keeps blacks hostage in failing schools, prior non-violent felonies prevent blacks from gainful employment, or the access to cheap narcotics is readily available to numb the pain, rage will always be the by-product.  

Until we really address poverty and failing education in black America in meaningful ways, black on black crime will continue to be the story that is ignored.   Unfortunately, food stamps and Common Core are not the answers.  Second Chance legislation, School Choice (vouchers), responsible fatherhood, and prayer are among the best spring boards to a new day in black America.  These are the things our black leaders should be marching over.  Perhaps there is not enough press for them to galvanize around those things that will actually make a difference.

Monday, August 11, 2014

KKK joins immigration debate with calls for “corpses” on the border

By Keegan Hankes
Southern Poverty Law Center
31 July 2014
With thousands of undocumented children amassing at the U.S. border, Robert Jones, Imperial Wizard of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, doesn’t want amnesty. He wants “corpses” on the border.
Speaking to Al Jazeera America, Jones, in full Klan robes, warned that immigrant children crossing the border are a threat to a “white homeland” and simply one more way President Obama has “sold out the American people.”
“If we can’t turn them back, I think if we pop a couple of them off and leave their corpses laying at the border maybe they’ll see we’re serious about stopping immigration,” Jones said.
The situation at the border has intensified in recent weeks due to legislation signed by President George W. Bush that gave new protections to children entering the country by prohibiting them from being quickly sent back to their country of origin, the New York Times reported in early July. In response, militia members armed with assault rifles have once again begun border patrols, and groups like the Klan, long obsessed with a white homeland, have focused their hate toward the border once again.
The Klan has even established a telephone hotline with a pre-recorded message offering a list of supposed “black-on-white” crimes –– none of which have anything to do with the border. “Whites! It is time to arm yourself [sic],” the message begins. The Klan claims thousands are calling the hotline each day, including black people.
“We’re starting to see the whites and African-Americans waking up to this illegal immigration problem,” Jones said. “We’re starting to reach out more to the African-American community and talk to them about the same issues, and they’re agreeing with the Klan that illegal immigration needs to stop.”
Of course, for an organization that claims, “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right,” such a relationship seems improbable at best.
Featured Image: Imperial Wizard Robert Jones talks about Klan’s “shoot-to-kill” policy at the border. (Al Jazeera America)
Copyright 2014. Southern Poverty Law Center.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Terror in Iraq Coming to America

Two weeks ago, the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (“ISIS”) issued a decree.  They said the Christian population of eastern Syria and northern Iraq must convert to Islam or pay the jizya-a special penalty.   If they did not comply, "there is nothing to give them but the sword," they said.  This led to a large exodus of Christians from those regions; the entire Christian community of Mosul heading off towards Kirkuk and the Kurdish zone. This type of aggression dates back to 624 A.D.

Christians aren’t the only group in danger. 30,000 Yazidi families fled the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar to the northern mountains in order to escape genocide at the hands of the radical jihadist who took over Iraq. Incidentally, the area where these families now hide is on the top of Sinjar mountains which is believed to be the final resting place of Noah’s Ark. The radical jihadists are storming the mountains; they are raping and selling the women, beheading the children whose heads litter the mountain plains on sticks and they have hanged over 500 or so men. “The assault on the community is part of a pattern by extremists of stamping out non-Islamic religious observation,” the Wall Street Journal reportedOver 300,000 Christians from this region seek asylum abroad. 

The Yazidi are known to be one of the oldest religious communities in the world.  They are of Kurdish descent and their religion draws from Nestorian Christianity, Judaism, Manichaean, Islam and Zoroastrianism.  They believe they were created separately from the rest of humankind and segregate themselves from the rest of society. In Yazidi belief, seven angels, subordinate to a supreme but uninvolved God, rule the universe. The belief that God restored the Devil to his position as chief of the angels upon the Devil's repentance has earned the Yazidi a reputation as devil worshipers, Merriam-Webster states. They have long suffered persecution by Muslims.

Their faith notwithstanding, no nation should stand by and accept the genocide of any people.  Accordingly, President Obama ordered targeted airstrikes yesterday against ISIS along with air drops of food and water to the families. That’s good but ISIS’s goal is to exterminate the Yazidi and then hang its flag on America.  Abu Mosa, spokesman for ISIS, sent a message to America.  He said, “We will humiliate [American] everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”  This radical sect cannot be thwarted without military engagement.  We are simply not doing enough to eradicate this threat.

ISIS aims to create an Islamic state across borders of neighboring Middle East nations; the state would be the first of its kind.  ISIS already seized parts of northern and eastern Syria and nearly all of Iraq.  They have nearly purged all of northwestern Iraq of its Christian population and all non-Islamic faiths are in jeopardy.

While the U.S. drops food and water on the Sinjar mountains, a critical nation in the Middle East is reverting to our enemy.  We ignore the larger threat by not standing against this emboldened evil.  If we believe that after ISIS wraps up Iraq and completes the purge of all non-Muslims it will stop and be happy, we are living a fairytale. We must take them at their word.  They are coming to America! They will make their way to Israel and then to the White House as they promised. No one is safe while this cancer grows.

The world can be a safer place again when the U.S. has a leader who hates the intolerance of radical Islam and isn’t afraid to look that evil in the face, say “No More,” and pull it up by its root.  Instead, we are focused on amnesty and forcing gay rights on the world.  Wake up America.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Never Again

Does Evil Knock on Israel’s Door?

These are the two words adopted by Holocaust survivors and the Jewish diaspora some of whom faced evil head on and survived and others who did not. NEVER AGAIN. They faced persecution and then deliberate extermination of their race at the hands of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945.  Six million Jews lost their lives to what Hitler referred to as “The Final Solution” and more would have died but for the victory of the Allied Powers and the end of World War II.  But evil did not die.

Lest you believe the modern day conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is about creating peace or over a two-state solution, you must first understand Hamas.

Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and located in Gaza, was founded in December 1987.   In its founding document (Charter), it calls for the extinction of Israel.  It says, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”  The Charter goes on to read that Hamas doesn’t believe in peace with the Jews.  It states, “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”  So the idea that Israel should live in peace with a terrorist organization driven to annihilate it is insanity.

Although Hamas was only formed in 1987, the Palestinian Arabs have a long history of hatred towards Israel dating back to Hitler himself.  In an interview with Russia Today TV on December 7, 2013, Farouq Qaddoumi, the former political bureau head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that Arabs were “enthusiastic supporters” of the Nazis during World War II.  He said, “I don't think it would be wrong to say that we were enthusiastic supporters of Germany.”

Current polling shows that 51% of Americans sympathize more with Israel.  Along the political divide, 73% of Republicans sympathize with Israel compared to 44% of Democrats.  The Mainstream Media seems to be aligned with the Democrats as they blame Israel daily for the conflict. 

What this current generation is witnessing between Israel and Hamas is a war between good and evil.  “The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”  (Edmund Burke)

No matter the international pressure on Israel to lie down and roll over, Israel must not allow evil to prevail; we, the international community must not let evil prevail.  We must stand with Israel and the Jewish people and proclaim Never Again!