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June 2017

When “Compassion” Endangers National Security The landmines of illegal aliens entering military service. Michael Cutler

In spite of its well-deserved reputation for wastefulness (and other foibles), Congress does have a “recycling program,” wherein failed legislative efforts are recycled by our politicians in Washington.

The ENLIST Act (H.R. 60), currently under consideration, failed to pass in 2014 but is back again.

The term “ENLIST” is an acronym for “Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training.”

Here is the summary of this bill as it appears on the Congressional Website:

This bill authorizes the enlistment in the Armed Forces of aliens unlawfully present in the United States on December 31, 2012, who: (1) have been continuously present in the United States since such date; (2) were younger than 15 years of age when they initially entered the United States; and (3) are otherwise eligible for original enlistment in a regular component of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.

The Department of Homeland Security shall adjust the status of an alien enlisted under such authority to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act applicable to aliens who entered the United States prior to January 1, 1972.

The bill rescinds such lawful permanent resident status if the alien is separated from the Armed Forces under other than honorable conditions before serving the term of enlistment.

The text of the bill provides additional important information.

On the face of it, H.R. 60 seems reasonable.

Joining the military is the ultimate act of patriotism, to go in harm’s way on behalf of the United States.

Foreign nationals, including aliens who were illegally present in the United States, have joined our military to defend our nation and some have made the “ultimate sacrifice” as a result of their service to our nation while others were seriously wounded.

I don’t seek to impugn their integrity or in any way demean their service or their loyalty to America.

Congressional Hearings and Witch-Hunts The show’s over, now get to work. Bruce Thornton

America’s longest running soap opera is not General Hospital. It’s the Congressional Hearing, usually a venue for pontificating, show-boating, histrionics, preening for the cameras, insulting political enemies, and accomplishing little of value. Meanwhile the real work of the Republic either gets neglected or proceeds in silence at a glacial pace.

James Comey was the star of last week’s latest episode of the eternal DC soap. The one-time FBI director stayed true to his character, preening morally, striking Boy Scout poses, indulging faux-folksy interjections like “Lordy,” pretending to be sober and judicious, but all the while revealing the instincts of a bureaucratic cartel sicaria. He was obviously thirsting for revenge against the hated DC outsider and “liar” who unceremoniously fired him, so much so that he admitted to cowardice on multiple occasions, from failing to immediately confront Trump over his supposed sinister “direction” (Comey’s translation of Trump’s “hope”) that Mike Flynn get let off the hook; to his groveling obedience to AG Loretta Lynch’s politicized, justice-obstructing order to call the investigation into Hillary Clinton a “matter.” He displayed a brazen arrogance in admitting to leaking a memo, written in his professional capacity, to the New York Times through a cut-out, perhaps one of numerous other leaks emanating from this self-proclaimed pillar of professional rectitude even before he was fired.

So we got a few more details about a man we already knew was a publicity hound and power -hungry operator. But that portrait was painted back in July of last year, when Comey publicly laid out the predicates for an indictment of Hillary Clinton, then usurped the authority of the AG to let Hillary (and Loretta “Tarmac” Lynch) off the hook based on a legally irrelevant consideration of “intent.” The only thing interesting last week was watching how far Comey would debase himself to square the many duplicitous circles he had spun over the last few years.

Great fun for political junkies, but what useful purpose will be served by that spectacle? The media are happy, since they get free programming and more chum for their talking heads. They’re celebrating the 19 million viewers who supposedly tuned in, though that sum represents a little more than 10% of registered voters. Normal citizens were working their jobs and tending to their lives. From their perspective, the drama inside the Beltway cocoon is bureaucratic white noise. If they think about it at all, it’s to wonder whether the guilty leakers will be hunted down and punished, or just be “investigated” for months and months and then, like Hillary, given a pass. And Hillary is just one of numerous miscreants that need exposing and punishing for their corruption of the public trust in order to serve their political preferences or careerist ambitions.

America’s Air Force Is in Bad Shape Meager budgets, a shrinking work force, and an aging fleet of planes have left us ill-equipped to defend the skies even as threats proliferate. By J. V. Venable

Nearly 25 years ago, Senator John McCain observed that “a force begins to go hollow the moment it loses its overall mix of combat capabilities in any one critical area.” Last week, Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein quoted those words when questioned about the posture of today’s USAF.

No, General Goldfein didn’t say that the Air Force is now hollow. He did, however, flesh out McCain’s definition of what makes a hollow force: “When we talk about a hollow force holistically, we have to talk about all of those things that go into producing a ready force. And it’s training and it’s personnel and it’s equipment, and they all have to come together.”

The Heritage Foundation published an independent assessment of Air Force readiness earlier this year that touched on several of those markers. That analysis was based on the testimony of senior Air Force leaders, historical readiness levels, current threats, funding levels, and operational insights gleaned from surveys and interviews with 46 active-duty Air Force fighter pilots.

That assessment found that only four of 36 active-duty fighter squadrons are ready for conflict with a near peer competitor. It also found that fewer than half of active fighter squadrons could be deemed “ready” to prevail in even lower-threat wartime missions. That could mean as many as 17 squadrons are not ready to succeed in combat.

The Air Force has determined that it needs 3,643 fighter pilots. At the end of 2016, it was 873 short. That might not be so worrisome if all the pilots on hand were at the top of their game. Unfortunately, they are not. Cuts in funding have resulted in lower standards of both flight-school training and what constitutes a “mission ready” pilot.

From 1981 to 1990, the average graduation rate for candidates going through basic flight training was 75 percent. The highest single-year rate recorded over that time was 81 percent, logged in 1981. But after 1990, the rate exploded. From 1991 to 2015, the graduation rate averaged 91 percent; the lowest graduation rate was 1991’s 85 percent.

At the height of the Cold War, the NATO standard for fighter-pilot flying time was 200 hours per year. Fighter squadrons would not take pilots who flew fewer than 150 hours a year into combat, as they were far less likely to survive their first missions and their lack of competence would put other pilots and the mission itself at risk.

Today, the average U.S. fighter pilot receives 150 hours of flight time in training each year, and even that low average is inflated by units that deployed to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, where threats in the air are rare, operational demands are low, and the ability to train for the real mission is non-existent.

The Shameful Rewriting of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre Why can’t people face the fact that the killer was an Islamic extremist? By Tiana Lowe

One year ago yesterday, Omar Mateen went into a gay nightclub in Orlando and murdered 49 people. While on the phone with a 911 operator, Mateen made his motive clear: “Yo, the air strike that killed Abu [Waheeb] a few weeks ago – that’s what triggered it. They should have not bombed and killed Abu [Waheeb].”

There we have it. A radicalized jihadist self-identified as “Mujahideen” and an “Islamic soldier,” American born and raised, committed the deadliest mass shooting in American history, directly targeting the LGBTQ+ community in the name of a murdered Islamic State militant.

Yet the media, unhappy with this narrative, have constructed another one: “Why did this happen?”

The FBI destroyed the internalized-homophobia narrative constructed by unsubstantiated media reports in the weeks following the massacre, with law enforcement stating that the FBI had found zero credible evidence that Mateen, who had been married twice, secretly indulged in homosexual behavior or interests. With only an “Islamophobic” narrative remaining after those pesky facts, the media have decided to pay tribute to the barbaric murder of 49 infidels with a “senseless violence” narrative.

“Pulse gunman’s motive: Plenty of theories, but few answers,” read an Orlando Sentinel headline.

The Washington Post referred to the night 49 people “died” as having been “upended by gun violence.”

The New York Times equated the terrorist attack with “a year of racism,” with the insinuation that Donald Trump spearheaded the latter.

It didn’t matter that Mateen intentionally targeted the Pulse Nightclub as an attack on liberal values; his true crime was gun violence. An uptick of fear of Wahhabism and non-Westernized Islam is not a product of observation and inference; it’s irrational, a blanket Islamophobia.

Hezbollah Remains a Very Real Threat to the U.S. Despite what John Kerry may think, the world’s most sophisticated terrorist organization continues to plot attacks against American targets at home and abroad. By Marc C. Johnson

John Kerry was tired and fed up. During a closed-door meeting in late September 2016, he had been trying to tell to Syrian oppositionists why the United States was reluctant to take further military action against the regime in Damascus. But he wasn’t getting much sympathy from his audience.

Kerry was sent to explain that the United States expected the Syrian opposition to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates there, but was not interested in responding militarily to Iranian surrogates such as Hezbollah. The reason, Kerry told the Syrians, was that “Hezbollah is not plotting against us.”

It seems clear now that Kerry’s principal motivation in attempting to steer the opposition away from any confrontation with Iran’s terrorist proxies was a fear of angering the regime in Tehran. Kerry was at pains to avoid jeopardizing the Obama administration’s already-fragile nuclear deal with the Islamic republic, which Obama and his team desperately wanted to hold up as a key, legacy-burnishing foreign-policy achievement.

But Kerry’s off-the-cuff comment betrayed either a shocking ignorance or cynical indifference: Hezbollah is — and was, and will continue to be — plotting against the United States, even as it fights to prop up Bashar al-Assad and makes mischief elsewhere in the world. Though largely overlooked by a mainstream press consumed with the circus of former FBI director Comey’s testimony to Congress, the fact of Hezbollah’s ongoing plotting was brought into stark relief in early June, when the Justice Department announced that it had arrested two Hezbollah operatives and charged them with committing a variety of terrorism-related offenses on American soil.

Hezbollah, it should be noted, is the most advanced terrorist organization operating today. It long ago became a de facto state within the country of Lebanon. And though in previous years some European countries resisted labeling it a terrorist organization because of the many other functions it fulfills in Lebanese society, most have now come to understand it for what it really is.

Befitting its status as a state within a state, Hezbollah has both a functional military wing and fairly sophisticated intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities. The members of this latter branch, called the Islamic Jihad Organization, or IJO, operate just like many moderately advanced sovereign intelligence and security services the world over. They identify, train, recruit, and dispatch spies for all the usual reasons that nation-states do so. But their spies have the added mandate of preparing for and executing terrorist attacks.

The two men arrested — one in New York City and the other in suburban Detroit — were essentially Hezbollah spies, or assets. The fact that they were both naturalized U.S. citizens made them extremely valuable: After all, it’s much easier, no matter your name or ethnicity, to travel on an American passport than on a Lebanese or Iranian one.

U.S. citizen Samer El Debek was a bomb maker who was also trained in surveillance and counter-surveillance. Hezbollah felt confident enough in his abilities that in 2009 they sent him to Thailand to clean up traces of explosives left by other operatives who’d been forced to flee the Thai authorities. His status as an American citizen also enabled him to travel to Panama, where he was told to case the American and Israeli embassies, in addition to assessing the security weaknesses of Panama Canal facilities.

Ali Kourani, also a naturalized U.S. citizen, was recruited by the IJO after the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, during which his family’s home in Lebanon was destroyed. This created a perfect opportunity for IJO operatives to befriend the young man and use his simmering anger as a lever to convince him to work covertly for Hezbollah in the U.S.

According to the DOJ, Hezbollah set up elaborate protocols for Kourani to use in his communications with the group so that he would not be discovered. The IJO only met Kourani in person in Lebanon, where they could control the environment. He, too, received military training while in the country. Upon his return to the U.S., he was instructed to analyze security at airports, surveil military and law-enforcement facilities in New York City, and identify sources of weapons that could be used in IJO operations.

The DOJ report on the arrests omits details of how the two were discovered and ultimately apprehended, but it must have been a long and complicated investigation, underlining the challenge that counterterrorism officials face. For every El Debek and Kourani that is caught and prosecuted, there are others still lurking in the shadows. But these are no mere “sleeper cells”; they are active, planning and preparing for eventual operations against and even within the United States.

Dangerous as ISIS and al-Qaeda may be, they have achieved nowhere near this level of sophistication in terms of planning, training, or spycraft. Arrests such as these are a sobering reminder that, contrary to what John Kerry may believe, Hezbollah continues to plot against us, both here and abroad.

The Impeachment War The Left is working itself into a fever pitch, but may not get what it wants. By Rich Lowry

American politics is now, in large part, a fight about whether or not Donald Trump will be impeached.

No one is saying it explicitly, but these are the stakes in the Russia controversy and its spinoffs and in the 2018 midterms. If Democrats take the House with anything like a comfortable majority, they will be hard-pressed to resist their base’s drive to give Trump a mark of dishonor shared only by Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

Presidents have been hated by the other side before, but rarely with this sort of intensity and immediacy. With the exception of Abraham Lincoln (seven Southern states seceded before he took office), it usually takes time for critics to work up a good, unbridled loathing. Herbert Hoover had to preside over the beginning of the Great Depression. Richard Nixon had to bomb Cambodia and get embroiled in Watergate. Donald Trump just had to show up.

The Left’s anti-Trump rhetoric has been catastrophist from the beginning. The initial travel ban represented a constitutional crisis. So did the firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates. And so, of course, did the cashiering of FBI Director James Comey.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, once frequently mentioned as a potential Democratic Supreme Court pick, wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago titled “Trump Must Be Impeached.” Must doesn’t allow for wiggle room. Tribe maintains that “impeachable offenses could theoretically have been charged from the outset of this presidency.”

Left-wing New York Times columnist Charles Blow writes about “the critical and increasingly urgent question for many: Will Trump be impeached — or indicted — and when? The anticipation has produced a throbbing anxiety. There is so much emotional investment in Trump’s removal that I fear that it blinds people to the fact that it is a long shot and, in any case, a long way off.” Yes, impeachment might have to wait till early 2019. Who has the patience?

It may be that Democrats don’t take the House, or even if they do, they pull up short on impeachment. A House impeachment vote would almost certainly only be a symbolic gesture. The chances of getting the two-thirds of the Senate necessary to remove Trump from office are close to nil, unless there’s an offense that collapses his support among Republican senators.

The Endless Ironies of Donald J. Trump Pandemonium can be a revivifying purgative. By Victor Davis Hanson

Here are the ironies of Donald Trump as president.

1) For the Left (both Political and Media)

The Left was mostly untroubled for eight years about the often unconstitutional abuses of Barack Obama — given that they saw their shared noble aims as justifying almost any means necessary to achieve them.

There was the not uncommon Rice-Gruber-Rhodes-Holder sort of deception (on Benghazi, on the conduct of Bowe Bergdahl, on the Affordable Care Act, the Iran deal, on Fast and Furious, etc.) — a required tactic because so much of the Obama agenda was antithetical to the wishes and preferences of the American electorate and thus had to be disguised and camouflaged to become enacted.

There was the pen-and-phone mockery of established federal law (the suspension of the ACA employer mandate, the Chrysler creditor reversal, the non-enforcement of federal immigration law, the institutionalization of sanctuary-city nullification). There was the constant mythmaking (from faux red lines, deadlines, and step-over lines to the fatuity of the Cairo Speech and Iran-deal harangues).

There were the abuses of presidential power (the surveillance of journalists, the selective release of the bin Laden trove to pet journalists, the likely surveilling, unmasking, and leaking through reversed targeting of political enemies).

No one worried much when Obama promised on a hot mic to Medvedev that he would be more flexible with the Russians after his reelection, as if they were to conform to a desired sort of behavior in service to Obama that would earn them dividends from him later on — the kind of unapologetic partisan “collusion” that would have earned Trump a Comey-induced indictment. No one cared that Obama pulled all peacekeepers out of Iraq and thereby ruined what the surge had saved.

Nor did anyone fret much about the serial scandals at the GSA, the VA, the IRS, and the Secret Service, or his disastrous reset policy with Russia and the implosion of the Middle East or the strange spectacles of Obama’s interview with GloZell or polarizing Oval Office guests, such as the rapper whose album cover portrayed celebrations over a dead white judge.

True, none of these were impeachable or even major offenses. But all of them recalibrated the bar of presidential behavior.

So along came the next Republican president, empowered by Obama’s exemptions to do almost anything he wished, albeit without the thin exculpatory veneer of Ivy League pretension, multicultural indemnity, and studied smoothness.

In biblical “there is a season” fashion, for every sermon about not building your business, making too much money, or profiting at the wrong time, there was a Trump retort to profit as never before.

For every too-frequent gala golf outing of a metrosexual Obama decked out in spiffy attire, there is a plumper Trump swinging away, oblivious to the angry pack of reporters that Obama once so carefully courted.

For every rapper with an ankle bracelet that went off in the White House, there is now a White House photo-op with Ted Nugent.

One Year After Pulse Nightclub Attack, Orlando Sentinel Gaslights Omar Mateen’s Motive By Patrick Poole

One year ago today, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando became a killing zone and the site of the worst terror attack in the U.S. since 9/11 — 49 patrons killed and 58 more injured:

During the attack, the killer Omar Mateen called 911 three times and also called a local TV station to claim credit, saying he did the attack in support of the Islamic State.

But in a trend I’ve documented here at PJ Media, despite these obvious “investigative clues,” there are media outlets, family members, and law enforcement officials who still puzzle over Mateen’s motive.

Remarkably, the Orlando Sentinel, the largest newspaper in the city where the Pulse nightclub attack occurred, published an article last week before the one year anniversary of the attack gaslighting the killer’s motive:

Sentinel reporter Paul Brinkmann floated debunked conspiracy theories that Mateen was secretly gay and self-loathing, interviewing two former law enforcement behavioral profilers — neither of whom worked the case.

Brinkmann also interviewed a gay rights activist who claims that ISIS was a convenient scapegoat for his true motives:

Multiple people have said over the past year they think Omar Mateen was a regular at the club or that he was gay himself — even though U.S. law enforcement officials and the FBI reportedly found no evidence to support those theories. Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch originally called the shooting a hate crime and a terrorist attack.

Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, the group tracking gay killings, sees no conflict between those ideas, and neither do criminal profilers and others interviewed about Mateen’s motive.

“There are domestic factors and international factors, and both are so important,” Stern said, referring to Mateen’s history, life experiences and ISIS. “For Omar Mateen, ISIS was simply the justification.”

It bears repeating that these conspiracy theories floated by the media for weeks last year after the shooting were investigated by the FBI, which found zerp support for them:

Are we really to believe that if the FBI had discovered some support for this conspiracy theory, the Obama administration and Attorney General Loretta Lynch wouldn’t have ridden that horse until it died. As I reported here at PJ Media, the New York Times, too, engaged in gaslighting the killer’s motive:

The fact is that Omar Mateen himself repeatedly stated what his motive was — during the attack.

The evidence: three 911 calls, the phone call he made to a local TV station, discussions he had with the hostage negotiator on the scene, posts he made to Facebook during the attack, and even comments he made to the victims.

All of that evidence is consistent and unmistakably clear.

There is no evidence whatsoever supporting the media conspiracy theories now attempting to call into question all of these verified pieces of evidence:

An Islamic Terrorist by Any Other Name by Charles Lipson

What should we call the vile killers of London, Manchester, Fort Hood, Boston, Nice, and Paris? For years, our leading politicians have danced gingerly around that question, preferring to call them simply “terrorists.” No modifiers.

The murderers among us have no such qualms. The last words 23-year-old Daniel O’Neill heard before a stranger plunged a 7-inch knife into his stomach a week ago was “This is for Islam.” Gerard Vowles saw three men stabbing a woman at the south end of London Bridge while yelling, “This is for Allah!”

The mainstream media, most academics, and fashionable intellectuals are deaf to those taunts. They resolutely ignore what the terrorists say repeatedly: They are killing in the name of Islam, as they interpret it, to achieve a religious goal, however depraved we think it is.

The stabbers, shooters, and bombers are the sharp end of a long spear. They are helped by bomb-makers, strategists, tactical planners, financiers, computer experts, and PR specialists who share the same extreme religious views and seek to impose them on everyone else. They say they want to kill infidels and apostates—and then they do. They say they want to impose their version of Sharia law on everyone, including faithful Muslims who do not share their vision. When they can, they do.

Their goal is a caliphate, a state that eliminates the hard-won Western distinction between the political and religious spheres. Their version of Islam suffuses every aspect of life—economic, social, and political—suffocating all that is secular and private. They say so explicitly, repeatedly, and unequivocally.

None of this is a secret, except in polite conversation among elites. They are the self-anointed language police.

Even after the London Bridge attack, England’s third in three months, Prime Minister Theresa May would only speak of “terrorists.” Her tone was tough, but she still would not name the radicalism that motivated all three attacks. She would say only, “There has been far too much tolerance of extremism across society.”

Meanwhile, Her Majesty’s security services are overwhelmed by 500 active investigations, another 3,000 top-tier subjects of interest, and some 20,000 more one step lower on the priority list. These are not just extremists. They are a particular kind of extremist.

Marine Le Pen’s National Front Faces Reckoning After Loss in French Vote Abstentions among far-right leader’s backers in presidential vote harm party in parliamentary poll By William Horobin and Stacy Meichtry

PARIS—After knocking at the gates of power only a month ago, Marine Le Pen saw support for her far-right party crumble in Sunday’s first round of parliamentary elections, dashing its hopes of becoming France’s opposition party and an entrenched menace to the Europe Union.

President Emmanuel Macron’s fledgling party, La République en Marche, trounced mainstream parties across the political spectrum but forced the once-buoyant antiestablishment National Front in particular into a reckoning. Ms. Le Pen on Monday faced a final election result that showed the momentum that carried her in to last month’s second-round presidential vote had perished.

National Front candidates garnered only 13.2% of Sunday’s vote, compared with 13.6% in the last parliamentary election five years ago. Pollster Ipsos Sopra-Steria projected the party would end up with only between one and five seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, compared with between 415 and 455 for Mr. Macron’s party and its centrist ally.

What caused the collapse, pollsters and party officials say, is that the National Front’s primarily young, working-class base decided to sit out the parliamentary races. Around 57% of people who voted for Marine Le Pen in the presidential election stayed home for the parliamentary ballot, Ipsos Sopra-Steria said. The abstention rate among Macron voters was 38%.

The numbers stand in contrast to the National Front’s high expectations going into the 2017 races. In recent years, the party had drawn nearly a third of the vote in local, regional and European Parliament elections. CONTINUE AT SITE