At the American Spectator this morning, I’ve got a piece up about the hard-to-believe exchange this week in a Senate hearing between Ted Cruz and Homeland Security secretary Jehovah “Jeh” Johnson, in which the latter more or less gives a “you can’t handle the truth” confession about the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies…
Republicans make a big deal of the president’s refusal to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” in describing these jihadist attacks, and it drives Democrats crazy because they think it’s pure political point-scoring. But there’s a reason why the argument is being made; the video below paints a picture why.
Because as Cruz’s subcommittee showed Wednesday in a different hearing, not only won’t Obama name the threat but his administration is actively scrubbing references to Islamic jihad from its own counterterror documents and it’s treating a global jihadist insurgency as a series of essentially unrelated criminal acts.
And worse than that, Johnson’s attitude on display in the video is that the whole line of inquiry is cute and it’s good politics for Cruz to engage in it, but an emphasis on Islam and jihad as the source of these supposedly unrelated criminal acts is a waste of time.
Here’s the video. It’s about 10 minutes long.
Cruz is a masterful lawyer, and despite Johnson’s reticent petulance he goads out of him an admission of what people who follow this subject already know – namely that the Obama administration is treating global jihad as crime rather than the manifestation of a civilizational conflict ongoing for some 1400 years.
This matters, as I note at the Spectator, because Orlando wasn’t some one-off criminal outrage like, for example, that awful stabbing murder of the Raising Cane’s store manager in suburban New Orleans earlier this week. There was a specific ideological framework behind what Omar Mateen did, just as the same framework governed San Bernardino, Merced, Fort Hood, Little Rock, Boston and Chattanooga and so many other examples of jihad.
And if you endeavor to understand the ideology, where it’s promulgated and to whom, you put yourself in a position to predict where its next violent manifestation might come from.
The Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, the mosque Omar Mateen attended, produced the first American suicide bomber in Syria. That mosque preaches, openly by the way, sharia law. Mateen’s father, whose YouTube channel openly chastises the U.S. government and sympathizes with the Taliban, is the number two man at the mosque. Given that, the FBI should have had a file on all the regular attendees therein and a policy of surveillance on those attendees meriting special attention.
And Mateen would have been an all-star among them, given that he’d had weapons training and worked for a security company, that he’d told coworkers he was affiliated with al-Qaeda, that he’d been a domestic abuser of his first wife who had left him in circumstances more reminiscent of a spy novel than a normal divorce, that he was a student of Marcus Robertson, the jihadist imam, notorious criminal and former bodyguard to the Blind Sheikh Omar Abel Rahmaan. And that he went to a gun store and tried to buy an enormous amount of ammunition and body armor, which spooked the store owner into calling the FBI. Then, of course, he did buy a 9-millimeter pistol and a Sig Sauer MCX carbine rifle in a single purchase at another gun store.
Those are not difficult dots to connect, and Mateen should have already been on the FBI and DHS’ active radar. For the $65 billion we spend on DHS’ budget, Johnson should have been able to walk into Cruz’ hearing and offer the apprehension of Mateen as he attempted his crime as an example of how that money is well spent. Instead, he spends 10 minutes acting put-upon while Cruz extracts from him the admission that our counterterror apparatus intentionally refuses to engage in understanding the global jihad, its philosophical underpinnings, its networks and resources and its activities because, among other stupid reasons, he doesn’t think it has anything to do with Islam.
Well, the jihadists think it has something to do with Islam, and they can make a pretty good case that they know more about Islam than Jeh Johnson does – especially since Johnson’s agency scrubs all references to Islam from its documents.
Here’s an analogy for you. Let’s say it’s World War II, and the German-American Bund has “cultural centers” spread out all across the country. And let’s say there is a periodic rash of attacks on things like railway stations, shopping malls, army recruiting stations and so on. And let’s say every time the perpetrators of the murder and sabotage are identified, they happen to be connected with one of these German-American Bund cultural centers. But the FBI and the War Department categorically refuse to make such a connection because to do so would show “bigotry.”
You’d say that’s a crazy analogy, and you’re correct. Why? Because when it started to become obvious that America was eventually going to be at war with Nazi Germany, the federal government went on the warpath against the German-American Bund and took it apart so it had no network with which to foment terror and chaos behind American lines. All of its leaders found themselves with legal trouble of one sort or another and the government chilled its presence in no uncertain terms. German-Americans very quickly realized there was no future in being part of that show and by the time the US of A was at war with Germany there was very little evidence of an organized Nazi underground here. When the Germans did attempt to place spies and saboteurs on American soil they were rounded up and hung fairly efficiently.
And for a lot less than $65 billion per year.
And yet we have hundreds of mosques in this country which openly advertise they’re preaching sharia law, and within that network people like Marcus Robertson and, formerly, Anwar al-Awlaki circulate to inculcate jihadist philosophy among the followers, as many as 80 percent of those mosques are owned and financed by foreign governments like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and we see repeated examples of terrorists emerging from the attendees at those mosques. The two morons who tried to murder Pamela Geller and the rest of the people convening at the Draw Muhammad competition in Garland, Texas weren’t the first terrorists to come from the Islamic Center of Phoenix, the Tsarnaevs weren’t the first terrorists to come from the Islamic Center of Boston and Mateen wasn’t the first terrorist to come from the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. Let’s not act like the German analogy above doesn’t apply. Of course it does; the difference is the U.S. government was effective then in fighting our enemies and it chooses not to be now.
– Yesterday we reported that Steve Scalise has called for Loretta Lynch, the atrocious Attorney General whose poorly-disguised meeting with Bill Clinton has cast a pall of scandal over her office’s supervision of the Hillary Clinton e-mail case, to recuse herself and appoint a special prosecutor.
Scalise wasn’t alone in making that call, and Lynch responded to the pressure by promising to abide by whatever recommendations the FBI makes in the case.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch plans to announce on Friday that she will accept whatever recommendation career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make about whether to bring charges related to Hillary Clinton’s personal email server, a Justice Department official said. Her decision removes the possibility that a political appointee will overrule investigators in the case.
The Justice Department had been moving toward such an arrangement for months — officials said in April that it was being considered — but a private meeting between Ms. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton this week set off a political furor and made the decision all but inevitable.
Republicans said the meeting, which took place at the Phoenix airport, had compromised the independence of the investigation as the F.B.I. was winding it down. Some called for Ms. Lynch to recuse herself, but she did not take herself off the case — one that could influence a presidential election.
By not recusing herself, Ms. Lynch retains all the legal authority as the nation’s top law enforcement official. That means her remarks are not binding and she is not obligated to accept what the F.B.I. recommends. But by making her plans public, Ms. Lynch risks causing a political firestorm if she were to later overrule those recommendations.
Two things here – first, it’s a recognition that her handling of the case to date has caused political problems both for her party and the administration in which she works. That she has to announce she’ll work from the recommendations of the law-enforcement professionals working the Clinton case in and of itself is an admission she lacks credibility; such a practice would go without saying in an honest Department of Justice.
And second, this announcement is plenty of nothing. As J. Christian Adams wrote at PJ Media, which we noted in yesterday’s piece on Scalise’s demand for recusal, that meeting in Phoenix already did all the damage that was necessary…
Many won’t believe Lynch and Clinton only discussed grandkids and golf in her cozy jet. But I do.
That’s all they needed to discuss for Bill to interfere with a criminal prosecution. Sophisticated insiders don’t need to use clumsy and explicit language. Merely having the tarmac summit interferes with the investigation, even if golf and grandkids were the only topics discussed.
The tarmac summit sent a signal. It is a signal to all of the hardworking FBI agents who have the goods on Hillary.
The attorney general has made it clear what team she is on. The attorney general isn’t on the side of justice. She’s on the Democratic Party team.
This is the unspoken message from Lynch to all of the FBI agents on the case and to all the front-line lawyers at the Justice Department:
When you send your recommendation to refer Hillary’s case to the grand jury, you had better realize your burden to convince me I should sign off on a grand jury request is higher than you thought. These are my friends.
The predicate has already been laid for the FBI and the investigative team to deliver a recommendation not to move forward, despite a mountain of evidence that Clinton is dead-to-rights guilty of violating federal law on the handling of classified information and a mountain of speculation, likely driven by the presence of evidence that Clinton’s private e-mail server was initiated and operated for the purpose of concealing a pay-for-policy scam involving the Clinton Foundation and who-knows-who of foreign ne’er-do-wells seeking to influence the State Department for their own purposes. We even have the potential that the disastrous U.S. policy toward Libya was influenced by Sid Blumenthal’s business dealings with unknown parties seeking to profit from the removal of Muammar Qaddafi as that country’s leader.
These are the kinds of things which ought to be above party politics, and handling them properly is more important than one individual’s career. If the American people can’t trust Loretta Lynch to impartially operate on the basis of the evidence, and there is no reason why we can, the only proper avenue is recusal and the appointment of a special prosecutor. At least. We’re not getting that, and we know what’s coming – there will be a recommendation to drop the case, and then there will be loud resignations at the FBI of people the Obama administration will seek to discredit as right-wing nuts and conspiracy kooks.
One can only hope against hope that somehow there’s a presidential candidate who can beat Hillary and have a new DOJ take a fresh look at the case next year.
– I’ll just leave this right here and wait for the usual stupid arguments to be made by the usual people.
Here’s the thing – the Republican convention has not yet been held and therefore there is no actual Republican nominee. There is a presumptive nominee, but the best analogy for that is that a new hire has been made at a company and the hiree is in training. If that hiree shows up to work in pajamas every day, has been caught snorting coke in the men’s room and is looking at porn on the internet rather than reviewing the training materials, there is no particular reason why the company is obligated to go further with the hire. Perhaps it’s time to find someone else.
There is a Rasmussen poll showing Donald Trump has a four-point lead on Hillary Clinton. That poll is an outlier, and in particular the polls of the battleground states show an unmitigated disaster awaits the GOP in the fall. There is no reason to discount an open convention and a second look by Republican delegates at the question whether Trump really is the best they can do for a nominee to beat Clinton.
And that’s why this ubiquitous argument by the Trump crowd that you either support him or you’re for making Hillary president ought to be put to bed. It’s a totally unpersuasive argument for one thing – Trump is the worst candidate the GOP could send up against Clinton, because he’s the only one seen more unfavorably by the public, and therefore if anybody is guilty of giving the election to the Democrats it’s the Trump supporters. Also, the argument reads as an accusation against others, and as such it presumes some obligation to support the unsupportable. Trump supporters are not entitled to the votes of anti-Trump people, whether they sport an “R” next to their names or not, and those votes must be earned. Meaning, Trump must prove himself worthy of them. But most of all, we’ve not had the convention yet. And if the anti-Trump crowd is demanding an open convention at which alternatives to Trump who might better represent the entire Republican Party and better compete with Clinton in November, the argument of “either Trump or Hillary” falls apart entirely.
If you want someone more likely to beat her, you’re not supporting her instead of Trump – you’re advocating the opposite.
A counterargument to the “either Trump or Hillary” drivel which rests on the same level of intellectual discourse is that Trump is little more than a plant by the Clintons and the Democrats to destroy the GOP, and those who support him are useful idiots assisting in that destruction. This is balderdash as well, of course, except that if Trump was such a plant you’d struggle to identify much he’d be doing differently. And if that suggestion drives Trump supporters to distraction, now you know how it feels to wade through the idiocy of “if you don’t support Trump you’re just helping Hillary win.”
People think classical music – which for the purpose of this I’ll loosely define as instrumental music using traditional instruments and following a traditional aesthetic form – is dead. They’re actually wrong about that. If anything it’s in better shape than it’s been in a long time.
Folks just don’t recognize it as such.
It floats right past you as the soundtrack to movies and TV shows, you hear it and can instantly recognize it on the same level as you can recognize Tchaikovsky or Beethoven, but only as to the show it belongs to rather than who the composer is or the name of the piece.
But it’s there.
Here’s an example. This was the theme for the final episode of the current Game of Thrones season, by a composer named Ramin Djawadi (who by the way has an amazing resume and an interesting biography). He’s the guy who wrote the main Game of Thrones theme. Listen to it and tell me this isn’t just as good as the old stuff they made you listen to in Music Appreciation class.
I’d submit that if we had movies and TV in 1810, Ludwig van Beethoven would be Hans Zimmer, or John Williams, or Ramin Djawadi. We have other dominant forms of media than we had when the great composers were plying their trade, but their art and that of their progeny survives well.