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Mark Caserta: We must accept Trump’s challenge on radical Islam

27 Aug

It’s truly this election…or never

me

  • Aug 26, 2016

GOP presidential nominee Donald John Trump is laying down the gauntlet against radical Islamic terrorism and asking Americans to accept his challenge.

Last week, in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump likened the fight against terrorism to the Cold War and the battle against Nazism and laid out his plan advocating a “new screening test for the threats we face today,” calling it “extreme vetting extreme, extreme vetting.”

Trump’s plan calls for all immigrants to be subjected to tests for a commitment to U.S. values, including religious freedom and tolerance. He added we would assess our allies based on their commitment to defeat “radical Islam.”

“All actions should be oriented around this goal, and any country which shares this goal will be our ally,” Trump declared. “Very important – some don’t share this goal. We cannot always choose our friends but we can never fail to recognize our enemies.”

Trump was most likely imputing our commander-in-chief, who is so apologetic for the Muslim faith he won’t even utter words insinuating radical Islam. And incredibly, we have a Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, willing to perpetuate protecting Islam over the lives of Americans.

Given the president has no greater responsibility than to ensure the safety and security of the American people, how can either one of these individuals be qualified to lead our country? Despite the obvious, neither seems to believe our nation’s borders are at risk!

Both Obama and Hillary are determined to bring thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States without properly vetting them.

Top U.S. officials have already admitted concern that a potential terrorist could be hiding among refugees looking for asylum in the U.S. as reported in a February 2015 column by Justin Fishel and Mike Levine on ABC.com.

And FBI Director James Comey and the nation’s top intelligence officials already have admitted we simply don’t have the information in our nation’s data base to properly vet these individuals.

“We can only query against that which we have collected,” Comey said before the House Homeland Security Committee in 2015. “We can query our database till the cows come home, but there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person.”

But even then, it’s a red herring. As reported in a November 2015 column by Kerry Picket of “The Daily Caller,” the Obama administration is limiting the scope of query to focus on “behavior,” rather than religion or ideology.

Incredibly, Obama’s counter-terrorism officials have trained domestic Homeland Security law enforcement officers to focus on the behaviors of people entering the U.S. rather than their political, ideological or religious background.

At what point do we ostensibly label this administration’s efforts to protect Americans either a “lack of skill” or a “lack of will” – and possibly both.

It’s time America accepts Trump’s challenge. If we don’t use this election to get serious about keeping radical Islam out of our country, it will be too late.

They will have an open range under Hillary Clinton.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Americans just don’t feel safe any more

19 Dec

mark

Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot Editor

 Dec 18, 2015

The irony of the liberal push for gun control is that the longer Barack Obama is president, the more Americans buy guns.

 

A recent column in the New York Times by Katie Rogers reported that gun bargains on Black Friday were a “big draw.” According to the column, the FBI was busy processing about two firearm background checks per second! It went on to say there have been a record number of background checks of people wanting to buy a firearm thus far in 2015, with more than 1.9 million background checks processed in the month of October alone.

Americans simply don’t feel safe anymore. On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., I observed that the area was inundated with billboards and signs saying, “If you see something, say something!” I can’t recall our nation ever being so afraid of the threat of Islamic terrorism – even after 911. And they just don’t trust this administration to keep them safe.

 

Frankly, it’s the result of failed leadership. Barack Obama’s acumen as commander-in-chief truly pales in comparison to his predecessor.

Following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush had our nation on the offense within hours. He successfully rallied all Americans, regardless of political persuasion, in the war on terror. On the evening following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush wasted no time quickly identifying the attacks as acts of terror.

 

“Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America” Bush said. “Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared.”

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The president’s words were filled with hope and resolve. There was clarity in his determination to protect Americans and our way of life.

 

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest building, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

 

And he didn’t flinch when taking action to identify the enemy and execute a military plan.

 

“The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”

Many refuse to remember that President Bush had even garnered the support of Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Harry Reid in voting to authorize the use of military force in the war in Afghanistan, and all shared the same intelligence information.

 

But the only resolve and determination Barack Obama seems to have involve protecting his legacy. Every move is tainted by liberal ideology and no serious crisis is ever allowed to go to waste in propagating the progressive plan.

 

So just keep looking over your shoulder and indeed “say something” if you “see something.” And then hope there’s a good guy available with a gun.

 

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Islamic terrorism looms on our American soil

14 May

ISIS IS HERE

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Mark Caserta, Free State Patriot Editor

May. 14, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

Last September, the Islamic group of terrorists known as ISIS called for a wave of random attacks to begin in the United States. Emboldened by a “weak at the knees” Obama administration, it was now time to advance their threat of terror into the most powerful nation in the West. There would be no greater victory than to die advancing the cause of the caliphate in America.

At the time, a spokesperson for the group specifically called for lone-wolf attacks and provided instructions on how to attack U.S. citizens. “Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes.”

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Since then, ISIS has leveraged social media for the recruitment and training of individuals willing and able to carry out these attacks in the name of “Allah.” ISIS’ morbidly alluring propaganda has included “shock and awe” videos of beheadings and victims being burned alive.

And up until now, the U.S. had yet to experience the fruition of such threats on our soil.

But earlier this month, outside a “Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest” sponsored by a free speech movement in Garland, Texas, two ISIS soldiers opened fire on a group of participants. Armed with assault rifles and body armor, the gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, wounded a security guard before a policeman, armed with only a handgun, shot and killed them.

In a broadcast on its official radio channel, ISIS claimed the gunmen were affiliated with their terror organization. Calling the men “Al Khilafa soldiers,” the ISIS radio announcer also referred to Simpson and Soofi as the group’s “brothers.” The announcement included this warning to infidels:

“We say to the defenders of the cross, the U.S., that future attacks are going to be harsher and worse. The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of God. The future is just around the corner.”

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A recent grim internet warning from a self-described American jihadist warned of ISIS having scores of “trained soldiers” positioned in 15 states, awaiting orders to carry out more operations like the one in Garland.

“Out of the 71 trained soldiers, 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday, we are increasing in number,” read the warning. “Of the 15 states, 5 we will name: Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan.”

Due to the escalating number of threats on the U.S., security at all U.S. military bases was raised this past weekend, according to CBS News.

To date, the Islamic State has given us no reason to question their resolve or barbarism, and have made it clear they intend to follow through with their mission. And they will gladly die for their cause.

But even with the enemy threat now on American soil, President Obama still hasn’t displayed the will or courage to defeat them.

How many will die before he takes action?

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

America Is Coming Apart at the Seams

7 Dec

america coming apart

2012 Dec 5, 2014 3:39 PM EST

By Francis Wilkinson

It was the most Republican of times, it was the most Democratic of times.

That’s the U.S. right now, a nation heading in two diametrically opposed directions. Where you live in the country has always influenced how you live. But divergent public policy choices, rooted in sharp partisan conflict, are heightening the geographic distinctions.

House Republicans this week passed legislation designed primarily to channel conservative rage and secondarily to vaporize 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Republicans won’t provide funds to deport the immigrants, and they won’t provide a method of rationalizing those immigrants’ existence here. So they will simply pretend that they don’t exist.

In January, the first Republican legislative act of 2015 is expected to be another vote to repeal Obamacare, the health-care reform that has been working out better than even its proponents predicted.

Meanwhile, across the the continent, California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown also has immigrants and health care on his mind. Brown is analyzing whether the state can extend its version of Medicaid health insurance to undocumented immigrants who are covered by President Barack Obama’s executive action on amnesty.

OBAMACARE

“We’re still evaluating, but the president’s recent action on undocumented immigrants could perhaps open a door for more coverage of more people under Medi-Cal,’’ Nancy McFadden, the governor’s top policy aide, told the Los Angeles Times.

California is not just a blue state with a Democratic governor and legislature. It’s home to almost one in eight Americans. And it has by far the nation’s largest population of undocumented immigrants — one in four live there, according to the Pew Research Center.

So in the very near future, undocumented immigrants who reside in California (some by virtue of having snuck illegally over the border) may be covered by publicly-funded health insurance while many U.S. citizens living in Texas and the Deep South will have no access to health insurance of any kind, thanks to the Republican war on Obamacare. (In Texas, more than one quarter of the population lacks health insurance, a number that seems stubbornly resistant to the charms of the “Texas miracle.”)

The U.S. also looks like two different places when it comes to guns and abortion. In Washington state, for example, where abortion law was recently liberalized, there are no waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortion. In Mississippi, restrictions are plentiful, and the state government has been working steadily to shut the sole abortion clinic in the state. On guns, Connecticut voters reelected a Democratic governor who supported sweeping gun regulations in the wake of the Newtown shooting. In Georgia, you can now legally carry a loaded firearm into a bar.

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Then there are voting rights. Legislators in red states, such as North Carolina and Texas, have been adding carefully crafted layers of difficulty to voting, from voter ID laws to reduced early voting and restrictions on student ballots. Illinois, meanwhile, appears poised to enact same-day registration for voting.

The Chicago Sun-Times:

Besides allowing people to register and vote on the same day at polling places, the bill would allow extended early voting, as well as make it easier for students to vote at college campuses.

Increasingly, the rights of many American citizens depend less on the U.S. Constitution and more on which state they live in. Again, this isn’t a new phenomenon — especially for blacks, who had no guaranteed rights in most of the South for most of American history. But the divergence is stark.

And growing. As Bloomberg News reporter Greg Giroux reported, many red and blue states are only deepening their partisan identities as voters increasingly abandon split-ticket voting:

If Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu loses her runoff election next week, the Senate that convenes in January will have 84 senators of the same political party that carried their state in the most recent presidential election. That’s the most in more than six decades, according to statistics compiled by Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California at San Diego. There were 61 such senators in 1999, after the second midterm election of President Bill Clinton’s administration, and 43 in 1987.

There’s also more partisan alignment in voting for the House of Representatives and for president.

Polarization has its own logic. And as red and blue states pursue their sharply divergent versions of government, each increasingly presents a vision of Dickensian hell to the other.

progressives

To contact the author on this story: Francis Wilkinson at fwilkinson1@bloomberg.net

How to Rebuke a President

23 Nov

If not impeachment, then what?

Censure-plus.

Dec 1, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 12 • By JAY COST

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Cen·sure

 verb: 3rd person present: censures; past tense: censured; past participle: censured; gerund or present participle: censuring

  1. To express severe disapproval of (someone or something), typically in a formal statement.     
  2.  The expression of formal disapproval

For responding to a president who defies his constitutional limits, Congress is said to possess four powers: to impeach, to defund, to investigate, and to withhold confirmation of nominees.

obama censure

Gary Locke

But there is a fifth recourse, which the new Republican Congress might consider in view of President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants: the power to censure. In fact, censure could work in tandem with Congress’s other powers, helping the legislature make the moral case for responding to the president’s lawlessness.

Presidential censure is a rare occurrence. Most notably, in 1834, the Whig-controlled Senate censured President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, for moving federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States to local banks, derisively called his “pets” because most were operated by loyal Democrats.

Jackson’s legal justification was dubious at best. Under the law, only the secretary of the Treasury could initiate such a transfer, and then only if the funds were deemed insecure. But the Bank had been impeccably run since Nicholas Biddle became its president in 1822. An investigation had ascertained that the funds were perfectly safe, and the House had voted overwhelmingly to affirm that fact. Treasury Secretary William Duane, moreover, refused to remove the money or to step down so Jackson could install somebody who would. Jackson fired Duane, replacing him with Roger Taney without Senate confirmation. Taney’s cronies would go on to grossly mismanage funds in Jackson’s pet bank in Baltimore.

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This series of actions added up to a severe presidential encroachment. So the Senate—led by Henry Clay and Daniel Webster—censured Jackson by passing this resolution: “Resolved, That the President, in the late Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both.”

The censure wounded the president’s bountiful pride, so much so that in 1837, Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton, a fierce Jackson loyalist, had the resolution stricken from the record.

The facts surrounding Obama’s amnesty of illegal immigrants parallel those of Jackson’s deposit removal scheme. In both instances, we see a president circumventing the traditional and proper constitutional pathways to confer a partisan benefit, creating a dangerous precedent. Jackson had no right to remove deposits that Congress deemed safe; Obama has no right to exempt large classes of people from laws that were duly authorized by the government. Jackson’s actions were meant to rebuke Biddle for supporting Henry Clay for president in 1832 and, later, to supply patronage to pro-Democratic bank managers; Obama’s action is a blatant attempt to curry favor with a sought-after voting bloc and make his partisan opponents look bad in comparison. Both presidents’ unilateral measures admit of no limiting principle; the law is abrogated simply because the president finds it politically inconvenient. If this became a norm, it would destroy our system of government.

gruber 3

Indeed, Clay’s denunciation of Jackson’s deposit removal rings true today: “We are in the midst of a revolution, hitherto bloodless, but rapidly tending toward a total change of the pure republican character of the government, and the concentration of all power in the hands of one man.” Obama, like Jackson before him, seeks to aggrandize the executive branch at the expense of the legislative branch, unbalancing the constitutional regime and justifying censure.

Censure alone, however, would be a meek gesture. Devoid of substance, it would signal legislative impotence; perversely, it might even strengthen Obama’s hand. Something similar happened in 1834 when, after the Senate censured Jackson, nothing changed. The money stayed in the pet banks, and all that Clay really managed to do was offend Jackson’s sense of honor. As historians David and Jeanne Heidler rightly note, “Clay won this battle, but Jackson won the war.”

Thus, censure should be wielded in conjunction with other legitimate legislative powers.

Recent news reports have suggested that Republicans have a plan in mind. As Byron York wrote in the Washington Examiner:

Republicans will work on crafting a new spending measure that funds the entire government, with the exception of the particular federal offices that will do the specific work of enforcing Obama’s order.

Republican sources liken the contemplated action to Congress’s move to stop the president from closing the terrorist detention facility at Guantánamo Bay: In 2009, lawmakers denied Obama the money he would have needed to proceed. Guantánamo remains open.

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Scientists try to predict number of US Ebola cases

2 Nov
Nov 1, 10:41 PM EDT

Didn’t the president tell us to trust the science in this case?

By MARTHA MENDOZA AP National Writer

 scientist 1

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Top medical experts studying the spread of Ebola say the public should expect more cases to emerge in the United States by year’s end as infected people arrive here from West Africa, including American doctors and nurses returning from the hot zone and people fleeing from the deadly disease.

But how many cases?

No one knows for sure how many infections will emerge in the U.S. or anywhere else, but scientists have made educated guesses based on data models that weigh hundreds of variables, including daily new infections in West Africa, airline traffic worldwide and transmission possibilities.

This week, several top infectious disease experts ran simulations for The Associated Press that predicted as few as one or two additional infections by the end of 2014 to a worst-case scenario of 130.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a huge outbreak here, no,” said Dr. David Relman, a professor of infectious disease, microbiology and immunology at Stanford University’s medical school. “However, as best we can tell right now, it is quite possible that every major city will see at least a handful of cases.”

Relman is a founding member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advisory board for biosecurity and chairs the National Academy of Sciences forum on microbial threats.

Until now, projections published in top medical journals by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control have focused on worst-case scenarios for West Africa, concluding that cases in the U.S. will be episodic, but minimal. But they have declined to specify actual numbers.

The projections are complicated, but Ebola has been a fairly predictable virus – extremely infectious, contagious only through contact with body fluids, requiring no more than 21 days for symptoms to emerge. Human behavior is far less predictable – people get on airplanes, shake hands, misdiagnose, even lie.

Pandemic risk expert Dominic Smith, a senior manager for life risks at Newark, California-based RMS, a leading catastrophe-modeling firm, ran a U.S. simulation this week that projected 15 to 130 cases between now and the end of December. That’s less than one case per 2 million people.

Smith’s method assumes that most cases imported to the U.S. will be American medical professionals who worked in West Africa and returned home.

Smith said the high end may be a bit of an overestimate as it does not include the automatic quarantining measures that some areas in the U.S. are implementing.

scientist 2

Those quarantines “could both reduce the number of contacts for imported cases, as well as increase the travel burden on – and perhaps reduce the number of – U.S. volunteers planning to support the effort in West Africa,” he said.

In a second simulation, Northeastern University professor Alessandro Vespignani projected between one case – the most likely scenario – and a slim chance of as many as eight cases though the end of November.

“I’m always trying to tell people to keep calm and keep thinking rationally,” said Vespignani, who projects the spread of infectious diseases at the university’s Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-Technical Systems.

In an article in the journal PLOS ONE, Vespignani and a team of colleagues said the probability of international spread outside the African region is small, but not negligible. Longer term, they say international dissemination will depend on what happens in West Africa in the next few months.

Their first analysis, published Sept. 2, proved to be accurate when it included the U.S. among 30 countries likely to see some Ebola cases. They projected one or two infections in the U.S., but there could be as many as 10.

scientist 3

So far, nine Ebola patients have been treated in the U.S., and one has died. Seven became infected in West Africa, including Thomas Eric Duncan, the first to arrive undiagnosed and the first to die. He was cared for at a Dallas hospital, where two of his nurses were also infected.

Duncan, who was initially misdiagnosed and sent home from the emergency room, is Vespignani’s worst-case scenario for the U.S.

A similar situation, if left unchecked, could lead to a local cluster that could infect, on the outside, as many as 20, he said.

The foreseeable future extends only for the next few months. After that, projections depend entirely on what happens in West Africa. One scenario is that the surge in assistance to the region brings the epidemic under control and cases peter out in the U.S. A second scenario involves Ebola spreading unchecked across international borders.

“My worry is that the epidemic might spill into other countries in Africa or the Middle East, and then India or China. That could be a totally different story for everybody,” Vespignani said.

Dr. Ashish Jha, a Harvard University professor and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said he’s not worried about a handful of new cases in the U.S. His greatest worry is if the disease goes from West Africa to India.

“If the infection starts spreading in Delhi or Mumbai, what are we going to do?”

Dr. Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, pegs the range of cases in the U.S. between five and 100.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prefers not to focus on a particular number. But spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said Ebola will not be a widespread threat as some outside the agency have warned.

“We’re talking about clusters in some places but not outbreaks,” she said.

The CDC is using modeling tools to work on projections in West Africa, but “there isn’t enough data available in the U.S. to make it worthwhile to go through the exercise.”

University of Texas integrative biology professor Lauren Ancel Meyers said there are inherent inconsistencies in forecasting “because the course of action we’re taking today will impact what happens in the future.”

Her laboratory is running projections of Ebola’s spread in West Africa.

The U.S. simulations run for the AP had fairly consistent results with each other, she said. And they are “consistent with what we know about the disease.”

scientist 4

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Mark Caserta: President failed to be proactive in dealing with Ebola

30 Oct

ebola 8ebola 6QUARANTINE

Oct. 30, 2014 @ 12:24 AM

The Obama administration has consistently demonstrated an inability to proactively think a policy through its unintended consequences. And any “common sense” option seems always to be circumvented for the purpose of protecting this president politically. The reaction to the Ebola outbreak has been no different.

Common sense dictates containing the Ebola virus at its source until it can be eradicated. But with an estimated 150 people traveling to the United States each day from West Africa, travel restrictions alone would be insufficient since there are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from countries hardest hit by the virus to any U.S. airport. All new visas to the U.S. for citizens of Ebola-stricken nations would need to be banned until the outbreak has been controlled period.

And as fear of an outbreak in the U.S. escalates, the idea of such a travel ban is gaining momentum among House and Senate Republicans.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, became the latest Republican lawmaker to announce plans to introduce a measure that would temporarily ban new visas for people from the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The bill, which Rubio plans to introduce when the Senate returns after the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, would go into effect immediately and continue until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certifies that the outbreak has been contained. It could also be expanded to any future countries experiencing an outbreak of the virus.

But at this point, these precautions are like closing the barn door after the horses have bolted. The Obama administration has mishandled the Ebola situation from the very beginning.

The first Ebola patient, a teenage boy now known as “patient zero,” was identified in the West African country of Guinea way back in December 6, 2013. The boy died from the disease.

By March 24, 2014, authorities in Guinea reported 87 suspected cases of Ebola. Soon after, Liberia and Sierra Leone began reporting cases of the dreadful disease. By late September Ebola was reported as “out of control” in West Africa and “unprecedented” in its scope.

But even by Sept. 16, when Obama reassured Americans the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. were “extremely low,” he had incredulously failed to institute any travel restrictions from infected regions.

Finally, amid increasing pressure, President Obama instituted restrictions for travelers flying into the U.S. from the heavily impacted West African countries. Beginning last Wednesday passengers will be funneled through international airports in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and Newark, New Jersey. These five airports will reportedly have specialized Ebola screening steps.

In preparation, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey announced last week a joint policy mandating a 21-day quarantine for anyone flying into their states after having contact with Ebola sufferers in West Africa.

But President Obama should have been more proactive in his approach to dealing with this deadly disease. His hesitation to act has needlessly placed Americans at risk. One can only pray this doesn’t end in catastrophe for Americans.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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