July 31, 2014
One neuropsychological effect of regular marijuana use is a significant loss in IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38, whereas non-users have no significant drop in IQ over their lifetime.
The abundant evidence showing marijuana causes permanent harm to its users won’t stop Libertarians, hippies, and burnouts from defending the wacky weed with every ounce of passion they can muster. Frankly, I’m bored with people who tout pot as a medicine or a harmless social “lubricant” on a par with alcohol. As far as I’m concerned, such incorrigible fools can defend marijuana use all the way to the dispensary, but the rest of us have a moral obligation to warn our young people about the personal catastrophes that await them if they become users. The following list of facts are derived from several scholarly, peer-reviewed studies on the various ways marijuana will fry your brain.
HOW DOES THC FRY THE BRAIN?
- Delta-9 tetrahydrocannibanol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, chemically resembles the endocannabinoids produced naturally in the human brain, especially the chemical, Anandamide. THC “fools” or interrupts the natural process of Anandamide receptors in the brain, causing disturbances to the functions that natural cannabinoids “modulate” such as mood, appetite, sensation, memory, pain and pleasure.
- Natural endocannabinoids shape brain development by guiding neuron growth where it is needed, supporting neuron function, and helping the myelination process in the growing brain. Myelination of the brain cells is not complete until the mid to late 20s in humans. THC interferes with all of these critical development processes, and is most damaging to the brains of adolescent marijuana uses because their brains will fail to myelinate properly, causing irreversible structural and psychological changes.
- THC mimics Anandimide but has a much STRONGER and LONGER-LASTING effect on neuron activity. The brain will adapt to THC exposure causing the user to become addicted.
- One way scientists prove the addictive power of substances is through animal research in which rats will ‘self administer’ a substance to which they become addicted. Laboratory experiments with THC revealed that rats continually administered the drug in the same way they would cocaine, heroin and nicotine.
- THC has been found to increase dopamine release in the reward center of the brain, causing a sense of pleasure or euphoria, much like other addictive drugs.
- The withdrawal symptoms of THC include; restlessness, anxiety, irritability, anger, aggression, sleep disturbances, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
- Marijuana addiction accounts for more admissions into teen substance abuse treatment programs than all other intoxicants combined, including alcohol.
- Marijuana addiction is related to the age at which a user begins using; the younger the individual when he begins to use marijuana, the more likely he will become dependent and suffer long-term negative cognitive and behavioral effects.
- THC affects areas of the brain which dictate memory, movement, coordination, vision, judgment and pleasure.
- The hippocampus, which is the center of memory formation and retrieval, sleep regulation, and stress responses, is especially sensitive to THC exposure. Brain imaging studies have proven that regular marijuana users have, on average, smaller hippocampuses and worse memory performance than non-users.
- One neuropsychological effect of regular marijuana use is a significant loss in IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38, whereas non-users have no significant drop in IQ over their lifetime. Those users who started before age 18 had greater drops in IQ than those who started using after age 18.
- Those who use marijuana regularly during adolescence are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, and/or depression in adulthood.
- Brain scans of of adolescent marijuana users (who had little or no alcohol intake) indicated that the corpus callosum–the bundle of nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain–were structurally much thinner than those of non-users. Similar structural differences in corpus callosum are found in people with schizophrenia.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THC
- THC intoxication impairs memory, motor coordination, reaction time and visual perception.
- National studies of intoxicant induced fatal car crashes have shown that by 2009 33% of the drivers had THC in the systems. This is a three-fold increase from prior years, and is on the rise in states where medical and recreational marijuana is now legal.
- Since THC stays in the body for protracted periods of time, an individual does not to be acutely intoxicated to be under the influence while driving.
GROWTH AND FERTILITY
- THC affects glands, hormones and certain organs. Studies have shown that adolescents who begin to use marijuana regularly before age 16 are shorter in height than their peer controls.
- Daily use of marijuana may increase the risk of testicular cancer.
NOT YOUR HIPPIE UNCLE’S POT
- Marijuana is bred and cultivated to increase THC levels in the plant. Marijuana now is 5 to 10 times more powerful than when it first became popular among young people.
- As the amount of THC in pot increases the adverse effects, such as paranoia, anxiety and panic, hallucinations, erratic mood swings, and aggressive behavior are magnified.
- There has been a dramatic increase in recent years of emergency room admissions by people who have ingested pot in some form.
- Synthetic forms of THC, which can be up to 10 times more powerful than even today’s cultivated pot are accountable for all of the typical adverse effects of marijuana, as well as seizure and heart attacks.
- Poison control centers are reporting a significant increase in calls related to synthetic THC.
MARKETING TO YOUNG PEOPLE
- After decades of decline, teen use of marijuana is on a dramatic upswing. This is explained by the promotion of marijuana as a “medicine,” legalization in some states, and positive portrayals of its use in popular culture, which all lead to a decreased negative perception of marijuana.
- Medical marijuana and recreational pot operations market to young people through “sexy” and colorful advertisements.
- THC in soda pop, candy, lollipops, butter, and other “edible” forms is designed to appeal to adolescents with the use of bright colors, funny brand names, and cartoon-style logos. These products taste like what they look like and it is not readily apparent that they contain natural or synthetic THC.
- Adults possessing medical marijuana licenses or cards account for nearly half of the pot obtained by teen users.
- Most adults using “medical” marijuana do so because they have a vague diagnosis such as “severe pain.”
- The THC in “medical” marijuana is stronger than street marijuana, often up to 12 times as strong.
IMPACT ON EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
- When medical marijuana became legal in Colorado, expulsions related to possession of pot or intoxication rose about 75% between 2009 and 2011. The number of marijuana-related expulsions has increased even further since recreational pot was legalized by the voters via Amendment 64 in 2012.
- Marijuana smoke contains most of the cancer-causing chemicals, including tar, contained in tobacco smoke.
- Marijuana smoke is usually unfiltered and held in the lungs longer than tobacco smoke.
- Regular marijuana smokers report bronchitis, wheezing, shortness of breath and more sick days in comparison to non-smokers (regardless of tobacco use).
Most who defend marijuana do so because they have a personal preference for it. There are some Libertarian purists who actually oppose any laws prohibiting free expressions of human behavior. Our realities, however, are not so simple. Decades of sound research proves that marijuana is a social evil to be socially discouraged and legally prohibited. The emerging generations of young people have a monstrous economic, social, and political obstacles before them. It’s time for adults to clean up their own lives so they may pave a better path for their children’s future.
by Marjorie Haun 7/31/14
Resources: A Comparison of Mainstream and Sidestream Marijuana and Tobacco Cigarette Smoke Produced Under Two Machine Smoking Conditions ~David Moir et al, July, 2007
Persistent Cannabis Users show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Mid-life ~Madeline Meier et al, April, 2012
The Teen Brain on Marijuana [PDF] Sion Kim Harris, PhD, Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Boston Childrens Hospital, Harvard Medical School
July 30, 2014
From The Daily Signal
How These Rare Species Are Making It Impossible to Keep the Border Secure
Protected lands and rare species are hurting the U.S. Border Patrol’s ability to keep the United States-Mexico border secure.
Much of the border areas in South Texas are considered national wildlife refuge areas, which are protected lands overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Lower River Grande Refuge, for example, runs for 275 miles along the Rio Grande River, which is on the border of Texas and Mexico. The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a meager 2,000 acres, but the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 97,000.
Why is this an issue? Because the majority of people illegally trying to enter the U.S., whether drug smugglers, human traffickers or those seeking a better life in America, are coming across these protected lands.
They choose to cross the border across to those protected lands because they know it’s harder for the border patrol to apprehend them in these areas, thanks to rules made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, which is part of the Department of the Interior.
Border Patrol agents face severe restrictions on what they can and can’t do on these protected lands – despite the fact that the areas are right on the border.
Agents are allowed to drive along already established dirt roads primarily running parallel to the Rio Grande River, but they can’t create new roads through grassy areas or go “off-road.” As a result, agents check the dirt roads for foot prints. If they do find signs that someone or a group has crossed, they have two choices: They can either get out and follow on foot, or they can drive to another road to see if that group is already past that point.
As you can imagine, those crossing illegally have figured out how to use the agents’ restrictions to their advantage. Border agents are forced to “follow the dirt road” while illegal aliens and drug smugglers pursue whatever path gets them where they want to go.
Aside from road problems, border patrol agents and other law enforcement officials have trouble gaining access to the protected lands. When I traveled to visit the Texas-Mexico border last month, border officials told me that it is often private ranchers and landowners with property adjacent to these refuge areas who work closely with them to give them access, not the federal government. Perhaps that’s because they have seen firsthand the dangers presented when armed drug and human smugglers are crossing private property.
July 28, 2014
The BLM, in concert with other agencies such as the National Park Service and Forest Service, plans to shut off roughly 1/10 of open American lands to human activity.
An internal document published by Department of the Interior titled “Treasured Landscapes”, was not meant to be released for public consumption. The House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, however, obtained and published the 2009 draft in an effort to create public awareness of the shocking plan within the BLM and other government agencies to confiscate hundreds of millions of acres across the country through the creation of national monuments, national parks, wilderness areas and other protected zones.
The Introduction of this “discussion paper” details a 21st Century plan to “finalize appropriate conservation designations” of areas in the United States equivalent to the size of Wyoming and Colorado combined, overcoming “jurisdictional boundaries” (read state and private property rights) to create “a modern landscape-level management system…” In other words, the BLM, in concert with other agencies such as the National Park Service and Forest Service, plans to shut off roughly 1/10 of open American lands to human activity.
The “Treasured Landscapes” plan is being implemented by the current administration, as seen in a number of “Presidential declarations” which have, by executive order, created several new national monuments and protected areas without public comment or Congressional action. It gets worse. Read the entire text of the internal document here:
Friends of the Colorado National Monument has fought to keep a local treasure, a fixture of our daily lives, from undergoing a bureaucratic metamorphosis into a restrictive and risky national park. As plans of federal government agencies are revealed, it becomes clear that they view human beings as a problem to be solved, and not as citizens to be served. Please read and share this chilling document with everyone you know.
Posted with permission from Friends of the Colorado National Monument by Reagangirl.com 7/28/14
July 27, 2014
Mark Udall is married, in every sense, to the extreme environmental Left. His rejection of the Keystone XL project, which would increase America’s energy independence and bring thousands of jobs to states across the country, is indicative of how far he is willing to go to please extremist special interests, and at the same time, keep the peace at home.
Senator Mark Udall (D) Colorado, is known for his alliances with extreme environmental groups and his “I hate fossil fuel” policies, which often puts him at odds with Colorado’s businesses, local interests, and the national economy:
- Despite a recent study showing that fracking bans in the state of Colorado would have devastating effects on the state and local economies, Mark Udall refuses to disavow fracking ban initiatives.
- He voted against a non-binding resolution in 2013 supporting completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, despite polling which shows a large majority of Coloradans support it.
- Udall’s loyalties come into question recently when billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer vowed to “back” lawmakers who continue to oppose the KeystoneXL pipeline.
- A proponent of “green” alternative energy, Udall has a record of pushing “climate change” legislation, and saying those in Colorado who have doubts about the science behind so-called manmade global warming have “their heads in the sand.”
- In 2004 Senator Udall himself received a 100% legislative rating from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), which is heavily involved in activities that increase Federal Government control over areas in and around national parks and promote their long-term goals of shutting off millions of acres to human activity and development.
One of the reasons Cory Gardner, the United States Congressman from Yuma, Colorado, is such a threat to Udall’s tenure in the Senate, is that Udall has a narrow, ideological focus on environmental issues, ignores the will of the people of his state and the country, and has voted with Obama nearly 100% of the time. Knowing what we know about Udall is unpleasant enough–but many people don’t know that he is married to Maggie Fox-Udall, an environmental lawyer and activist.
Maggie Fox-Udall has been the good wife to candidate Udall. While most political wives are seen in public supporting their men, acting the supporting role of help meet and honey, Maggie Fox-Udall, whose hubby is in a celebrity death match with Gardner, has been strangely silent–inexplicably invisible. Perhaps this is why:
- Maggie Fox-Udall is currently serving as President and CEO of the “Climate Reality Project”. The Climate Reality Project is “a non-profit organization leading a campaign to help citizens around the world discover the truth about the climate crisis and bring about global change.” In a “getboulder.com” magazine interview, Mrs. Udall compares educating “climate change” skeptics that the phenomenon is a reality with that of educating the people of South Africa that Apartheid was wrong.
- Maggie Fox is the past National President of “America Votes,” which “has built a permanent advocacy and campaign infrastructure that provides coordination, data and targeting services to progressive organizations; pursues electoral reforms that expand voting rights across the country; and advances progressive policies through state and local ballot initiatives. America Votes’ strong progressive infrastructure will support our coalition partners’ advocacy efforts and facilitate the coordination of voter outreach.”
- Maggie Fox is also a former Deputy Director of The Sierra Club, whose Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) advocates…
- Fracking bans
- Banning oil and gas extraction and waste disposal
- Political activities that drive energy development out of the State of Colorado
- Supports state and federal legislation increasing government control and decreasing local control over land and water rights, and threatening private property rights
- An ardent Leftist, Maggie Fox campaigned for Obama in 2008. In this clip she stumps for Joe Biden and introduces him with a plug for “a green energy revolution.”
The Maggie Fox-Udall resume’ is rife with examples of extremist leanings. But it should come as no surprise. Udall is known first as an environmentalist and obstructionist of western energy projects. He has tried for nearly 3 years to push national park status for the Colorado National Monument onto the folks of Western Colorado, a large majority of whom don’t want the change. But like all ideologues, Udall and Fox are relentless.
To hardcore Leftists like the Udalls, science takes a back seat to purpose. The ends justify any means, no matter how destructive. Public opinion is a hurdle to be overcome. And truth is what they want it to be.
Colorado is sick of bad science, destructive Democrat policies, and tin-eared politicians who, instead of We the People, serve their own agendas and extreme special interest groups. Mark Udall is quite literally married to the extreme environmental Left.
by Marjorie Haun 7/27/14
July 26, 2014
Our churches are in trouble when they adopt this perverse double-standard. This is not the Christ-like charity of the good Samaritan. This is the self-flagellation of a guilt-ridden people, hell-bent on self-destruction.
Illegal aliens, by way of their illegality, consign themselves to lives outside the true American culture. They will join other illegals in communities where anchor immigrants have mastered the gaming of our permissive social welfare system. They come not to produce, but to take, always seeking more substance from the earners for their support, and more absolution from civil and moral authorities for their crimes.
American churches of all denominations, especially those churches which openly offer sanctuary to criminal aliens, but those as well whose charitable works benefit communities where illegals dwell, have done this. Catholic churches in California, Texas, Colorado and other states, as well as Baptists and other denominations, have been taking money from the federal government in preparation for the current tsunami of illegals now pouring in through the southern border. In the name of charity, the separation of church and state, a concept which protects religious bodies from the constraints and interference from the government, has dissolved into bribery.
Churches often rationalize that illegals are simply good people escaping oppression in their own countries, and that it’s understandable when they break our laws in a quest for opportunity. This is where churches let the camel into the tent by turning from moral principles and supplanting them with sentiment and expediency.
Church advocates of illegals assert that poor immigrant “seeking a better life” is by nature virtuous and has the right to take what others earn because that’s the policy Jesus would enact. But is this attitude a moral attitude? The answer of course is no, but it goes even deeper.
People of faith who are law-abiding citizens and who contribute and tithe to their churches subsidize illegals who live opposition to the doctrines to which they try faithfully to conform. With their contributions they are asked to suborn their moral virtues to the vices of an entire class of people whose behavior and identity is that of criminals.
People of faith are made to feel guilty if they take umbrage at their church’s extension of charitable effort to communities where criminal aliens are harbored. People who live lawfully may feel pressured into supporting and sustaining people who break they laws they abide and who enjoy a parasitic attachment to a system which is already supported by the taxes they pay.
If some people can break the law while others will be condemned for doing so, where are the moral absolutes, and where is the moral authority of any body that teaches such a thing?
Our churches are in trouble when they adopt this perverse double-standard. This is not the Christ-like charity of the good Samaritan. This is the self-flagellation of a guilt-ridden people, hell-bent on self-destruction.
Many people of faith have been deceived by the acts within their own churches which throw moral absolutism out the door in favor of political correctness. Churches lose their moral authority when they harbor, and pressure their members to play surrogates to, a generation of lawless aliens. These illegals are not pilgrims but are parasites who have come to take advantage of our generosity, burdening our schools, filling our prisons, and plundering state and federal social services, often amassing incomes far above those of the lawful, working American. This is a perversion of faith. This is an abdication of moral authority.
By Marjorie Haun 7/26/14
July 25, 2014
This article is posted with the permission of Derrick Wilburn, founder of American Conservatives of Color.
Women have discovered they can use a request for an Order of Protection against their husband as “the gamesmanship of divorce” (in the words of the Illinois Bar Journal) in order to get sole child custody plus generous so-called child support. It’s easy to get such Orders without any evidence of abuse or even a threat, without notice to the husband, and with no danger of prosecution for perjury. Federal and state laws and subsidies that undermine marriage are the biggest fiscal as well as cultural issue of our times.
by Derrick Wilburn © 2014, All Rights Reserved
To become a partner of American Conservatives of Color, please click HERE.
Peter Brookes is the National Security Affairs Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.
The Testimony of
Dr. Peter Brookes
The Homeland Security Committee
Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence
U.S. House of Representatives
July 24, 2014
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for this opportunity to share my views on the subject of today’s hearing. I want to commend you, the Committee, and your staff for highlighting this issue in this public setting. In my view, it comes none too soon.
Before I begin my testimony, let me say that the views I express today are my own and should not be construed as representing the official position of any of the organizations with which I am associated.
Quite simply, it is my view that Islamist militancy is on the march. Second, I believe we are facing increasing threats to the homeland as a result. And third, I have concerns about current U.S. policy for dealing with it.
Let me briefly expand on these points.
Islamist militancy is on the move.
I never would have thought that nearly 13 years after the 9/11 tragedy that we would still being dealing with the threat of Islamist terrorism, especially that associated with al Qaeda, at such an elevated level.
The al Qaeda threat, whether by groups that have a direct association with al Qaeda’s core, exist as an off-shoot, or merely embrace its ideology, has proliferated significantly in recent years in my judgment.
The increasing diversity and the intensity of the Islamist terrorist threat, in my mind, means we have to defend against a growing number of different threat vectors, making it more difficult for our intelligence, law enforcement, and military efforts to succeed, whether at home or overseas.
We are all painfully aware of the rise of violent extremists across the globe. Indeed, the State Department reports that terrorist attacks were up more than 40 percent last year.
Syria is a good example, and should be of significant concern, considering the estimated number of violent jihadists that have gathered there to oppose the Bashar Assad regime.
As the Committee knows, an estimated 7,000-12,000 foreign fighters from some 70-80 countries have reportedly gathered in Syria, perhaps constituting what experts believe is the largest contingent of violent extremists in any one place at any one time, including in pre-9/11 Afghanistan.
Iraq is also deeply afflicted with terrorism, especially the resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq off-shoots, which seemed to have been almost extinguished by the end of the U.S. surge in Iraq. Last year, Iraq suffered some 5,000- 9,000 casualties as a result of terrorist and sectarian violence, according to various sources.
Of course, perhaps, the most troubling development is the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) which has set about capturing—and perhaps holding—a swath of significant territory that spans both Iraq and Syria.
Within this territory, ISIS has declared a caliphate, which not only threatens the regimes in Baghdad and Damascus, but which may prove over time to be a safe haven for terrorist planning, training, and operations beyond Iraq and Syria.
This newest caliphate is likely to resonate with Islamists on a number of levels around the globe. The allure of a new Islamist state may lead to more recruits, funding, and alliances. Moreover, ISIS’ early success may encourage others to undertake the same thing elsewhere.
Indeed, even prior to the establishment of the “Islamic State,” there were reports of the development of camps for not only training fighters for opposing the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, but for training foreign fighters to return to their native lands, especially Europe and the United States, to undertake terror attacks there.
Of course, the problem is not limited to Iraq and Syria.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is resident in Yemen, may be the most dangerous al Qaeda affiliate today. It has held territory in Southern Yemen and its bomb-making prowess is well-known based on a number of spectacular plots by its innovative explosives expert, Ibrahim al Asiri.
In South Asia, Taliban and Haqqani Network violence is up in Afghanistan as the number of U.S. and foreign forces draws down, according to news outlets. These terror groups have historically found safe haven in neighboring Pakistan, which has severely impacted U.S. and Coalition counterinsurgency and terror operations in Afghanistan.
In Africa, terrorists and violent extremists are thriving as well. In Libya, the situation remains chaotic three years after the U.S.-NATO operation led to the demise of Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi. Libyan militias, including al Qaeda associated groups like Ansar al Sharia, continue to threaten any semblance of stability.
Of course, Libya was the location of the deadly September 11, 2012 attack on our diplomatic facilities in Benghazi.
Algeria is afflicted by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM); it has been linked to recent plots in France on the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and a nuclear power plant, according to news accounts.
AQIM is also active in nearby Mali, where violence is on the up-swing after a French intervention slowed the terror group’s advance. Moreover, press reports indicate that al Qaeda linked militants in Mali may be working with Nigeria’s Boko Haram, a terror group causing increasing alarm.
News accounts indicate that fighting with Boko Haram Islamist militants in Nigeria has resulted in the death of some 2,000 people this year, the tragic kidnapping of hundreds of school girls aside. It also reportedly operates in Cameroon and Niger.
Across the continent in Somalia and Kenya, al Shabab—noted for its brazen Westgate Mall attack in 2013—is gaining ground. The terror group also seems to be a significant draw for prospective militants from the United States, according to some research.
Indeed, some analysts believed that al Shabab may have drawn or recruited more Americans than any other terror group, but it has now likely been outpaced by a surge to Syria and Iraq. Moreover, some assert al Shabab is cooperating and coordinating with Boko Haram, further expanding the terror network on the continent.
In general, lawless, ungoverned, and or chaotic places remain a significant counterterrorism problem.
Increasing threats to the homeland
What does this militant Islamist movement mean? In my opinion, it signifies that we are facing an increasing threat not only to U.S. interests overseas, but to the homeland.
I do not have to tell the Committee about the reports of nearly a hundred Americans and as many as 3,000 Europeans that have traveled to Syria—and perhaps now Iraq—to fight in the Syrian (and perhaps now Iraqi) civil war(s).
We must assume that based on open-source reporting that some of these Americans and Europeans will be recruited and trained in the terrorist dark arts while in Iraq and Syria with the intention of returning to their native countries to commit terror, if reports are accurate.
Recent violence and plots in places like Britain, Belgium, and Spain that are related to Syria means that the threat is not a prospective one, but one that is here and now.
Specifically, the recent reports of a possible terror plot involving explosive cell phones and or electronic devices that might be targeting US-bound airliners out of Europe is of great concern—and may arguably represent the most imminent terror threat to the U.S. homeland today.
Even more troubling are the reports that this plot involved a synergistic effort between al Qaeda operatives in Syria/Iraq and AQAP bomb-makers. This sort of transnational terrorist teamwork is very disconcerting.
But we should not be surprised.
Al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, has long valued zealous religious converts, recruiting operatives in place, including via the Internet, and travelers with passports that may be in or enter a target country with limited scrutiny to perform terrorist acts.
While not all of these al Qaeda groups are directly targeting the U.S. homeland currently, we should not embrace the notion that this view will not change in the future; their objectives will not necessarily remain local or regional.
In my view, these terror groups, whose goals may seem local or regional at this time, may have fundamental needs that might need to be satisfied first (e.g., holding territory for planning, training and operating; securing funding; and finding recruits) before looking at expanding their operations afield such as toward the United States.
Furthermore, from a strategic perspective, these terror groups may not want to encourage or give reason for opposition from the United States at this time.
The point here being is that we should not assume that any seemingly overseas al Qaeda threat will stay that way and not evolve into a direct threat to the U.S. homeland. Indeed, intent can change quickly and may not be discovered by intelligence before it is too late.
While each terror group in unique, hostility toward the United States is a common characteristic, in my opinion.
U.S. Policy Concerns
While I understand and appreciate the hard work being done by intelligence, law enforcement, the military and others in battling violent extremists and protecting the American homeland, I have concerns about current U.S. policy.
First, the rhetoric used by the Obama administration has been misleading, in my view. Over time, the White House, including the President, has characterized al Qaeda as “on the run,” “on its heels,” and “decimated,” and so forth.
Suggesting such, especially as concerns al Qaeda writ large, is unfortunately disingenuous. While the White House occasionally specified that it was referring to “al Qaeda core” (essentially the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan) when it spoke of the terror group’s supposedly diminished status, that was not always the case.
Indeed, I would suggest that the White House was attempting to create a narrative on its handling of national security, specifically al Qaeda, that was arguably overly optimistic. Worse, it may have given the American public—and others—the impression that al Qaeda was in its last throes.
The take down of Osama bin Laden supported that narrative.
The problem is that, yes, Osama bin Laden was dead, but al Qaeda was still very much alive. I do not believe that this reality was conveyed accurately or adequately to the American people by the administration when it should have been part of our national security dialogue and debate.
I believe that the early, public Benghazi attack assessments, such as references to a provocative video, were also driven by the White House’s chosen, perhaps politically-driven, national security narrative.
Second, I am also troubled by other national security decisions. For instance, I believe the decision to withdraw from Iraq without the provision of follow-on forces directly contributed to, along with other factors, the dire situation that exists there today.
In addition, I believe that the security vacuum that will be left by the draw-down of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in the coming years, which could result in a total withdrawal, could be filled by al Qaeda affiliated groups over time as happened in Iraq.
Third, from a practical standpoint, I believe that a reluctance to influence or follow through on events in the Middle East/North Africa such as Libya and the Arab Spring, especially the events in Syria, has not served our national interests well.
Indeed, while a direct cause and effect is difficult to prove, I would suggest that a case could be made which claims that the failure of U.S. policies in Iraq and Syria had a hand in the success of ISIS today which now stands as a significant national security threat.
Fourth, I am concerned that much of the world sees the United States in absolute—or at least relative—decline. I also believe that perceptions of American inattention, disinterest, or weakness in world affairs will drive policies and actions directed toward us, including provocations from militant Islamist extremists.
Fifth, I am also worried that U.S. counterterrorism policy is meant more to contain than eliminate al Qaeda threats. In other words, we are containing threats in places like Syria/Iraq or Yemen, but not acting vigorously enough, or at all, to eliminate them.
Relying too heavily on the political will of foreign governments and the capabilities of other nations’ counterterror forces or militaries to battle terror groups may be a losing, indeed dangerous, strategy whether it is Iraq, Afghanistan, or Yemen.
Specifically, I believe that we are facing increasing threats to our interests overseas and to the homeland as a result of our failure to develop effective counterterror policies, which have provided space for terrorists to plan, train, and operate.
I would assert that parts of the world are aflame with Islamist militancy—and that we are in the crosshairs. Wishing away the terrorist threat we face at home or abroad will not make it disappear. Indeed, worse, we are at risk of creating complacency at home and abroad about this growing threat.
Complacency about such a challenge can be a killer. We have already weathered some 60 terrorist plots and or attacks since 9/11, according to Heritage Foundation data. This is clearly no time for contentment with the status quo.
The concern is that some believe we are in a post-Osama bin Laden era. That is factually correct, but we are not in a post-terrorism or post-al Qaeda period in my judgment. Osama bin Laden’s and al Qaeda’s inspirational Islamist ideology of political violence lives on in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
Letting our guard down to this growing Islamist extremist reality would be a huge mistake—and a major threat to our security and interests both at home and abroad.
Dr. Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow. He is also a Commissioner with the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Prior to his work at The Heritage Foundation, he served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, a professional staff member with the House International Relations Committee, the CIA, the State Department and in the U.S. Navy. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Defense Language Institute, the Naval War College, the Johns Hopkins University, and Georgetown University.
Posted by Reagangirl.com 7/24/14
July 24, 2014
Environmentalism, animal rights, and abortion are partnered in a legislative and cultural campaign to negate the value of the human individual.
Young Colorado women can be founding hiking, running, climbing, boating, and pursuing all manner of thrilling recreational activities with their companions of choice–dogs. It has long struck me that, in the Mountain West, you will more readily find a woman between the ages of 20 and 35 passing the time in the company a dog than that of a man.
A Weekly Standard website article posted on February 1, makes it clear that dogs are displacing men not just in Colorado, but across all geographical regions and social demographics. This may bode well for the pet industry as well as the lovable pooches themselves who are lavished with such attention and loyalty, but for the American family, it portends extinction.
The article by Daniel Halper, titled Animal Planet: Pets Outnumber Children 4 to 1 in America, cites a new book by Jonathan V. Last which tackles the demographic disaster of plummeting birth rates in the West, of which the explosion in pet ownership, and the pet care industry itself, are symptoms. What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster will be formally released next week. According to Halper’s article, Jonathan Last comes to the inescapable conclusion that “[E]ducated, middle-class people have all but stopped having babies. Pets have become fuzzy, low-maintenance replacements for children.” I’ve suspected for decades that when, back in the 1970′s, in the wake of bra burning and the legalization of abortion, American women embraced playing frisbee with Fido and bonding with Buddy over men and marriage, that humanity was in a buttload of trouble.
I have a few theories of my own to add to Jonathan Last’s ruminations on the denouement of modern civilization. First; human beings are natural care-givers. They’re compassionate, and the expression of love through acts of kindness and service to a being which is incapable of fully caring for itself is edifying for most people. It’s literally what we live for. Anti-human movements have taken the forms of “population hysteria,” as exemplified in Paul Ehrlich’s dismally errant book, “The Population Bomb,” environmental fear-mongering and assertions that humans are destroying the planet, as exemplified in Rachel Carson’s equally inaccurate book, “Silent Spring,” and finally the war on children, exemplified by the SCOTUS ruling on Roe vs Wade in 1973 that legalized abortion-on-demand. These movements have always pursued one goal, and that is to vitiate human supremacy over the creatures of the earth.
Anti-human doctrines catechize the idea that people are nothing more than organisms with destructive potential, and they must be stopped and ultimately punished for their sins against the natural world. Environmentalism and abortion are partnered in a legislative and cultural campaign to negate the value of the human individual. These movements, however, don’t necessarily extinguish the compassionate impulses of people. We love to love, and to be loved. With the worth of marriage, families, and children being diminished for decades, society scolds its members–especially women–for having ‘too many’ children, or for fostering the traditional roles through which our loving impulses naturally find satisfaction. As a result, we have turned to pets as an outlet for our love. As the importance of families and relationships shrivels, human compassion is misplaced in the comfort, nurturing, companionship, and rights movements, of dumb animals. Humans have a righteous responsibility to treat living creatures humanely, but this form of misplaced compassion, where unborn humans are slaughtered as a matter of convenience, and men and women of child bearing age are opting out of parenthood completely, is neither righteous nor humane when it comes to our own species. Modern society is filling the void where large families and traditional marriage once stood with dogs, cats, and other ‘fur babies.’
The second in my litany of personal theories, addresses changing expectations and values regarding commitment in modern relationships. Pets are not just replacing babies, they’re replacing potential spouses. When divorce laws were changed and any party could divorce the other without grounds, other than the nebulous ‘irreconcilable differences,’ the rigors of ‘ for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part’ were regarded as unreasonable lengths to which one must go to preserve a dispensable relationship. Why have a high-maintenance man at the cost of your personal freedom when you can have the companionship and comfort of man’s best friend? Love between humans is not conditional. It must be earned through the diligence of both marital partners. Forming lasting relationships requires sacrifice and striving. Pets provide many of the same psychological rewards without the emotional risks or effort.
As marriage is devalued, so too is the importance of robust populations of children. It is considered heroic and selfless among people on the Left to abandon parenthood proclaiming that “it would be cruel to bring children into the world when the planet itself is imperiled and life is so hard.” But it’s not just Liberals who are opting to raise critters instead of kiddies.
Virtually all demographic groups are slowly whittling down their rates of birth. Liberals are, however, nearing zero population growth more quickly than Conservatives, Christians, and other religious groups. This not an indictment on pets in the homes of Americans, or the ambitions of entrepreneurs in the pet industry who build upon this infatuation with furry replacement babies. But serious reflection upon our priorities and regard for children is due. Animals as pets and helpers are as natural to humanity as the flora in our gut. But when the rigors and rewards of parenthood take a back seat to a fascination with animals, we can be sure that we have lost our sense of mission as human beings whose progenitors were sent into the world to multiply and replenish the earth.
by Marjorie Haun 7/24/14
July 23, 2014
Thou shalt slander thine opponent if it be profitable unto thee. Thou shalt lie, fabricate, concoct, and pull out of thy butt all manner of false witnesses against those who oppose thy words, or point out that thou art in error.
Good Little Liberals’ 10 Commandments–and then some.
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before big government.
2. Thou shalt not supplant thy god, big government, with unholy written documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Scriptural Word of That Guy. Thou shalt love, protect, and vote for thy Democrat candidates with all thy heart, might, mind and soul even when they are scoundrels, sex perverts, thieves, liars, phonies, Marxists, or just hideously nasty.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of thy Dear Leader, Barack Hussein Barry Soetero Obama Yo Mama, in vain, or in any way that might hurt his feelings.
4. Remember the Gay Pride Day, Black Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Month, Ramadan, and Thank a Union Leader Day, to keep them holy. But on the first day of the week, which is the Christian Sabbath, thou shalt eschew traditional worship, and in its stead, smoke weed in the park with much gladness in thine heart.
5. Honor thy mother, but not thine paternalistic, abusive, oppressive, male chauvinist pig father, for he is a plague upon the land, and for his donor seed shalt thou honor him only.
6. Thou shalt not kill violent criminals, terrorists, child rapists, or murderers. Thou shalt not kill animals for food, even the beasts of cloven hooves, or the chickens or anything like unto the dumb creatures of the barn. But the unborn child of thy womb shalt thou kill if it bring a vexation of inconvenience or embarrassment upon thine house. Thou shalt kill thine infant inasmuch as his image or aspect is displeasing unto to thee. Thou shalt kill the aged and infirm inasmuch as they cannot produce nor add to the riches of thine house.
7. Thou shalt commit adultery, fornication, sodomy, bestiality, pederasty, and all manner of sexual perversity which bringest pleasure unto thee, inasmuch as thou doest not marry in the manner of Father Adam and Mother Eve wherein one man and one woman are united in holy matrimony. Thou shalt teach thy child to fornicate, pleasure himself, and make his bed with that of the same junk. Modesty and chastity shalt thou eschew, mocking those who partake in the communion of boring fidelity and out-dated nuclear family, and calling them “homophobic, antiquated ninny heads.”
8. Thou shalt steal from those whose riches are greater than thine. Thou shalt call upon thine government to rob from the men whose hands produce wealth, that their wealth may bless thine own house. Thou shalt shalt rob from all men through the taxation of the government, that thou shalt succor those whose eschew work, who hate the labor of the field, who will feed upon the riches of another, that their days may be long, leisurely, that they may become obsequious Democrat voters.
9. Thou shalt bear false witness against thy neighbor inasmuch as it be profitable unto thee. Thou shalt slander thine opponent if it be profitable unto thee. Thou shalt lie, fabricate, concoct, and pull out of thy butt all manner of false witnesses against those who oppose thy words, or point out that thou art in error. With thy words thou shalt savagely attack Sara Palin, the Tea Party, and any living thing that thou regardest as a threat unto thy power. Above all else, thou shalt slander That Guy, to say Jesus Christ invented Socialism.
10. Thou shalt covet thy neighbor’s wife to fornicate with her, thy neighbor’s son to molest him, thy neighbor’s property to redistribute it by the sword of the government. Thou shalt covet the wealth of the wealthy, the beauty of the beautiful, and the brains of the smart, insasmuch as thou would take the wealth, mock the beauty, and beat out the brains of thine enemies. Thou shalt encode covetousness into law in the form of a progressive income tax. Thou shalt despise those whose riches thou covetest, heretofore making them thine enemies.
Liberal Addendum: The New Commandments
11. Thou shalt love the planet with all thy heart, might, mind and soul. Thou shalt regard man as a plague upon the world, to be destroyed.
12. Thou shalt hate all vehicles with an internal combustion engine. But thou shalt drive what ever the hell thou seest as good, for thou art above reproach.
13. Thou shalt not use plastic grocery bags, and those who do, thou shalt make thine enemies, scorning them to shame.
14. Thou shalt be politically correct, wherein if thine enemy utterest words of condemnation thou shalt destroy him. But thou shalt speak evil, swear, use potty mouth, mock, deride, insult, undercut, and verbally bludgeon thine enemies with all manner of vulgar speaking.
15. Thou shalt not pledge thine allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, as thine enemies. Thou shalt pick thy nose, finger thy butt, shift upon thy feet, or make ugly faces in the stead.
by Marjorie Haun 7/23/14