Thursday, February 4, 2016

Why does the UN want to block anti-terror efforts?

As reported by C-Fam, 'something truly strange is being proposed at the UN. In the name of humanitarianism, UN staff want to convince the US and European governments to bypass laws aimed at stopping the financing of global terrorism so that donations could flow faster and easier to humanitarian emergencies. 


This is part of a “grand bargain” being proposed by UN staff where governments would take away barriers to humanitarian aid and the UN would promise greater transparency and accountability.
“We recognize that the anti-money laundering, counter-terror financing legislations can create some obstacles to the transfer of funds. It is important to seek ways to reduce these barriers so that humanitarian aid workers are able to deliver aid in some of the most volatile and crisis-affected parts of the world,” a panel of experts and UN staff announced last week.
The barriers governments use to hobble terror financing include earmarking funds, limiting the sums that can be transferred, and tracking them to ensure lawful use. UN staff view these as barriers since they limit and slow down transfers to crisis spots. Money earmarked for one purpose such as fighting a disease can’t be used for an emergent need such as shelter or food.
In their report launching the “grand bargain,” UN staff acknowledged that only two of the four UN agencies that transfer the bulk of all humanitarian aid track funds to their destination. Most of those funds are going to Syria, the occupied Palestinian territories, Sudan and South Sudan according to the report.
Initiatives taken this week by the European Union and Germany provide examples of the types of anti-terror limitations that rankle UN staff. Germany said it plans to limit the amount of cash transfers to around $5000. The EU announced a plan that included limiting the use of pre-paid cards and large bank notes.
UN staff also want to tap into the informal contributions that all Muslims are asked to make. Estimated at $560 billion a year, “Just one percent of zakat [alms] would make an enormous difference to the scale of the global funding deficit for the year 2015,” according to the report.
But, those funds were at the heart of an elaborate drug trafficking and money laundering ring used to fund terrorism in Syria by Hezbollah that US and EU officials just broke this week. According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Hezbollah used the informal Islamic money transfer system to make payments to South American drug cartels, which in turn financed terrorists.
While anti-terrorism financing plans have taken years to put into place, UN staff want nations to agree to the new humanitarian financing plan, released last week, by May 24 at a meeting in Istanbul.
Last week four of the five top donors to global humanitarian efforts raised concerns at a briefing with UN staff, questioning that any consensus could be reached in such a short time, especially since the UN staff is not allowing any intergovernmental consultation before May.
Japan went farthest, rejecting the “grand bargain” and saying it would have to study it further.'
At a time when terrorism is on the rise, should we really be entertaining anything that could hamper our fight against it - and at the very least, shouldn't we allow more time to look at the proposal more closely? Something doesn't seem right here, to say the least.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fluff piece - I don't get windchimes

Hi Everyone - I hope you are having a great day so far. This isn't really an official "blog post" - am just venting about nothing important whatsoever. I am merely perplexed by something. I've been traveling the past few weeks and am currently working from a wonderful home in Florida. It's an airy, sunny, beautiful house situated on a golf course and overlooking a lovely large pond - and is certainly a nice change of scenery from my last stop in cold, snowy New York.

Today is warm, partly cloudy and just wonderful. I am sitting out on the back screened-in porch (the lanai) looking out at the golfers across the pond. I have the windows open, enjoying the sunshine, warmth and the sound of birds. Then - when what would otherwise have been a delightful breeze comes rustling through - clang, clang, clang! The neighbors' metal windchimes go berserk!

I don't understand windchimes. How is clashing metal sticks somehow considered relaxing?

To each his own, I guess -- I just wish I didn't have to listen to it. But if this is the "worst" thing that happens today, believe me, I know how blessed I am. For now, I suppose I'll just go back inside. I cannot concentrate with the heavy metal concert going on just outside the window now that the wind has really picked up. But at least I can still see the beautiful view from inside:-)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Left's little darling: Planned Parenthood scores another one for evil

A Texas Grand Jury has ruled in favor of  Planned Parenthood and against the "lead investigator" of the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the videos exposing PP's selling of freshly deceased babies for profit. Predictably, leftist pro-abortionists cheered and then tauntingly jeered at pro-lifers as only the Left can do.

The CMP lead investigator, David Daleiden will now face charges for two counts: One for “tampering with a governmental record” (felony) and the other for "violation of the state’s prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs" (misdemeanor).

Aside from the fact that we officially live in a world where the slaughter and selling of innocent, helpless humans is excusable - but the exposing of such evil is not -- those who are so blindly cheering on Planned Parenthood over the Grand Jury decision should take pause. At the very least, they should ask what this means for the future of "citizen-journalism"? 


As pointed out by journalist Wes Walker, "Suppose this wasn’t a hidden-camera expose on the 'beloved' Planned Parenthood? What if it were an expose on corrupt Banking practices, or illegal mining practices? Something that would be swept under the rug unless it could be shown that the executives themselves were knowingly part of it. What approach besides this one could be used to expose them? And would such journalists — whose sole aim it was to expose these practices — be subject to prosecution for trying to prove they exist? Because that’s what happened here."

The other question is, where was the criminal intent on the part of David Daleiden? He was merely acting as a supposed fetal tissue buyer. He didn’t go through with any actual transaction. He just got Planned Parenthood officials to admit on camera that they themselves engaged in this heinous illegal activity. 


This all sounds like a classic case of personal politics to me. One of the prosecutors in the DA's office involved is purportedly a PP Board Member and PP probably knows Daleiden will never get convicted – but he will likely be bankrupted over this. 

David Daleiden has given his own response to the ruling and its implications. It’s well worth the read. Here is an excerpt:


Planned Parenthood cannot rebut the incriminating statements of its own leadership on these tapes, and so it has resorted to an awkward shuffle of blind denials and stagy distractions in their wake. The truth will continue to come out through the congressional probe, through the ongoing state investigations and through the frivolous lawsuit Planned Parenthood now brings in retaliation for its exposure. The accounting gimmicks I believe Planned Parenthood uses to hide its baby parts sales may pass unnoticed in 24-hour-news-cycle sound bites, but the quality-based specimen payments from fetal tissue vendors who already do all the work of collection and transport are impossible to defend under closer scrutiny. In order to avoid such scrutiny, Planned Parenthood has announced a dubious “policy change” to end these payments. After months of defending them as perfectly legal and appropriate, this seems like an admission of guilt.
Planned Parenthood falsely advertises itself as a vital, mainstream medical organization, when in reality it offers a limited set of basic reproductive health services, which act as a cover for a booming abortion business. This leviathan, subsidized by nearly $500 million taxpayer dollars each year, spends millions in lobbying and electioneering money to prop up its public image and funding streams. The polling data indicate that when the public knows that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country and receives taxpayer funding yet engages in one-sided electioneering and harvests baby parts, even its own supporters turn against it.

My guess is this is a gross misuse of the office and will be thrown out. The fact they indicted the investigator and not Planned Parenthood is the giveaway since, as stated earlier, there was no actual intent to deal in body parts by the investigator, whereas Planned Parenthood clearly demonstrated its actual involvement in dealing in body parts. Then again, Planned Parenthood receives more than a million dollars a day from taxpayers. It's the darling of anti-life liberals who will do anything to protect it. But I have faith that truth and justice will prevail - if not in our time, then surely in God's. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Demand for diversity at Oscars undermines minorities

The Academy Awards people are in a lot of hot water for not including any minorities in this year's nominations for the Oscars. 

Actor Will Smith told Robin Roberts in an interview this morning that he, along with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, would not be attending the Oscars next month because it would be "awkward" to attend in light of the row about the lack of minority representation among this year's acting nominees.

Smith added that this year's nominations suggested Hollywood was "going in the wrong direction."

Would Smith and all the other protesters prefer Hollywood go in the direction of choosing nominees based on the color of their skin, not their talent? 

The question I don't hear being posed is, where is the proof that the voting board failed to choose any minority nominees because of race? Could it be that they just didn't feel certain performances warranted a nomination because they weren't that good?

Granted, the nomination process is predominantly subjective. But again, there is no proof that racism was at play here. If anything, this is nothing more than a perfect example of a manufactured crisis.

But with all the Hollywood hoopla over this, you can bet that next year's voting board will be pressured to include minority nominees. And then what? Do we doubt the minority nominee's validity in being nominated and instead assume they're only there because they are black? Isn't skin color supposed to not matter? 

What then if the black nominee doesn't win the coveted statue? Will there be protests over that, and then the following year will the Academy be pressured to make sure the award goes to the black nominee? Won't that just turn the Oscars into the BET Awards - which is already a truly segregated ceremony that has little representation of white people?

To force affirmative action on the Oscars is to dilute the accomplishments of black performers because any awards a minority wins would now be seen as orchestrated, not earned -- and that would render all awards meaningless. The bottom line is, you can't force a nomination and then expect that nomination to really have any merit to it. Besides, how could a minority even feel good about being nominated under such orchestrated circumstances? What an insult, in fact.

It's a shame that political correctness has no boundaries and that Academy Award-protesters would rather a minority receive a trophy just for showing up than to earn it for being the best. 

Congratulations to the left: They just reduced the Oscars to a modern day version of Pee-wee League - and made skin color an issue it never should have been. 


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Obama's SOTU address: Support for the unborn and religion? Don't bet on it.

Tonight, President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address. Let's hope and pray that when a new president gives the address next year, the speech will contain rays of hope for the lives of unborn babies.

No such hope will come from Obama's speech tonight.

One of the most famous State of the Union addresses was given by Franklin Roosevelt in 1941. He spoke of several rights and freedoms that he said all people should enjoy. He spent a sentence or two explaining each, but they are often summarized as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

But sadly, today we are forgetting some of those freedoms.

Freedom of speech for pro-lifers is threatened constantly in the America of 2016. From college campuses, where pro-life speech is sometimes outright banned, to threats to change campaign finance laws to allow criminalization of certain pro-life speech, your right to speak freely is under assault.

Unborn babies have no voice but yours and mine. If our voices are quashed by oppressive laws or shouted down on campuses or elsewhere, the pro-abortion mainstream media will have a monopoly on all the news and views about abortion, and the plight of the unborn will never get the hearing it deserves.

Similarly, freedom of religion is under assault from all sides. The Obama Administration has adopted rules that erode the conscience rights of employers and schools regarding the services they cover in their health insurance plans, and create a precedent that could be used to force many plans to cover elective abortions.

Several organizations of faith have challenged these rules, but the Obama Administration continues to try to force them to participate in what they view as evil.

With these threats facing us, I found it ironic last week when I read a history site on the web that further shortened Roosevelt's freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear to this:

"Freedom from speech, religion, want and fear"

Now, I know that is a typo – the writer meaning to say "freedom of speech, religion, and from want and fear" – but the irony is too delicious, especially at this perilous time for freedom of speech and religion. I'm afraid that web site was unconsciously expressing something that is all too true in Obama's America.

It is so important that in the next 10 months, Americans understand that their freedoms are under such assault, and that those we elect are the kind of leaders committed to protecting our rights to speech, to religion, and to life itself.

From National Right to Life, Carol Tobias

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Killing the 2nd Amendment won't stop the killing

Yesterday President Obama applied his “pen and phone” approach to announce executive actions on gun control since he could not persuade Congress to enact new laws directly. Never mind the many, many gun laws already on the books that either aren’t enforced or are no deterrent to criminals determined to commit crime.

The president feels that asking Congress to provide funding for 200 new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents and 230 new FBI examiners and staff will suddenly do the trick in stopping gun violence.

As he shed crocodile tears in remembrance of Sandy Hook (though he never shed one for Americans beheaded by jihadists) Obama also called for increased government access to mental health care records (I warned about this in one of my recent print columns).

Obama said he will task the Social Security Administration to ensure that “appropriate records” are reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System pertaining not only to people who have been determined to be mentally ill or legally incompetent by a judge, but also to people “who have a documented mental health issue, receive disability benefits, and are unable to manage those benefits because of their mental impairment.”

This means that anyone prescribed anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication could now have “a documented health issue” that could exclude him outright from his 2nd Amendment rights. Even someone receiving Social Security benefits though a third-party representative could now be deemed “unable to manage those benefits” because of some “mental impairment”.

I don’t see any of these measures deterring gun violence. Instead I see this as a big deterrent for those seeking the care of a mental health practitioner. Under Obama’s reasoning, you now must make the choice of seeking care or possibly giving up your 2nd amendment rights.

The question is, would any of these "executive actions" have prevented even one of the mass shootings we have had in the US in the past eight years? No. How about enforcing some of the hundreds of laws on the books and start putting offenders away? That would be a great change for starters.

A plan to truly make America safer would be to announce an enforcement effort to round up the law breakers and put them away. It would send a message and take the lawbreakers off the streets, thus at least taking a step toward making it safer for all of us.

Instead, Obama is trying to use ineffective bureaucratic processes to solve a problem that cannot be solved by more regulations. Reducing crime needs to start with law enforcement. We have laws right now that would put felons, gang members and others who are in possession of firearms unlawfully in jail for five years. Why do we fail to enforce these laws?

The bureaucrats seem to think that making guns hard to buy or sell will reduce gun crime. No again. That will just make guns more expensive. Illegal drugs are expensive too. Drug users still obtain them. The costs of weapons will have no impact on crime other than to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to afford them as a measure of defense against crime. 

In fact, all the political "feel good" regulations and illegal executive orders in the world won’t change a thing, except take more guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, who then become sitting ducks to the criminals who will still have the guns. It can’t be stressed enough that the shooters in the most recent mass shootings consistently targeted “gun-free zones” over areas where citizens are free to “pack heat”. How many more times does a mass shooting in a gun-free zone have to happen before the light bulb comes on?

The other thing we need to start enforcing besides existing laws is family and cultural values. Some people hate to hear this, but the more we scoff at and reject morals, the more societal decay and violence we see. It’s been happening for decades now.

Maybe appealing to parents, schools and Hollywood to positively shape young minds would be more effective than further eroding the rights of decent citizens to protect themselves from evil-minded murderers.

Reason alone reveals that taking guns away from good people only subjects them to the dangers of bad people. At the very least, let’s apply some good old-fashioned common sense to the issue.

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 is here...are you ready?

Happy New Year, everyone!

2016 is upon us and I'm sure it promises to be as interesting as 2015 was, if not more so. Foremost, it's an election year. I'm bracing myself for it as best I can. I've enjoyed my time off and am trying to gear up for everything we're going to be hearing about regarding the election and other issues: The economy, immigration, foreign policy, national security, ISIS/radical Islam, "climate change", gun control, Black Lives Matter and, at least from Hillary Clinton's camp, I'm sure, a lot about the phantom war on women (actually, the only ones waging a war on women are those on the left - more on that at some other time).

What other issues do you think will be front and center in the coming year? Whatever happens, I hope we can all remember we're in it together in our efforts to achieve what's best for our country and each other.

Here's to 2016 - I wish you all the best in it!