Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to the horrific terrorist attack that killed at least 22 people and was aimed at young concertgoers in Manchester, England. They also discuss President Trump’s characterization of terrorists as “evil losers” and some of the social media reaction to the deadly blast. And they point out how difficult it is to stop an attack like this and why the instinct to turn every public gathering place into a fortress is not the right answer.
Archives for May 2017
The man who unsuccessfully challenged House Speaker Paul Ryan in a Republican primary last year is now releasing a documentary highlighting what he sees as a threat to the United States through a coordinated Muslim migration strategy.
Nehlen says hijrah can refer to multiple ideas, ranging from leaving sin behind to Mohammed’s journey from Mecca to Medina. However, he says Islamic texts clearly speak about strategic migration.
“Hijrah means ‘migration in the name of Allah,'” said Nehlen, who says the ultimate goal is to populate non-Muslim nations to the extent needed to impose Sharia law.
“The hijrah is one way of spreading the Sharia, spreading the law of Islam, this political doctrine, to land where Islam isn’t. That’s what this documentary covers. It talks about the bigger picture here of what we saw here . It stems directly from their fundamental texts,” said Nehlen.
He says hijrah is another method by which Muslims can earn their salvation.
“Quite unlike a Christian, who believes you can’t earn your way in and only by the grace of God are you granted access to heaven through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, Muslims believe they can earn their way in. They believe they have to earn their way in,” said Nehlen.
In addition to explaining hijrah in his documentary, Nehlen says he made the film to counter the conventional wisdom offered by the media.
“What is portrayed in the mainstream media is so far from the truth that what I learned prior to and during my campaign compelled me to make this documentary to expose it for what it is and really to point out the massive hypocrisy in our refugee resettlement mechanisms in this country,” said Nehlen.
Specifically, Nehlen takes aim at the nine voluntary agencies, or volags, that facilitate refugee resettlement in the U.S.
“[They] receive over a billion dollars to resettle people who are predominantly – almost exclusively – Muslims into this country,” he said.
And he says the financial research he’s done shows more refugees admitted to the U.S. mean a lot of money for the volags.
“I researched these nine volags and all of their top people – I researched five deep into their salaries – and they’re making six-figure salaries. In fact, the highest-paid individual is making over $650,000 a year,” said Nehlen.
“When you have a profit motive that large to bring people in and you’re making more money by bringing more people in, you can’t argue that this is a humanitarian-only issue. This is a profit-driven issue,” he added.
He also claims not all the volags are as they seem based on their names.
“You have groups that have very Christian-sounding names, but the reality is they are being co-opted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. They are working on behalf of the United Nations, which is clearly working at odds to the United States,” said Nehlen.
Nehlen says this concern over a de facto Muslim invasion is not just theoretical. He says the apprehension of a suspicious person photographing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge years ago ultimately led to a trove of unvarnished Muslim Brotherhood documents.
He read from one that directly references strategic migration.
“The process of settlement is a civilization jihadist process with all the word means. The Iquan, Arabic for Muslim Brotherhood, must understand that their work in America is kind of a grand jihad, eliminating and destroying the western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that is it eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions,” read Nehlen.
Nehlen is strongly urging Congress to pass HR 377, the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act.
“It will roll back 60 years of work the Muslim Brotherhood has done,” said Nehlen.
Defenders of refugee resettlement and general Muslim migration contend the vast majority of Muslims are looking for a peaceful opportunity to pursue physical and financial security for their families. However, Nehlen says polling shows more than 50 percent of Muslims in the U.S. want to see Sharia law trump the Constitution as the final legal authority in the U.S..
“We are seeing Islamist Muslims who are reading directly from their documents and doing what is prescribed in their documents. It is inarguable. You cannot argue that this religion is being perverted. It is not being perverted. It is being practiced in a fundamental way to spread Sharia around the world,” said Nehlen.
And he says giving ground at the margins is a sure-fire way to lose the fight.
“There is no reason that a country should give up its culture, its heroes, its holidays, its traditions in order to make way for a new culture, new traditions, new holidays, new heroes. That’s not what a nation state is all about. I for one will not stand by and watch it happen,” said Nehlen.
After offering an alternative explanation for why some graduates walked out of Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at Notre Dame, Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump’s speech imploring Middle East leaders to do their part to stamp out terrorists. They also grimace as polling shows either Democrat running for governor in Virginia winning the general election by double digits. And they wonder what the Secret Service was thinking when they gave the green light to the elaborate sword dance in Saudi Arabia involving President Trump and members of his cabinet.
President Trump is running out of time to make good on his promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement on climate policy obligations, and the delay is largely due to many different interests imploring him to back away from his campaign pledges.
As Trump embarks on an ambitious eight-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, the pressure is only growing on him to keep the U.S. committed to the Paris deal. However, Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner, who served on Trump’s transition landing team at the Environmental Protection Agency, says all Trump needs to do is make good on his word.
“We have to go back to the campaign and remember that a decision was made and it was to get out,” said Horner. “He gave reasons why. He said this would give others control over our energy use, how much we could use the things that are reliable and affordable, as well as the massive wealth transfer. He made the decision.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute released an advertisement last month urging Trump to stay true to those campaign promises.
What has changed? Horner says a lot of different interests are pushing him to accept the status quo.
“The brakes were put on it because different influences came into play. There were what I’ll call swamp considerations, which were not obviously considerations in the campaign. In fact, he ran against the swamp. Once he got here, those interests are considerable,” said Horner.
Horner says there is a long list of people and interests looking pressuring Trump to keep the U.S. in the agreement.
“(There are) tremendous business lobbies, tremendous resistance among (the government) holdovers. I could tell you blow by blow about a lot of these officials as well as some Trump appointees. But as you also know, some family members are feeling and exerting what we’ll call Manhattan social pressures to not have to defend keeping this promise,” said Horner.
Some businesses and industries are at the forefront of protesting climate-inspired restrictions, but Horner says much of big business is on board with the climate agenda for multiple reasons. He says a lot of big companies are eager for the federal subsidies that come with compliance with the Paris accords.
“The reason is simple. When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you’re guaranteed Paul’s enthusiastic support and sometimes it was Paul’s idea. So you’ve got this base of industry support, the ones who would benefit,” said Horner.
He says those same businesses also see more restrictive policies as an advantage against the competition.
“They love instituting policies that are barriers to entry to new participants or that smaller competitors can’t handle as well. Some businesses were publicly saying in news reports that, ‘We’ve planned for this so we need this to happen,'” said Horner.
Even among Trump’s top diplomats, there is deep division on the issue.
“The UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is reportedly very strong on this, even though, as I’ve said before, State will do what’s in the State Department’s interest and (withdrawing from the accords) makes Rex Tillerson’s life more difficult and not easier,” said Horner.
Horner also expects Trump’s time in Europe to be one long lobbying effort to keep the U.S. in the agreement.
“The Group of Seven, the leading economic nations who want – as a State Department cable that I found in litigation shows – they want us to share the pain, to relieve the burden of our competition of not having this agenda saddle our economy,” said Horner.
Published reports suggest multiple deadlines to make a decision on U.S. involvement in the accords have come and gone. He says that’s largely because Trump is trying to resist the tide aligned against his instincts.
“We’ve got it on pretty good authority what the president still thinks. He wants out and wonders aloud why he can’t just keep his promise. He’s surrounded by influencers saying, ‘You can’t do it for the following reasons.’ But some people are saying, ‘You have to (withdraw) for these reasons, the same reasons you said you would,” said Horner.
If Trump relents, Horner says President Obama’s promise that our electricity rates will “necessarily skyrocket” will come true and the cost of everything related to energy costs will also shoot up.
“The price will go up, leaving you with less disposable income and a less resilient lifestyle, less healthy because you’re less wealthy. There’ll be more hypothermia, more of seniors and the vulnerable dying from energy poverty. That’s what it’s going to mean for you,” said Horner.
Horner fears that if Trump was going to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement, he would have done so already. However, he is not giving up hope given Trump’s adamant campaign promises.
If Trump doesn’t make good on that vow, Horner says it will be a strong example of how difficult it is to reverse the tides in Washington.
“It means the swamp isn’t as easily defeated as a lot of people hoped,” said Horner. “This is really, so far, the ultimate test of his battle against the swamp.”
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner pleading guilty to sending obscene material to a minor and discuss how his character might have played a key role in the final days of the 2016 campaign. They also discuss the ugly beating of Kurdish protesters by the security for Turkish President Erdogan this week in Washington. And they scratch their heads over why Joe Lieberman is at the top of any list to lead the FBI.
One ransomware attack seems to be behind us but experts warn one or more could be right around the corner, making it more important than ever to protect your information and your wallet.
The WannaCry ransomware attack hit Europe and Asia hardest, with the perpetrators demanding victims pay up in order to get their own information back.
Cyber Scout Chairman and Founder Adam Levin says ransomware is a more modern version of hacking but is one where the criminals have even more leverage.
“Ransomware is basically malware. It gets on your computer and it encrypts the files. Then you have to pay a ransom in order to get those files decrypted,” said Levin, noting that paying the ransom usually does result in you getting your information back.
“Ransomware is the new black. Instead of having to break into a system, get your hands on the data, exfiltrate the data, put it on the black market, hope you can sell it for a certain amount of money depending upon what it is,” said Levin.
“With ransomware, it’s almost instant return. You basically lock up a computer, terrify the computer user and basically say, ‘It’s not longer about what your information is worth to someone else. It’s about how much is your information worth to you.’ Unless you have a backup system in place, you’re in a lot of trouble,” said Levin.
How does ransomware get in a position to take over your files?
“Ransomware can get on your computer in a variety of ways. One, which we’re seeing occur right now worldwide, has to do with a vulnerability in a Microsoft program. Generally, it involves expired but not supported Microsoft systems as well as pirated Microsoft software,” said Levin.
So far, Levin sees little impact on Apple customers, pointing out that they are very unlikely to install Microsoft programming.
However, neglecting to use updated software isn’t the only way ransomware can burrow into your system.
“Another way to get ransomware is if you click on a link or you download an attachment. It could put malware on your computer. All of a sudden there will be a skull on your screen with a tacking clock, counting back from let’s say 90 hours. If you don’t pay a certain amount in Bitcoin, either your files will be deleted or they will be encrypted forever,” said Levin.
Levin says the Bitcoin aspect of the attacks makes it very difficult to track down the perpetrators. Even worse, many of the hackers operate in nations where the governments are OK with that sort of extortion.
But even in the United States, the government is way behind in dealing with this threat.
“If the NSA had notified Microsoft when they found the vulnerability, as opposed to theoretically notifying Microsoft when they learned that hackers were going to release information about tools and vulnerabilities, then we might be better off than we are today,” said Levin.
“When you hear things like the Apple vs. FBI debate and you hear people in government saying, ‘We need a back door to encrypted systems,’ this is a perfect example that when government gets their hands on a back door it is highly unlikely that they will be able to properly protect it,” said Levin.
Levin says there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your chance of becoming a victim, starting with paying attention to and installing your software updates.
“Don’t think of these things as mosquitoes to be flicked away. There’s a reason why these updates are sent to you. Often times it’s because a vulnerability has been discovered. That vulnerability has been patched, and they’re trying to get you to make sure that what you have on your system is as up to date as possible so you can be best protected,” said Levin.
Levin says if Microsoft customers had installed their patches, they would not have been hit with the WannaCry ransomware. He also says Asia and Europe got hit hardest because people there are far more likely to use expired or pirated software.
Another key to avoid being stuck at the mercy of internet criminals is to back up your information.
“Make sure that the data on your network or the data on your device is backed up. But you can’t just back it up on your device or on your network. You literally have to back it up to an independent system that is not connected 24/7 to your network or your computer or your mobile device,” said Levin.
He says the independent system should only be connected to do the backup work and then disconnected or else that source can be compromised as well.
If you’ve already been targeted, Levin says you really don’t have many options.
“In general, if you get hit with ransomware, the bottom line is either you pay or those files could be encrypted forever or deleted,” said Levin.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to the news that the Justice Department named a special counsel to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign and the choice of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead it. They discuss reports that Michael Flynn told the Trump transition team that he was under federal investigation before becoming national security adviser but was hired anyway. They tear apart the idea from New York Times columnist Ross Douthat that Mike Pence and the Trump cabinet need to invoke the 25th amendment and begin removing Trump from office. And they note the passing and mixed legacy of media and politics titan Roger Ailes.
Democrats, media figures, and even some Republicans suggest President Trump’s alleged request for former FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation into fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn amounts to obstruction of justice, but a former federal prosecutor says what we know thus far does not rise to that level and is no different than Barack Obama’s efforts to exonerate Hillary Clinton.
Andrew C. McCarthy led the prosecution of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and others for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and plots to blow up other New York City landmarks. In his latest column for National Review, McCarthy says those purporting outrage now said virtually nothing when President Obama arguably took more egregious actions with respect to Clinton.
“In a few ways, the Obama situation with Hillary Clinton is worse than what we’ve heard about here. What Obama did was make a very public statement, which is obviously a statement to his subordinates as well as everyone else, that he didn’t want Mrs. Clinton prosecuted and didn’t think she should be prosecuted,” said McCarthy in an interview discussing his column.
“He articulated a legal theory for why she shouldn’t be prosecuted, this claim that she wasn’t trying to harm the United States and that her classified emails, while they exhibited carelessness on her part, were really a small part of a much larger overall picture and had been exaggerated out of proportion,” said McCarthy.
He says that same logic was used again a few months later.
“Lo and behold three months later, when Director Comey announced his view that Mrs. Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted, he adopted precisely the legal reasoning Obama had announced three months before,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy’s analysis follows the breathless reporting of an alleged Comey memo following a February 14 meeting with Trump at the White House. According to the memo, Trump cleared the room before engaging Comey on the Flynn investigation.
Trump reportedly told Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” M
McCarthy says that tidbit alone is a far cry from constituting obstruction of justice.
“I don’t think we’re close to being there yet because even though I am sure that then-Director Comey must have found the conversation with President Trump to be awkward and inappropriate, I don’t think there’s anything corrupt about it,” said McCarthy.
First of all, McCarthy says it’s hard to draw any sweeping conclusions from a few scraps of a conversation.
“The most important thing about obstruction of justice is context. We don’t really have context here. We have one statement that’s mined out of what must be a larger memo,” said McCarthy.
He says there needs to be concrete evidence of corruption to pursue obstruction of justice allegations.
“Corruption is the heart of obstruction of justice. The person has to act intentionally, knowing that what he’s doing is wrong, and intend to subvert the truth-seeking process,” said McCarthy.
Trump critics suggest the subsequent firing of Comey after the director refused to back off the Flynn case is evidence of obstruction. McCarthy says you need a lot more than that.
“I think the corruption that would be involved would be if you were to pressure the FBI to drop an investigation, rig that result and then use it to suggest the person had been exonerated when you knew that you had actually rigged the result and not allowed the FBI to do an investigation,” said McCarthy.
Furthermore, McCarthy says Comey’s actions over the subsequent three months shows he did not consider Trump’s comments as an attempt to obstruct justice.
“Obviously, Comey, who is a highly-decorated and highly-experienced former prosecutor and FBI director and who well knows what obstruction of justice is, he clearly didn’t feel like he’d been obstructed. If he had, I’m certain he would have resigned and then gone up and down the chain of command and perhaps to Congress to report why he was resigning,” said McCarthy.
“Instead, he ended the conversation. He did write the memo. The investigation of Flynn continues. In fact, we now here that there’s a grand jury in Virginia, so he must not have perceived that he’d been obstructed. Obviously they weren’t obstructed because they’re proceeding with the investigation,” said McCarthy.
For the same reason, McCarthy says the wringing of hands and panting for impeachment inside the beltway is greatly overblown.
“Democrats will say that Trump fired Flynn because of the Flynn investigation and because of the fact that it hadn’t been closed down and that he did it as a signal to the FBI and the Justice Department that he doesn’t want Flynn proceeded against. That’ll be their interpretation of it,” said McCarthy.
“The reason I think that’s a loser, even though I understand why they’re making the argument, is that the investigation is continuing,” said McCarthy.
“There’s a lot more to the relationship between the president and the FBI director than a single criminal case, even against a one-time aide of Trump’s in the administration. There could be a million reasons why the president might want to fire the FBI director,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says Democrats have been trying to bring down Trump since the day after the election, and perpetual outrage is often an effective way of preventing much from getting accomplished.
“In the long term, what they’re looking at is trying to make it impossible for him to govern so the parts of his agenda, to the extent that they object to them, can’t be implemented and also make it look like his government – and he’s helping them with this by the way – is so chaotic and so in over its head that it helps their electoral prospects in 2018 and 2020,” said McCarthy.
While McCarthy notes that Republicans have a long history of not defending their party’s president during times of controversy, at least compared to Democrats, he sees no actual traction for impeachment despite the growing demands from the left.
“I see the fervor (among Democrats) to want to get a president impeached, but I don’t see any grounds for doing it. Given what Republican numbers are at the moment, I don’t see any prospect of it,” said McCarthy.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to reports that President Trump wants to create a NATO-like group in the Middle East, involving Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE. They also dissect what we know of the memo former FBI Director James Comey reportedly wrote about Trump asking him to back off the investigation of Michael Flynn. And they discuss the speculation swirling around the future of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and explain how Trump is making the work of the communications team much more difficult.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss reports that President Trump revealed very sensitive intelligence during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. They also get a kick out of a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee, alleging staffers weren’t paid the current minimum wage for their work in 2016. And they have some fun with the news that a published photo of President Trump’s bodyguard revealed the personal cell phone number of Defense Sec. James Mattis.