California Massacre Sparks Diverse Reactions
A paramilitary assault by Syed Rizwan Farooq and his wife Tashfeen Malik on an office Christmas party in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday that left 14 dead and 21 more wounded has sown confusion at the highest levels of the US government. The attackers had apparently planned the event far in advance—accumulating an arsenal of firearms, thousands of rounds of ammo, combat-ready body armor and constructing a number of IEDs over a period of at least several weeks—and posted a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on the day of the attack.
Nonetheless, President Obama professed his complete bafflement at the possible motive for the murders. "We really have no clue as to why these two young people took such drastic action," Obama said. "We do know that Farooq had some sort of work relationship with many of the victims and was familiar with the work premises where the crime occurred. My best guess is that we are dealing with another instance of workplace violence."
Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Nihad Awad blamed US foreign policy for "provoking an essentially defensive reaction from these obviously devout Muslims. When US troops are trespassing on Muslim lands it should not be surprising if Muslims everywhere are spurred into action."
Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that "Mr. Awad may have a point. If we bomb ISIS we shouldn't be surprised if ISIS sympathizers retaliate." Kerry also suggested that "the target wasn't exactly random. As I understand it, Mr. Farooq had a number of previous arguments with one of the victims—a Jew who challenged the idea that Islam is a religion of peace. And we shouldn't overlook the fact that the Christmas party he attacked is an example of the kind of micro-aggressions that Muslims in this country have to face on a regular basis."
Attorney General Loretta Lynch took up the micro-aggression theme and disclosed that her office currently has "more than a thousand ongoing investigations into anti-Muslim incidents including 'hate speech' and 'bigoted behavior' of the sort meted out to Ahmed Mohamed," whose cleverly designed clock that looked like a brief case bomb freaked out school officials in Irving, Texas. As Lynch sees it, "it is only because Muslims are a small minority in this country that these sorts of flagrant injustices can occur. The cure is to admit more Muslim immigrants. As their numbers grow, hate crimes against them should subside—if not due to the fear of losing a multi-million dollar lawsuit as Irving may, then maybe the greater probability that a Muslim may be pushed past the tipping point like Farooq and Malik were."
In a bid to distinguish themselves from any suspicion of harboring anti-Muslim sentiments, Democratic Reps. Don Beyer of Virginia and Joe Crowley of New York attended Friday prayers at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center. This northern Virginia mosque was previously favored by the attendance of several of the September 11, 2001 hijackers as well as Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. California colleague Rep. Jackie Speier didn't go so far as to attend the mosque services, but refused to participate in a Congressional "moment of silence" for the San Bernardino victims as "it might further enrage the victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes and foment further violence, possibly against members of Congress like myself."
In related news, Democrats' determination to bring as many Muslim immigrants to the United States as they can get away with received a PR setback by Saudi Arabia's refusal to accept a single refugee from war-torn Syria, claiming that "they are too dangerous" and citing "the brawls and riots perpetrated by refugees allowed into Germany" as "proof they are too uncivilized for our society."
Dems Use California Terror Attack to Bolster Gun-Control Effort
The massacre of 14 unarmed civilians in San Bernardino, California by two Islamic terrorists this week provided Democrats with more ammunition in their argument for stricter gun-control.
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) called for legislation that would empower the FBI to bar anyone on its "watch list" from legally purchasing a firearm. "Right now, regulations are focused on blocking persons with demonstrated histories of criminal or mental problems from obtaining weapons," Pelosi observed. "To often a person with no previous record of this sort commits a crime with a gun. By trusting the judgment of the government's best professional law enforcement agency with the latitude to get ahead of events and identify potential troublemakers before they commit a crime we'll all be safer."
"The fact that the guns used in this heinous crime were obtained legally shows that it is too easy for people to get firearms in this country," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) complained. "Americans want this to stop, but the National Rifle Association stands in the way. We need to figure out how to neutralize this voice against saner gun-control policy."
One way to "neutralize" the NRA's voice would be to bypass Congress and implement gun-control via executive action. Press Secretary Josh Earnest attempted to make the case for this option by citing an argument made by Thomas Hobbes in the 17th century. "When almost everyone has access to weapons society is anarchic," Earnest argued. "The obvious solution so presciently laid out by Hobbes was for the government to have a monopoly on the use of force. The war of all against all where the threat of annihilation could come from any direction would be supplanted by an all-powerful government."
"The chief benefit of the Hobbesian approach is its simplicity," Earnest continued. "The government could easily distinguish between a disarmed law-abiding populace and armed anti-social elements. By making mere possession of a firearm a capital offense the government could more effectively eradicate this criminal segment of the population. The archaic notion of self-defense would be replaced by collective-defense. The good of the whole would triumph over the individual selfishness championed by today's anti-progressive hard-liners."
IRS Demands Charities Collect Social Security #s from Donors
Contending that its ability to adequately monitor, measure and police tax-deductible donations is greatly hampered by insufficient data, the IRS is demanding that all organizations receiving such donations obtain donors' Social Security numbers and forward this information to the IRS.
"It's bad enough that the law allows a person to reduce the amount of tax he pays to us by deducting charitable contributions," Commissioner John Koskinen lamented. "What's worse is that the task of verifying the amount and legitimacy of these donations is tedious and time-consuming. Having all donors' Social Security numbers supplied by the receiving organization would substantially ease our burden."
Koskinen dismissed concerns over the proposed new regulation's invasion of privacy as "selfish and anti-social. The government has an interest in maximizing the resources it extracts for the collective benefit of society. Tax-deductions that reduce the magnitude of the resources we receive infringe on the welfare of the whole. The government has a right to know who is diverting these funds from the public coffers."
"Rather than permit private individuals to control where these funds go, it makes more sense to me to put this decision into the hands of the government," Koskinen said. "The government represents all the people. It should control the distribution of all the resources. Ideally, there should be no tax-deductions for charitable giving. Everyone should pay whatever the government says they owe and let the government decide how to spend it."
Cruz Claim that Majority of Criminals Are Democrats Enrages Left
The media's effort to award GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz "four Pinocchios" for his comment that "most criminals are Democrats" crashed against statistics that support his contention.
A study published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science found that in the state of New York ex-convicts registered Democratic over Republican by a 6:1 ratio and that over 70% of ex-cons who turn out for presidential elections vote for the Democrat.
Glen Kessler, the Washington Post "fact checker" found these statistics unpersuasive, though. "Ex-cons represent criminals who have been caught and imprisoned," Kessler pointed out. "They may only represent the less intelligent segment of the criminal class. We don't know how many unconvicted or undetected criminals there are or who they vote for."
"A broader issue is a whole range of activities that aren't considered criminal under the law, but perhaps should be," Kessler added. "What about climate-change deniers, for example? President Obama has made it clear that climate change is the most serious threat to humanity ever known. There is no law against blocking government from taking the steps necessary to fight this scourge. Yet, I would guess that the vast majority of these social criminals vote Republican. In a deeper sense, I think this rebuts Cruz's claim."
In related news, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took issue with Cruz's assertion that widely available and inexpensive condoms could be an adequate alternative birth control measure compared to abortion. "Unlike Senator Cruz, not everyone has the presence of mind or funds to buy a condom ahead of time," Clinton objected. "A woman needs to know that the government will provide her with a back-up plan that won't cost her out-of-pocket. Publicly financed abortion is that plan." A package of 40 condoms can be purchased at Walmart for under $12. The cost of an abortion ranges from $300 to $2,000 depending on how close to the baby's birth it occurs.
Obama Climate Comment Runs Overtime
Each participant in this past week's COP21 climate conference in Paris was allocated three minutes to make his point. President Obama blew through numerous cues that his time was up on his way to a 14-minute bloviation.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest rejected contentions that Obama was rude and disrespectful toward his fellow 140 heads-of-state. "We have the most important person alive today offering his unique views on the most important topic in human history and people want to chide him for running a few minutes over? I think the guy who kept interrupting him with his incessant buzzing on the time-clock is the one who owes the whole world an apology."
Meanwhile, climate-change activists demonstrating outside the conference in support of more government control over the climate destroyed a memorial to the victims of the November 13 ISIS massacre calling it "a distraction from the much graver threat of climate catastrophe."