Americans are awakening this morning to news of yet another terrorist strike in London, the British capital. While the story is continuing to develop, early indications are that the victims were Muslims targeted by a man and his associates who deliberately drove their van over the victims.
While we await the final conclusions of police investigators and will undoubtedly learn more in the coming days about the details of the attack, it is not too early to declare this a vile terrorist strike that should be condemned in the strongest terms.
Recently our TV production crew were actually in London at the very location where blood was spilled today. We visited the Finsbury Park Mosque, where at least one person was killed and a number of others were injured.
The mosque’s Imam Mohammed Kozbar reportedly played a key role in ensuring that the van’s driver will be brought to justice. The imam is said to have bravely stepped forward to insist that the enraged citizens who pulled the man from the van held him down until police arrived rather than beating him to death.
Just weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview the Chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, who was a gracious host. I was the first member of the foreign media in years to be invited into the mosque for an interview. I found him to be a respectful and learned man, and appreciated the opportunity to ask tough questions in a place which had previously been at the epicenter of U.K.-based support for radical Islamic terrorist groups. Imam Kozbar talked extensively about Al Quaeda operatives "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, who were radicalized at Finsbury mosque before he assumed leadership. He spoke painstakingly about the difficulty and challenges in finally cleansing the place of worship from Terrorist. It was riveting listening to his arduous process in finally earning the trust and respect of the U.K. Government, London law enforcement and the community.
Let me be as clear as I can: regardless of the target, terrorism is terrorism is terrorism and it is despicable. It should be condemned in all of its forms always. While we can disagree with others, it is never acceptable to use violence and murder.
As I sat watching the news stream in from England last night and today I immediately felt myself flooded with the memories and emotions that accompanied news reports of a mass shooting at a church in my home state of South Carolina. In that attack, innocent Christian worshippers were ruthlessly shot to death, including my cousin the Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
When will this madness end? As members of the human race we can and must do better. We are all God’s children and he alone should be the one to sit in judgment and to decide when the time has arrived to take us from the Earth. No man has that right.
I didn’t want to write this column. Not now. The events of today and the recent past are taking their toll. Those on the Left are rapidly becoming an intolerant political class, and it has to stop.
Today’s shooting of several at a Republican baseball practice is a reflection. It’s a small mirror of the worst of our society, responding to political disagreements and discourse in a violent way. While not all the details of the incident are clear, it appears the shooter was politically motivated in some fashion. At the risk of taking this too far, it has gone too far. And I fear the fomenting by liberals on the left is to blame.
There are simply too many examples that tilt the weight of evidence toward this bias. A Hollywood entertainer, Kathy Griffin, and CNN host decapitates an image of our president and thinks in her own twisted way that is somehow funny? They label it entertainment, and the rest of us silently weep at such disrespect for the office of the president. Or how about a local theater that props up its own image of Julius Caesar as Donald Trump and then violently murders him? Even in liberal New York City, there doesn’t appear to be any second thoughts regarding this behavior. By the way, this so-called theatric presentation was so tasteless in the eyes of major companies such as Delta Airlines and Bank of America that they each pulled their funding for the theatrical center.
Where’s the decorum? Where is the sense of decency among our fellow man and fellow countrymen and women that we don’t take a second to ponder our actions? Cameras are always rolling. Statements matter. Words matter. Our nation’s leaders on the Left have a responsibility to simmer tensions, not let them boil. Senator Bernie Sanders accosting a potential OMB deputy for his faith by accusing him of being intolerant is another example. Has an elected official sworn to uphold the Constitution tried to deny the Constitutionally-protected practicing of religion by a government worker simply because he disagreed with that religion? But if he pretends it’s in the defense of a larger body of practicing Muslims that makes it ok, right? Wrong. Sanders knows better. But he also knows that brand of political histrionics raises money and fires up the base. So why change?
We are a nation of laws; of the rule of law. A nation where we each hold a responsibility to lower the temperatures and tempers. And when society is told it is okay to get hysterically mad at this government and this president - that it’s okay to respond passionately about some conviction so deeply held - we miss the mark.
Earlier today congressmen Steve Scalese Majority Whip, staffers, and law enforcement were shot while practicing for a congressional baseball game. When NYC play depicts the president assassinated, or an entertainer holds up the head of a decapitated Trump, are you shocked Congressmen Scalese was shot after being asked by the terrorist whether or not he was a republican.
The 66-year old James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois was campaign volunteer on Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. He reportedly asked if members were Republican or Democrat before he started shooting. President Trump announced that the shooter died as a result of gunshot wounds.
We can do better. We have to do better.
We also reap what we sow. We sowed the state sponsors of terrorism in Tehran when the CIA overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossedeq, in 1953 in favor of the weak, corrupt, dictatorial, and megalomaniacal Shah of Iran, which led straight to his ouster by the current Shiite governing fanatics. In other words, we gave birth to Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism—but none dare say so because of political correctness. We also choose to ignore the role we have played in turning Iraq and Lybia into failed States and veritable hotbeds for Islamic extremism. Every time we "mistakenly" bomb innocent non-combatants in the Mideast, we create the opportunity for terrorists to find sympathetic new recruits.
Last week former FBI Director James Comey testified that President Trump was not under investigation, yet despite his testimony, which vindicated President Trump having anything to do with any possible Russian Collusion, the investigation continues.
We know Russia attempted to influence our elections and there should be strong consequences for that, but we should also work on securing our systems from breach, which they are currently susceptible to.
However, punishing Russia and strengthening our aging system does not mean the president had anything to do with Russia's actions and Comey's testimony stated that. I strongly believe we must move past this as a nation, so that the president can truly focus on the work of the people, which is why the president must seriously reconsider Mueller as special counsel.
President Donald Trump has the examples of predecessors Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan to navigate successfully through the Scylla and Charybdis of his stormy political seas.
President Ford testified before a House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on October 17, 1974, approximately five weeks after he had pardoned former President Richard Nixon, among other things, obstructing justice. Mr. Ford’s purpose was to dispel a crescendo of suspicion that the pardon had been corruptly promised in exchange for President Nixon’s resignation. He succeeded; and, the Ford presidency moved forward unchained from scandal.
To dispel suspicions about personal culpability in the covert arms sales to Iran and the diversion of the sales proceeds to the Nicaraguan contras seeking to overthrow the dictatorial Sandinista Daniel Ortega, President Ronald Reagan waived executive privilege before the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran to strengthen public confidence that he had not approved the diversion. (That would arguably have violated the Boland Amendment).
Neither the Ford nor the Reagan precedents weakened the presidency.
The loudest clamors against President Trump pivot on a putative memorandum of former FBI Director James Comey’s alleging that he was asked to cease the investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Many high octave pundits or Democratic Members of Congress have asserted alleged President Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice and should be impeached.
Decisions to drop criminal investigations to advance non-criminal justice goals are not obstruction of justice. Various presidents ordered the Department of Justice to stand down from investigating the Seven Sisters for antitrust violations in negotiations over the price of oil in the Middle East for national security purposes. Prosecutors every day decide to drop investigations for extenuating circumstances. The practice is known as prosecutorial discretion—a cornerstone of Anglo-American jurisprudence for centuries.
According to published reports, the President remarked to Comey: “I hope you can let this go.” The words carry no threat. They suggest no corrupt motive. No quid pro quo with Flynn. Comey’s conspicuous tardiness in indirectly disclosing the remarks after his firing suggests he did not interpret the remarks as alarming, i.e., an attempt to obstruct justice. Nothing President Trump has done after making the alleged remarks to Comey has impeded the FBI’s investigation of Flynn according to the Acting Director Arthur McCabe—including the firing of Comey himself. Trump has done nothing like President Nixon during the Saturday Night Massacre when he abolished the office of the special prosecutor and sealed the files of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force.
But as Plato taught in his Allegory of the Caves, appearances are a reality. President Trump’s erratic defenses and clumsy actions have created an appearance that he might have something to hide. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will take all the oxygen out of the Trump presidency. Mr. Trump needs to right his capsizing presidency by emulating the Ford and Reagan bold precedents.
He should ask to testify publicly before a Joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee about his communications with Comey and the reasons for his firing (as President Ford did regarding his pardon of Nixon). He should waive executive privilege for the ongoing FBI or congressional investigations into Flynn or Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election. If President Trump forgoes these sunshine initiatives to extinguish the embers of suspicion that he has unwittingly helped to kindle, his presidency will be paralyzed indefinitely while Special Prosecutor Mueller delves into every nook and cranny of the Trump campaign and prepares a final report. It may be unfair to Trump, but it is still political gospel.
Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make furious.
Terrorist continue to stop at absolutely nothing to obstruct our way of life. The freedoms, liberty, and justice that we so proudly embrace are a threat to the very idea of their existence because they rely on compulsory force and fear to control.
ISIS, like every other terrorist organization before it, has one goal and one goal only and that is to interrupt the livelihood of any free society. They go about this task by kidnapping our innocent and terrorizing our cities with attacks similar to the one we saw in Manchester, England.
The United States has led the fight against extremism for decades, but this a different animal that requires strong condemnation and support from countries in the Middle East.
Terrorism in London and the Muslim leadership must do more in speaking out more forcefully and with punitive consequences. They must constantly condemn their thinking and destructive course.
Just retiring from London, where over the past 21 days they have been hit with terrorism. While we stand firm with one of our oldest allies, the only way we can effectively fight terrorism is with the help from Muslim leadership, who suffers the greatest consequences of this senseless violence.
ISIS must be destroyed at all cost, but we can no longer solely depend on law enforcement and the intelligence community. It is time for Muslims around the world to take a harsher stand and stronger role to bring this to a screeching halt. Those in the Middle East must step up and hold their end of the bargain.
Politicians are elected, and time after time, we complain about how they made promises while running for office, but never follow through on the things they promised, well President Trump has followed through on something he has promised by pulling out of the Paris Agreement.
Whether you like his decision or not, he has kept a promise to the million of Americans who put him in office, and that is his obligation as president. For far too long, politicians have behaved like demi-gods, telling us what to do and finally, we have someone in the White House who respects and listen to the will of the people.
Our leaders are elected to serve the people, not serve themselves, and no matter what your position is on this issue, no one can deny that President Trump is doing just that. Any agreement the United States enters into should have America's interest at the forefront and should be crafted with the inclusion of the Congress, which is the body that directly serves the people.
I applaud the president on keeping his promise to the American people and pulling out of the Paris Agreement. He was elected to serve the people who elected him and he did just that.
We have to forget about class and race and focus on what we as citizens of the world have in common, and that is inhumane acts of violence, such as terrorism. We must unite together as citizens of the world and show that our strength has never been greater.
Our resolve has never been deeper. And we will fight to the bitter end until we destroy these inhumane thugs that continue to use their lives, use their existence to destroy our way of life.
And so we stand with the people of Manchester today, almost a week later from their devastation, to show that we will not be bowed, we will not be intimidated, we will stand tall and we will fight them at every turn.