Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sen. Sessions Reveals 12 Refugee-Jihadis Charged this Year, Hopes to Shrink Obama’s 2016 Refugee Budget

is out with a list of 12 vetted refugees who quickly joined jihad plots to attack the United States.

He’s spotlighting the refugees-turned-jihadis because he’s trying to prod GOP leaders into halting Congress’ normal practice of giving the president huge leeway to import foreign migrants and refugees into the United States.
This year, Obama is promising to bring in an extra 10,000 low-skill, potentially difficult-to-integrate Syrian migrants into the United States. Sessions and other critics fear he’ll use his many powers — and Congress’ autopilot funding for refugee programs — to bring in far more than 10,000 migrants.
In fact, from 2010 to 2015, Obama has allowed more than 200,000 low-skill migrants from Central American to enter the United States, and then disappear into the nation’s growing population of at least 11 million illegal immigrants.
Obama says the new refugees will be vetted. But top security officials say the Syrians can’t be vetted because the U.S doesn’t know what they were doing in Syria before they applied for refugee status.
Besides, many of the jihad attempts in the United States are launched by the children of Muslim refugees and migrants. That list include the two Chechen brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon, and Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed by a U.S missile strike when he fled to Yemen after the 9/11 atrocity. That means the Americans’ federal government is actively importing national-security problems that will eventually cost billions of dollars to manage, but cannot be eliminated.
Congressional leaders will set funding levels, and possible curbs, during the December appropriations debate.
“This list — which only covers 2015 and not the many jihadis from prior years — illustrates just how incapable our government is of vetting refugees or predicting post-entry radicalization,” said a Hill aide. “Yet the president wants a completely blank-check [in the appropriaitons bill] to fund not only all of these existing refugee programs from across the globe, but to add a permanent Syrian resettlement program to it — funded directly out of Americans’ paychecks and retirement accounts,” the aide said.
The new — but incomplete — list of refugees-turned-jihadis include:
  • On January 29, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a federal warrant was unsealed for the arrest of Liban Haji Mohamed – a native of Somalia who sources indicate came to the United States as a refugee, adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status, and subsequently applied for and received citizenship – for allegedly providing material support to Harakat Shabaab Al-Mujahidin, also known as Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda. Mohamed is believed to have left the U.S. on July 5, 2012, with the intent to join Al-Shabaab in East Africa. Mohamed previously lived in the metro D.C. area and worked as a cab driver, and is believed to have snuck across the border to Mexico after being placed on the no-fly list. Carl Ghattas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office emphasized the importance of locating Mohamed, “because he has knowledge of the Washington, D.C. area’s infrastructure such as shopping areas, Metro, airports, and government buildings . . . [t]his makes him an asset to his terrorist associates who might plot attacks on U.S. soil.” Arrest Warrant
  • On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Abdinassir Mohamud Ibrahim – a native of Somalia who came to the United States as a refugee in 2007 at the age of 22 and subsequently adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status – was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for conspiring to provide material support to Al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization, and for making a false statement in his immigration paperwork. Ibrahim knowingly lied in his application for citizenship, and previously lied on his request for refugee status, by falsely claiming that he was of a member of the minority Awer clan in Somalia and subject to persecution by the majority Hawiye clan. However, Ibrahim was actually a member of the Hawiye clan and not subject to persecution. In fact, according to the Complaint, “Ibrahim’s family was famous . . . [and] [t]hrough his clan lineage, Ibrahim was related to known Somali terrorists[.]” Ibrahim also admitted he had lied on his citizenship application by having previously lied on his refugee application by falsely claiming that he had not provided material support to a terrorist group, when he had in fact provided material support in the form of cash to an Al-Shabaab member. Criminal Complaint Indictment
  • On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Abdullah Ramo Pazara – a native of Bosnia who sources indicate came to the United States as a refugee, adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status, and subsequently applied for and received citizenship in 2013 – was named in an indictment against six individuals listed below. Pazara was not charged because, purportedly, he is believed to be dead. According to the Indictment, the others listed provided material support to Pazara, who left the United States to go to Syria and fight with ISIS just eleven days after becoming a citizen. Among other things, Pazara allegedly told an individual about a mission where they “captured a large area, killed even individuals, captured one, and added that they intended to slaughter the prisoner the follow[ing] day.” According to press accounts, at the time Pazara was purportedly killed in Syria, he was a deputy to one of the top ISIS commanders. Indictment
  •  On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Ramiz Zijad Hodzic – a native of Bosnia, and a purported Bosnian war hero who came to the United States as a refugee – was charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, with providing material support to terrorists, and conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country. According to the indictment, among other things, Hodzic obtained money that he used to “purchase materials and supplies including: United States military uniforms, tactical combat boots, military surplus goods, tactical gear and clothing, firearms accessories, optical equipment and range finders, rifle scopes, equipment, and supplies . . .  intending that the materials and supplies would thereafter be transferred to, and used to support” Abdullah Ramo Pazara and ISIS. Indictment
  • On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Sedina Unkic Hodzic – the wife of Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, and a native of Bosnia who came to the United States as a refugee – was charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. According to the indictment, Sedina, along with her husband, collected money from third parties and wired it to terrorists abroad. Also according to the indictment, Sedina shipped six boxes of U.S. military uniforms, combat boots, tactical clothing and gear, military surplus items, firearms accessories, rifle scopes, optical equipment, first aid supplies, and other equipment to terrorists abroad. Indictment
  • On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Armin Harcevic – a native of Bosnia who came to the United States as a refugee, and subsequently adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident statuswas charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and with providing material support to terrorists. According to the Indictment, Harcevic collected money from third parties and wired it and his own funds to terrorists abroad. Indictment
  • On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Nihad Rosic – a native of Bosnia who sources indicate came to the United States as a refugee, adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status, and subsequently applied for and received citizenship – was charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, providing material support to terrorists, and conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country. According to the indictment, Rosic sent funds to terrorists abroad, and attempted to travel to Syria to join terrorists in Syria and Iraq. According to press accounts, Rosic was a truck driver and former mixed martial arts fighter who had previously been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after punching a woman in the face while she held a child, and in a separate incident, was charged with assault after allegedly beating his girlfriend with a belt. Indictment
  • On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Mediha Medy Salkicevic – a native of Bosnia who sources indicate came to the United States as a refugee, adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status, and subsequently applied for and received citizenship – was charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. According to press accounts, Salkicevic was formerly an employee with a cargo company that deals with items coming in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. According to the indictment, Salkicevic collected money from third parties and wired it and her own funds to terrorists abroad. Indictment
  • On February 5, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Jasminka Ramic – a native of Bosnia who sources indicate came to the United States as a refugee, adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status, and subsequently applied for and received citizenship – was charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. According to the indictment, Ramic collected money from third parties and wired it and her own funds to terrorists abroad. Indictment
  • On April 20, 2015, in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Abdurahman Yasin Daud – who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, came to the United States as a refugee when he was a child, and subsequently adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status – was charged (along with six others) with conspiracy and attempt to provide material support to ISIS. Daud and another individual drove from Minnesota to San Diego to attempt to get passports, cross the border into Mexico, and fly to Syria in an attempt to join ISISCriminal Complaint Indictment
  • On April 20, 2015, in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Guled Ali Omar – who was also born in a Kenyan refugee camp, and sources indicate came to the United States as a refugee when he was a child, adjusted to Lawful Permanent Resident status, and subsequently applied for and received citizenship – was charged with conspiracy and attempt to provide material support to ISIS. Omar is the younger brother of another indicted fugitive, Ahmed Ali Omar, who left the United States in 2007 to fight for Al-Shabaab. Another one of his brothers, Mohamed Ali Omar, was convicted in March of threatening federal agents when they came to the family’s residence to interview Guled Omar. During a press conference, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, Andy Luger, said that Omar “never stopped plotting,” and had previously attempted to leave the United StatesCriminal Complaint Indictment
  • On August 12, 2015, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, Fazliddin Kurbanov – a native of Uzbekistan who came to the United States as a refugee in 2009 – was found guilty on charges that he conspired and attempted to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and possessed an unregistered destructive device. U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin stated that he “conspired to provide material support to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and procured bomb-making materials in the interest of perpetrating a terrorist attack on American soil.” According to press reports, Kurbanov began his life as a Muslim, but faced persecution after his family converted to Orthodox Christianity. After coming to the United States with his family as a refugee, Kurbanov is said to have converted back to Islam and radicalized. Superseding Indictment Original Indictment (Idaho) Original Indictment (Utah)

Why 5 Of The Wealthiest Muslim Nations Refuse To Take A Single Refugee

Coexist, assimilation, religious tolerance…these are all foreign concepts to Muslims immigrants and Muslims living in countries who refuse to offer them refuge in their countries….
Lebanon, which has 1.1 million Syrian refugees, shut her borders to the Syrians in June of last year. Jordan, host to another 630,000, followed suit in August last year, preventing more Syrians from abandoning their country.
Sherif Elsayid-Ali, Amnesty International’s Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights, has slammed their inaction as “shameful”.
He said: “The records of Gulf countries is absolutely appalling, in terms of actually showing compassion and sharing the responsibility of this crisis… It is a disgrace.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Uh-O! Distinguished Professor From Columbia Has Come Forward Saying Obama Never Attended The University...

Professor Graff: “I’m very upset by the whole story. I am angry when I hear Obama called ‘the first President of the United States from Columbia University’. I don’t consider him a Columbia student. I have no idea what he did on the Columbia campus. No one knows him.”
My comment about the Professor’s statements and Wayne Allen Roots latest report:
When oh when is a Congressional investigation going to be convened and the call for testimony of people like 
, Wayne Allen Root, and Professor Henry Graff of Columbia, and many others, in regards to the falsified and forged life narrative and documents of the man who now calls himself Barack Hussein Obama. Ignoring the glaring evidence of identity fraud by Obama, is an extreme national security issue and high crimes and misdemeanors are being committed by the very presence of Barack Obama being in the Oval Office as the defacto President and Commander in Chief of our armed forces. High Treason by Obama is being permitted to continue daily with every day the U.S. Congress does not take action and convene a special select committee to investigate who really is the man in the Oval Office and what is the truth about his life and ID documents — CDR Charles Kerchner (Retired)
Source Article:
Ghost of Columbia- Part II: Legendary Columbia Professor Never Heard of Obama by Wayne Allen Root @ 
An excerpt from the full article:
 ” … until now, I was the only one publicly voicing my suspicions. That just changed in a big way. Meet Professor Henry Graff, perhaps the most legendary and honored professor ever at Columbia University. He was THE American History and Diplomatic History professor at Columbia for 46 years. And he is more emphatic than yours truly that there are no Obama footprints at Columbia.
I was put on Professor Graff’s trail by another Columbia classmate, skeptical about Obama’s story. He told me that Professor Graff had been the speaker for the Class of ’53 last weekend at Columbia. My friend was watching Graff answer questions from the crowd when he was asked about Obama at Columbia. Graff said, “I have my doubts he ever went here.”
I did some digging and located Graff’s home phone number. I called him yesterday. Now retired, he was delighted to hear from me. He agreed to go on the record about Obama. Unlike Obama, Professor Graff clearly remembered me. He was thrilled to hear from his former student. I was in several of Graff’s classes and he remembered me like it was yesterday. He sounded great- like he hasn’t lost any of his trademark sharpness in 30 years since we last met.
I was honored to learn that this legendary historian has been following my political career for many years. But he had no such cheery things to say about the President. Graff said, “I taught at Columbia for 46 years. I taught every significant American politician that ever studied at Columbia. I know them all. I’m proud of them all. Between American History and Diplomatic History, one way or another, they all had to come through my classes. Not Obama. I never had a student with that name in any of my classes. I never met him, never saw him, never heard of him.”
Even more importantly, Professor Graff knew the other history and political science professors. “None of the other Columbia professors knew him either” said Graff.
Graff concluded our interview by saying, “I’m very upset by the whole story. I am angry when I hear Obama called ‘the first President of the United States from Columbia University.’ I don’t consider him a Columbia student. I have no idea what he did on the Columbia campus. No one knows him.” “
A warning from the past — some conspiracies are very real and are also large and well organized and in process for a long time. The target of the one we are currently faced with is to destroy our U.S. Constitution, our Republic, and our military. Remember this quote from history: “We must now face the harsh truth that the objectives of communism are being steadily advanced because many of us do not recognize the means used to advance them. … The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a Conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst.” Quote by: J. Edgar Hoover former FBI director. Source: Elks Magazine (August 1956).
Rush Limbaugh states today — We are in the midst of a coup! (video):
When will we return to the rule of law and enforce our identity theft protection laws and the U.S. Constitution in regards to 
Obama, the Usurper and Fraud-in-Chief residing in the White House? When will Congress take action!?

My grandmother, the Palestinian

Dvora Marcia, my grandmother was a Palestinian. I have the documents to prove it.
Featured image
My grandmother – taken in Tel Aviv 1933
She went to school in Palestine. She grew up in Palestine. Got married, had two boys and worked with her (first) husband in Irgun Hashomer to protect Jewish land from being stolen by Bedouin. My grandmother worked as head secretary in the Israel Diamond Exchange and served as a liaison between members of Israel’s different underground resistance units, helping them pass messages between each other – all for one purpose… to free Palestine.
From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free!
Free from the British. Free to return to her natural state. To return to being what she always was – Israel, Zion.
My grandmother went to America to lobby for the foundation of the State of Israel. She distributed pamphlets and spoke on the radio. She spoke passionately in front of a number of different audiences, raising money and awareness for the plight of the people of Palestine.
My grandmother was a freedom fighter. Not a terrorist, she was a real freedom fighter, fighting for the right of her people, the Jewish people, to live freely in their homeland.
It was hearing my grandmother speak on the radio that compelled my grandfather to seek her out. He felt he had to meet her. Once I asked him why he, born in to a non-practicing Christian family, was interested and so moved by my grandmother’s plea to free Palestine and help the Jewish people rebuild their homeland.
He is answer was: “Because I thought that Jewish blood was worth more than Arab oil.”
He then went on to tell me that, when he finally found her, it took him a total of 3 seconds to realize that he had to marry her. It wasn’t long before he did, becoming her second husband.
My grandparents danced in the streets of New York celebrating their joy over the end of the British Mandate and the official establishment of the State of Israel. Shortly afterwards, they left America and moved to Israel. My mother was born in Jaffa.
My grandmother, the Palestinian, had an Israeli daughter.
In a time when the world seems to have gone insane, everything is topsy turvy. Black is white, up is down and facts that were once understood by all have now become extremely confusing and too complicated to comprehend.
Palestine is a name given to the Land of Israel for the sole purpose of disconnecting the Jewish people from Judea, from Israel, from Zion. This was done in the 2nd century CE, when the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), and gained control of Jerusalem and Judea which was renamed Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. After World War I, the name “Palestine” was applied to the territory that was placed under British Mandate; this area included not only present-day Israel but also present-day Jordan. Leading up to Israel’s independence in 1948, it was common for the international press to label Jews, not Arabs, living in the mandate as Palestinians.
Words give meaning and form to reality, thus names are of vast importance. It is obvious that Jews belong in Judea, but who belongs in Palestine?
Palestine is and always was, a politically motivated name. It is a name that is meant to denigrate and destroy the Jewish connection to her homeland.
If you will – calling Israel, “Palestine” is the original hate speech.
And today, out of nowhere, there suddenly is a new people called “Palestinians” and they are demanding “Palestine” for themselves. And most people in the world go along with this story, furthering a narrative that is a perversion of history and one that steals and makes a mockery of the efforts my Palestinian grandmother and thousands of others like her to reinstate Palestine to her rightful status of being recognized for who she really is and always was – Israel.
It’s probably the biggest media stunt in the history of the world. And everyone has accepted it. The world has recognized that there is a “Palestinian people” and they no longer mean what this term always meant – Jews.
Any people, the world agrees, has the right to self-determination (unless they are Kurds or Tibetan). Suddenly it becomes reasonable to give “Palestine” to the “Palestinians.”
When Palestine, Texas was named, its founders were not thinking about an Arab nation. Neither were the people of Palestine, Illinois. They were thinking of Zion, the country who America’s founders modeled her after.
The “Palestinian narrative” is one big commercial that the world has swallowed, hook, line and sinker. This is based on the premises that if you repeat a lie enough times people begin to believe it. If enough believe it becomes fact.
But the facts are that there are Jews and there are Arabs. There are Israeli Arabs, Jordanian Arabs, Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian Arabs. There are Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs.
Arab “Palestinians” are a nationality invented to facilitate and justify cleansing Jews from Israel.
The “Palestinians” are stealing my history in order to steal my land. Stealing my land is one step before my annihilation. Without Israel there is no Jewish people. The “Palestinians” are claiming my history as their own. Denying my roots, to deny my future.
Words are powerful. Every single person who uses the terminology as defined by the Arabs who wish to establish the State of Palestine is complicit.
Every time you say “Palestinian” and don’t mean the Jews who were striving to free their land from occupiers you are complicit. Every time you utter the word “Palestine” you are denying my past, my roots and worse, you are denying my future.
You are literally, wiping Israel off the map.
We have all been complicit. It is time to change our language and return to the factual, historical definitions. Before it is too late (if it is not already too late).
It’s really not that complicated. Palestine was always Israel. Palestinians were Jews.
For the love of Zion, my grandmother was a Palestinian.

Thanksgiving Dinner, With a Side of Cholent

Alexander Rapaport and chef Ruben Diaz inspect the hot items counter of the Masbia dinning room on Coney Island Avenue before opening for dinner. (Rachel Levy)
Across New York City this Thanksgiving, hundreds of soup kitchens will serve thousands of free meals to people in need. Masbia, headquartered in Borough Park, Brooklyn, is no exception—but it does stand apart from the pack. Turkey and cranberry sauce will be on the menu at Masbia, but so will cholent, the bean stew traditionally served on Shabbat.
Masbia is New York City’s only kosher soup kitchen, with a large Orthodox Jewish clientele. “In the haredi world, the idea of a chag [holiday] is different,” said Masbia’s founder and executive director, Alexander Rapaport, himself a Hasidic Jew. Some religious Jews care little about Turkey Day; in the ultra-Orthodox community, for instance, schools are open on Thanksgiving, and most people aren’t watching a parade or a football game. But they do like to invoke the spirit of the Sabbath a bit early, so a bowl of cholent on Thursday evening it is.
And yet, Masbia serves diners of all backgrounds, not just Orthodox ones, so the soup kitchen embraces the secular holiday as well. Hence, the turkey and cranberry sauce. “From a charity point of view, we feel why not offer something to make everyone feel comfortable?” Rapaport said.
Perhaps even more than Masbia’s kosher certification, this focus on customers’ comfort distinguishes it from other emergency food providers. “If you close your eyes and think of a soup kitchen, you think of someone standing in line and a volunteer smacking something down on to their plate,” Rapaport said. The ambiance at Masbia’s flagship and two satellite locations (in the heavily religious neighborhoods of Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Rego Park, Queens) skews toward a restaurant model: Meals are delivered to guests at their seats, and a volunteer wait staff brings baskets of bread and pours water tableside. The only thing missing at the end of the meal is a check.

Masbia volunteers prepare Thanksgiving turkey, 2014. (Photo: Alexander Rapaport)
Behind the scenes, Rapaport, whose characteristic black hat and chest-length beard are offset by a ready smile and seemingly boundless energy, runs around the city—shuttling between Masbia’s locations, managing payroll and bills, and finding creative ways to spread the word about his organization’s work. In August, for example, Masbia hosted a massive benefit dinner with a Chopped-style competition modeled off of the real-life challenges their chef and volunteers face each day. (Full disclosure: I was among the competitors that evening.)
The kitchen, meanwhile, is run by Chef Ruben Diaz, a non-Jewish chef who has become a master of the kosher laws—and also of culinary improvisation. Each day he transforms donations of beets or zucchini, frozen tilapia, or chicken necks into nourishing meals for an average of 500 diners. (The food is all cooked in the Flatbush location and then shuttled to the other sites.) At his side is a rotating cast of volunteers who contribute a combined 1,000 hours each week of chopping, washing dishes, and serving clients.
During Thanksgiving week, with so many people clamoring to volunteer, Rapaport said Masbia uses the extra manpower to get ahead. “We have them prep and bag fresh vegetables—squash, carrots, celery—for the freezer, so they can be ready for the next couple of weeks.”
Even without a holiday, Thursdays are especially hectic at Masbia. “It’s our busiest day,” Rapaport said; across the three locations, up to 700 dinners are served over the course of a typical Thursday. In addition, Thursday is pantry day, when families and individuals can pick up assembled food packages—enough fruits, vegetables, meat, and pantry staples to cook nine meals for each member of the family. Each week, Rapaport said, some 30,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables, meat, and non-perishables move through Masbia’s doors.
On Masbia’s first night, in April 2005, volunteers prepped meals for two dozen people. Only eight diners showed up. But within a few months, the numbers began to swell. While Masbia is open to anyone who is hungry, regardless of background, kosher-keeping families continue to make up a significant portion of visitors.
The subject of Jewish poverty, meanwhile, is considered taboo and not widely talked about. But it should be: Nearly half a million New York-area Jews live in poor or near-poor households, and the numbers are growing. When Masbia was approved for membership to the Food Bank of NYC in 2008, “it was a big deal,” said Karin Fleisch, a consultant specializing in food security who worked for the Food Bank of NYC at that time. For the first time, she said, “hungry women, men, and children who kept kosher had a consistent source for a hot meal.”

Volunteers at Masbia’s Flatbush location. (Photo: Alexander Rapaport)
Adding up the served dinners at three locations and the weekly pantry packages, Masbia serves 1.5 million meals each year—on a $2.5 million budget of private and in-kind donations. “Close to 1 million of those dollars is donations of raw food,” Rapaport said. In addition to relying on the Food Bank of NYC, City Harvest, and the government for food donations, “they source food from CSAs, farms, and food manufacturers,” said Fleisch. “It is very sophisticated.”
It is also very complicated. Rapaport said that inventory and cash flow are always issues, and his workdays are typically spent “moving from crisis to crisis” to keep things afloat. “In a perfect world, we would be fundraising for next year’s budget, not to pay today’s bills,” he said. When Masbia first opened in Borough Park, Rapaport’s vision for a dignified meal included a “no bread-line” policy—meaning that nobody was made to stand on the street and wait for a table to open. These days on Thursdays, he said, there’s a line out the door to the corner. “Sometimes it feels like hunger is winning,” he said.
Growing up, Rapaport’s family modeled an approach to charity that made a powerful impression on him. “At my grandmother’s, every Saturday there were guests, usually guests that no one wanted to invite to their table,” he said in an interview with NationSwell. “These are the people she taught us to care for.”
Today he tries to set a similar example for his children, but he admits that the hectic, 24/six work schedule takes a toll on him personally. “It is hard for my family to see me coming home late so many nights,” he said. The 10-year-old organization, he said, has not yet had the break where it moves from a grassroots to a more corporate model. There are some benefits to maintaining a startup mentality. In 2012, for example, it allowed Masbia to jump in and provide thousands of meals for people who lost their homes or were stuck inside on top-floor apartments after Hurricane Sandy. More bureaucracy would have made it harder to have such a speedy response.
Still, Rapaport dreams of the time when he might have the staff power and structures in place to transform Masbia into a well-oiled machine. For now, he takes things one day at a time, focusing on showing kindness and compassion to guests, wherever they are in the given moment. “The word masbia meals ‘satiate,’ ” he said. “For everyone who comes through our doors, that is exactly what we try to do.”
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Highways Destroyed America's Cities

Can tearing them down bring revitalization?
No Papers No Fear/Flickr                                                   

 America loves its freeways. After the 1956 Federal Highway Bill created the pathway for a 41,000 mile interstate highway system, states and cities jockeyed for the funding to build ever-more extensive networks of pavement that could carry Americans quickly between cities. Sometimes, they built these highways right in the middle of cities, displacing communities and razing old buildings and homes.

“This was a program which the twenty-first century will almost certainly judge to have had more influence on the shape and development of American cities, the distribution of population within metropolitan areas and across the nation as a whole, the location of industry and various kinds of employment opportunities,” Daniel Moynihan wrote in 1970 about the federal program that built these thousands of miles of highways.
But highways also created problems, some of which have become much worse in the years since. Urban freeways displaced communities and created air and noise pollution in downtown areas. They made it easier for suburban commuters to “zip to their suburban homes at the end of the work day, encouraging those with means to abandon the urban core,” Ted Shelton and Amanda Gann of the University of Tennessee wrote in a paper about urban freeways. They also encouraged a reliance on cars that has led to the traffic problems and commuting woes that are motivating a return to city cores.
“Where urban highway construction did occur, in urban design terms, it was highly detrimental to the urban fabric; creating physical and psychological rifts that are extremely difficult to bridge and introducing a substantial source of noise and air pollution,” Shelton and Gann wrote. “Cities across the country continue to struggle with this legacy.”
The Central Artery in Boston, top photo, was torn down to make the Rose Kennedy Greenway and other parks in Boston, below photo (Michael Dwyer/AP).
As some of the highways reach the end of their useful life, cities and counties are debating the idea of tearing down urban freeways and replacing them with boulevards, streets, and new neighborhoods. Though it might sound like a headache, tearing down freeways in city centers can reduce air pollution and create parks and public spaces that bring cities together, according to Shelton.
“The removal of urban interstates is a growing trend in the U.S.,” Shelton and Gann wrote. This trend, if carried to its logical extreme, can yield sites of intervention that hold the promise of remaking the American city.”
In Birmingham, for example planners want to see sections of I-20/59 replaced (though the state’s Dept of Transportation has different ideas). Many people in Buffalo, NY want to see the city’s Skyway torn down, and the Austin, Texas, city government has supported a resolution to submerge parts of I-35 and reconnect portions of city. Other urban highways potentially on the chopping block: the Aetna Viaduct in Hartford, Connecticut; Route 29 in Trenton, New Jersey; and Nashville’s downtown loop.
Some cities have already completed freeway teardowns. Boston, for instance, got rid of sections of I-93 as part of the Big Dig, putting parts of the freeway underground and creating more than 45 parks and public plazas. Voters rejected a plan to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco in 1986, but then the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the highway, leading to its teardown anyway, a construction project that made the San Francisco waterfront more pedestrian-friendly. Milwaukee demolished the Park East freeway in 1999 and urban development has blossomed in the neighborhoods created by the highway’s removal. Manpower Corporation moved its headquarters to the area, and the average assessed land value there grew 45 percent.
It’s an important lesson for some of the nation’s most economically depressed cities, which are considering urban freeway removal projects as a means of economic development. New Haven, for instance, is in the midst of a project called Downtown Crossing, which has removed parts of Route 34 and is putting up new buildings in an area of town bisected by the freeway. The photos below show models of what the area looks like now, and what it will look like when the project is completed.
Downtown Crossing in New Haven, present day and planned. (City Plan Dept/ New Haven)
When the city put in Route 34 in the 1950s, it relocated 881 households and 350 businesses. It’s now hoping to bring businesses and residents back to the area. Already, the city is erecting a 425,000 square foot lab and office building, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals is in the process of building its new headquarters in the middle of this space, which will bring 1,000 jobs to the area.
“The goal of urban vitality and economic viability can be approached by utilizing portions of the right-of-way, from removing a major physical and visual barrier, to create development sites for mixed-use opportunities that will potentially improve the economy, increase tax revenues, and create new jobs,” the city wrote in its application for a federal grant.
Syracuse, New York, which has the highest concentration of black and Hispanic poverty in the country, is also debating a highway teardown. The highway I-81 bisected the city when it was completed in the 1960s, but has reached the end of its useful life, according to state Department of Transportation. The region is considering a number of options. Suburban residents and business owners want to see the elevated portions of the highway expanded or rebuilt. New Urbanists want the highway torn down and a boulevard constructed in a way that could encourage the development of pedestrian-friendly businesses and parks.
And the people that live near the highway? They just want to make sure that even if whatever happens next leads to large-scale changes in the city, they won’t be displaced like those who were their neighbors long ago.

How to Beat Donald Trump

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How to Beat Donald Trump

The Republican frontrunner has surged in the polls by taking a tough stance on immigration—and if critics want to stop him, that’s what they need to attack.
John Locher / AP



A new round of attack ads are heading Donald Trump’s way, some from John Kasich’s campaign and the super PAC backing him, and more in the future from an LLC created specifically to produce anti-Trump messages.
New Day for America’s 47-second ad splices together some of the Republican front-runner’s most awkward video moments: his suggestion he might date his daughter, his claim of “a great relationship with the blacks.” The Kasich campaign’s ad turns Martin Niemöller’s famous words “nobody left to speak for me” into a warning from one of John McCain’s fellow Hanoi Hilton POWs that a Trump presidency is a threat to freedom.* John Kasich’s Twitter account has fired direct personal challenges to the famously thin-skinned mogul.
The anti-Trump LLC hasn’t produced a video yet, but an email from its president Liz Mair (a friend of mine) gives a hint of the approach it will take.

“I was unaware that a six year-old crybaby with his training pants in a bunch was running for President using the name ‘Donald J. Trump.’ The good news is, now we can all plan accordingly and ensure that if he wins, the White House is loaded up with juice boxes, he’s afforded time for his afternoon nap so he doesn’t get cranky, the President gives the State of the Union from the bouncy castle at Chuck-E-Cheese, and the Oval Office is stocked with Smurf toys for him to yell at when Vladimir Putin treats him unfairly,” she told Truth Revolt in an email.
Thus far, these productions seem intended only for an audience of political insiders to watch on YouTube or discuss on Twitter. Which is just as well. Authentic as their sentiments may be, these attacks will bounce off for much the same reasons that a previous round mocking Trump as an unfit commander in chief—fired off by the Jeb Bush campaign—failed to have an impact.
The goal of convincing a Republican primary electorate that Trump is personally unequal to the job of president is unlikely to succeed. They’ve seen Donald Trump dominating and commanding all the other Republican presidential candidates (except Carly Fiorina) in one-on-one personal confrontations on the debating platform. They know, or think they know, that Donald Trump built a gigantic business empire. They have watched as a network “reality” television show portrayed him over 14 seasons as America’s supreme problem-solver and team leader. Now the same party leaders who insisted that Sarah Palin could do the job of president, if need be, want to persuade the rank-and-file that Trump can’t? Good luck with that.

Attacking Trump on national-security grounds will be especially challenging. Many Republicans see immigration as itself a national-security issue, arguably the paramount national-security issue. The Washington Post recently published a survey of GOP and GOP-leaning opinion on the Syrian refugee issue:
Nearly half of GOP-leaning respondents in the poll — 47 percent — both support the deportation of undocumented immigrants and oppose accepting refugees from Syria and other Mideast conflicts. If a GOP-leaning voter supports deportation, there is a 79 percent chance she or he also opposes Syrian refugees, compared with 54 percent if they oppose deportation.
Trump has captured the support of 51 percent of those overlapping voters, compared with 16 percent among all other Republican voters. Put another way, pro-deportation/anti-refugee voters account for almost three-quarters of Trump's support.
When a Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie, or Marco Rubio attacks Donald Trump as an unfit commander in chief because of this wild statement or that (and Trump’s statements can be plenty wild!), they miss the point. Reckless talk about the Iran nuclear deal, or the war in Syria, or the Russian assault on Ukraine may trouble voters—but the deal is made or unmade on a candidates’s credibility on border security. On that issue, the elected-office Republicans have all crowded together where the party isn’t, and Trump alone dominates the ground where the party is. He is the one positioned to attack them as naive and weak, not the other way around.

And how about the suggestion that Trump is a fascist dictator in the making? Good luck with that, too. Yes, over the past week, Donald Trump has wandered into territory where democratic politicians do not go. Jeb Bush and John Kasich have spoken up—a show of courage and character that should redound to their credit. Yet if there is one concept that conservative media have tried to pound into the heads of their listeners and readers, it is that fascism is always and everywhere a left-wing phenomenon. By definition, therefore, Trump can’t be a fascist—and anybody who says otherwise is probably a covert liberal himself or herself.
No, if you want to take down Trump, there is only one line of attack that will work—but it is an attack that requires the party leadership and its donors to attain some critical distance from their own beliefs and points of view.
Right now, construction crews are at work completing the new Trump hotel in Washington D.C.’s Old Post Office. In July, a reporter for the Post interviewed 15 of those workers.
[M]any of them had crossed the U.S-Mexico border illegally before they eventually settled in the Washington region to build new lives.
Several of the men, who hail mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have earned U.S. citizenship or legal status through immigration programs targeting Central Americans fleeing civil wars or natural disasters. Others quietly acknowledged that they remain in the country illegally.
A spokesman for the Trump organization noted that construction workers on the site were employed not by Trump himself, but by subcontractors. That answer may constitute a valid legal defense—but it’s no defense at all for attack ad purposes.

Extreme and provocative statements verging on open racism normally doom candidates. They have helped Trump, to date, because those statements seemed to prove that here, at last, was a candidate as exercised about the immigration issue as Republican voters. The well-spoken politicians who had promised to solve the problem in years past had all failed, or turned coat. But a man who’d say wild things that the political elite unanimously condemned as reckless and irresponsible—well, he at least must be sincere, mustn’t he?
So that’s the point where an effective attack would hit him.
Until he read Ann Coulter’s book this spring, Trump seemed to have been a perfectly conventional business Republican on immigration. In a 2012 interview, in fact, he blamed Romney’s loss on taking a too-tough line on the issue:
“The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it. They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind.”
Romney’s solution of “self deportation” for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general, Trump says.
“He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump says. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,” Trump notes. “He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

The GOP has to develop a comprehensive policy “to take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country,” Trump says.
If Trump said those things in one interview, recorded only in print, it’s likely he said them in others, recorded in video and audio, the raw material of the attack ad. Where he is in 2015 is not where he was in 2012—and that could suggest that where he is in 2015 is not where he’ll be if elected president. Every politician changes his mind. Accusations of flip-flopping hurt because they open the possibility that where there is a flip-flop, there may in future be a flop-flip—that the position adopted for political advantage will be jettisoned when political advantage signals a different direction.
Trump’s histrionics—and the criticism he has taken—may seem the ultimate proof of sincerity: When a man walks that far onto a limb, he must mean it, right? The task for Trump’s Republican rivals is to convince Trump followers that this supposed anti-politician is using typical politician’s tricks.
Attacking Donald Trump as untrustworthy on stopping illegal immigration—or having super PACs do it —will stick in the craw of elected Republicans. They are, for the most part, in full agreement with the 2012-vintage Trump on the issue. But it’s their only hope. Of course, it raises the awkward but all-important question: What would they do instead to address a voter concern that until now they have ignored or disdained?

* This article originally attributed the words in John Kasich’s campaign ad to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We regret the error.