Friday, February 19, 2016


Wisconsin Strips $7.5 Million From Abortion Giant Planned Parenthood

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

MADISON, Wisc. — The Republican governor of Wisconsin signed two bills into law this week that strip the abortion giant Planned Parenthood of $7.5 million and redirect aid toward uncontroversial women’s health organizations.
Gov. Scott Walker held an official signing ceremony on Thursday at Life’s Connection in Waukesha, a non-profit organization that provides alternatives to abortion, where S.B. 237 and S.B. 238 received their final approval.
“Today, we signed two bills into law that prioritize women’s health while improving government and its services to the citizens of Wisconsin,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “We want to make sure as taxpayers, whether it’s state funds or federal funds that come through the state of Wisconsin, that they’re used in the way that’s responsible and reasonable.”

S.B. 237 diverts federal Title X funding from organizations that offer abortion services, meaning that approximately $3.5 million dollars will be stripped from Planned Parenthood. S.B. 238 places a limit on how much family planning groups can be reimbursed by Medicaid for prescriptions, which is estimated to cost Planned Parenthood $4 million.
SB 237 was approved by the Assembly last year and the Senate in January. SB 328 was approved by the state Senate in January and passed the state Assembly last week.
While the bills do not specifically mention Planned Parenthood, author Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, acknowledged to reporters that the legislation will affect the organization.
“This is a consistent stance with where I have always been, where many others in this body have always been, and that is, we are going to protect life,” he told the Cap Times. “I believe that that begins at conception, and I believe that one of the cornerstones of the Declaration of Independence and what our Constitution is drafted around is the protection of life.”
Pro-life and pro-family groups applauded the move.
“Wisconsin taxpayers shouldn’t be forced into this immoral partnership with Planned Parenthood, especially when better, low-cost community health care providers serve women and families far more comprehensively and outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities in Wisconsin 17 to 1,” said Casey Mattox of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
But Planned Parenthood viewed the legislation as a means to end abortion.
“The move was the latest in a long line of attacks by the governor and the Republican-controlled state legislature on the health of Wisconsin women and families,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.
The organization also threatened to file suit.
“The law is directed just at Planned Parenthood. It’s to cut our funding so we can’t provide services,” Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Director of government relations Nicole Safar told Newsday. “Legal action is certainly on the table. The law singles out Planned Parenthood.”
Some, however, state that the bills do not go far enough as they do not result in a total defunding of the abortion giant.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs bill costing Planned Parenthood $8 million

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

WAUKESHA, Wisconsin, February 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Governor Scott Walker has signed two bills that will deprive Wisconsin's Planned Parenthood offices of an estimated $8 million.
Even the site of the signing, a pro-life women's pregnancy center named Life's Connection in Waukesha, underscored that the governor embraced a new culture on abortion.
Assembly Bill 310 redirects the state's Title X funding away from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) to other community health providers, a strategy favored by Republicans at the national level. It is expected to cost PPWI $3.5 million annually in tax revenue.
Currently, Planned Parenthood is the only statewide recipient of Title X funding. The bill passed the Assembly by a 60-35 vote.
“Cutting Planned Parenthood’s public funding is a fiscally and morally responsible step that furthers a culture of life in the great state of Wisconsin," said Pro-Life Wisconsin State Director Dan Miller. “Pro-Life Wisconsin is grateful to Gov. Walker for signing into law legislation that respects the consciences of Wisconsin taxpayers who oppose public funding of abortion."
The second new law (S.B. 238) only allows Planned Parenthood to bill Medicaid for the actual cost of contraceptives, a move that will save taxpayers an estimated $4.5 million.
In 2014, the state's Department of Health Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that two family planning facilities alone had charged the Medicaid program more than twice their allowable cost for birth control. Planned Parenthood warned, if it had to obey the law on reimbursements, it would have to close some of its offices. PPWI's public policy director, Nicole Safar, said at the time such an action would trigger “clinic closing” actions statewide.
The prospect did not concern the state's pro-life leaders. "Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin profits from killing unborn babies and sexualizing our youth," Miller said. "This is not health care but rather a violation of the trust of women and families."
That bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 61-35. Both passed the state Senate by a more narrow, 19-14 vote.
Representative André Jacque and Senator Chris Kapenga co-authored both pieces of legislation.
“Today, we signed two bills into law that prioritize women’s health while improving government and its services to the citizens of Wisconsin,” said Gov. Walker, a onetime 2016 Republican presidential front runner. “These bills require DHS to apply for additional federal funding for women’s health services to be obtained from less controversial providers and ensure prescription reimbursement processes are handled in a cost-based and transparent manner.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox, who testified on behalf of both bills, said today, "The taxpayers deserve better than an organization with a long track record of abusive and potentially fraudulent billing practices, that have been caught in authenticated undercover videos negotiating prices for baby body parts, and that have repeatedly failed to report the sexual abuse of girls.”


Mormon Governor Herbert: "For elected officials ... to, say, pick and choose which laws they will enforce, I think, is a tragedy and the next step toward anarchy."



Utah Governor Says Using Anesthesia 

On Babies Being Murdered May Be 

‘Most Humane’ Abortion Method

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Republican governor of Utah said on Wednesday that he would consider signing a proposed bill requiring the use of anesthesia on babies that are being murdered in the womb, opining that it may be the “most humane” way of ending a child’s life.
Gov. Gary Herbert said that he is personally opposed to abortion, but remarked that if the practice is considered legal in America, it should be carried out as “humanely” as possible.
“You know, abortion is a very emotional issue,” he told reporters at a news conference. “Rather than get into the abortion debate, I guess the question is: If we’re going to have abortion, what is the most humane way to do it?”
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, is currently working on drafting legislation to require anesthesia use on babies that are at a gestational point where they would feel pain. He told local radio station WKSL that the goal of the bill would be to circumvent “the pain inflicted at the time that that unborn child’s life is taken.”
Herbert said that he would generally be in support of “eliminat[ing] that discomfort,” but would need to read the language of the measure before making a definite statement about the concept. He stated that he doesn’t know when a child feels pain, but noted that babies are found to have a heartbeat within mere weeks of being conceived.
“Fetuses have a heartbeat after about five weeks,” Herbert outlined. “And the idea of just being callous about that should cause all of humanity concern.”
Planned Parenthood is already opposed to the legislation, as Karrie Galloway, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said that she considers such efforts to be government intrusion into women’s lives.
“Obviously, he wants to insert his political opinion in a private decision between a woman and her physician,” she said of Bramble in speaking with Deseret News.
During his 1854 introductory lecture to his obstetrics course at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Hugh Lennox Hodge declared, “We blush, while we record the fact that in this country, in our cities and towns, in this city, where literature, science, morality and Christianity are supposed to have so much influence; where all the domestic and social virtues are reported as being in full and delightful exercise; even here, individuals, male and female, exist, who are continually imbruing (staining) their hands and consciences in the blood of unborn infants.”
“Yea, even medical men are to be found, who for some trifling pecuniary recompense, will poison the fountains of life, or forcibly induce labor to the certain destruction of the fetus, and not so infrequently of its parent,” he lamented. “So low, gentleman, is the moral sense of community on this subject. So ignorant are even the greater number of individuals, that even mothers in many instances shrink not at the commission of this crime, but will voluntarily destroy their own progeny, in violation of every natural sentiment, and in opposition to the laws of God and man.”
Nearly 60 million children have been aborted in America since the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.
Herbert on "Gay Rights":
Salt Lake City has passed a non-discrimination ordinance which would protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination in employment and housing. A member of the Utah Legislature has indicated he would seek a statewide law to prevent cities from passing ordinances related to civil rights. As a strong supporter of local control, Herbert has said he believes municipalities should have the right to pass rules and ordinances absent state interference.
On August 27, 2009, Herbert indicated at a news conference that he did not support making sexual orientation a legally protected class, saying: "We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we don't."
The gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah, which seeks to expand anti-discrimination laws to cover gay people, criticized Herbert's statements and expressed the view that he did not fully comprehend the challenges faced by gay people in Utah.
Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Utah by a US district court ruling on December 20, 2013, Herbert's office issued a statement immediately following the ruling: "I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah. I am working with my legal counsel and the acting Attorney General to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah." Shortly thereafter, the Attorney General's office did indeed request an emergency stay to stop further same-sex marriages from occurring in the state.
After elected officials in Oregon and Pennsylvania chose not to defend same-sex marriage bans from constitutional challenge, Herbert expressed his disappointment by saying, "For elected officials ... to, say, pick and chose which laws they will enforce, I think, is a tragedy and the next step toward anarchy." He disagreed with the comparison between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, saying, "Clearly the actions involved in sexual activity ultimately end up being choices. What your attraction may be is something else, but how you act upon those impulses is a choice."
On March 12, 2015, Herbert, in a special ceremony, signed into law a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing in the state of Utah, becoming the 19th state to do so. Later that year, Herbert was criticized by LGBT activists for planning to hold the welcome address at the World Congress of Families' congress in Salt Lake City.




Pope Francis Declares Donald Trump
"Not Christian" 




Pope Francis at the Basilica of Guadalupe

Clips of Pope's Visit

Pope Francis Doesn't Like Donald Trump
Published on Feb 19, 2016
The Pope says Trump is not a Christian because he calls for building a wall, meanwhile lives behind a massive wall that surrounds the entire Vatican City. It's not just Trump who's sick of the hypocrisy

Read more:

The Pope: A Classic Fake Liberal


Monumental Audacity:

Obama Grabs Huge Western Lands 

by Executive Order

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

In a move that has environmental militants exulting and western farmers, ranchers, and property owners fuming, President Obama has locked up 1.8 million acres by executive fiat, with the stroke of a pen. Millions more acres are planned to follow, part of the Obama administration’s boast to use “audacious executive actions” — read unconstitutional usurpations — to advance his radical “transformative” agenda during his last months in office.
While in California on a fundraising expedition, President Obama took time on February 12 to sign an executive order proclaiming three new national monuments, imposing the strictest of federal restrictions on 1.8 million acres of the Golden State. The three new illegally created monuments are Mojave Trails National Monument (1.6 million acres), the Sand to Snow National Monument (154,000 acres), and the Castle Mountains National Monument (21,000 acres).
"In addition to permanently protecting incredible natural resources, wildlife habitat and unique historic and cultural sites, and providing recreational opportunities for a burgeoning region, the monuments will support climate resiliency in the region," the White House said in a statement. However, the designation as monuments means that these newly "protected" areas will be off-limits to mining and mineral exploration, oil and gas drilling, grazing, timber harvest — and even to many of the current recreational uses such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and off-road vehicle usage that the public previously has enjoyed. But that’s OK, because it’s all in the greater interest, allegedly, of “protecting” the environment and combating global warming, according to the president.
As of this writing, the administration’s website opens with a beautiful landscape photo of sand dunes and rocky crags, with this greeting emblazoned on the desert sky: “Find Your Park — America's Newest National Monuments — President Obama designated three new national monuments in the California desert. He has now protected more land and water than any president in history.”
Protected? Critics say he has seized or stolen the areas in question. This is but the latest salvo in President Obama’s planned lockup of hundreds of millions of acres, which we first exposed in The New American six years ago. In a 2010 articleThe New American's Joe Wolverton reported on a secret 21-page Obama memo revealed by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, which identified 14 pieces of land that “might be good candidates” for unilateral executive land grabs utilizing the Antiquities Act. In the past two years, Obama has been especially aggressive in using executive orders to implement these planned lockups.
“We’ll Do Audacious Executive Action”
On January 13, 2016, Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, bluntly forecast the “audacious” actions to come. Speaking to reporters, McDonough announced: “We’ll do audacious executive action over the course of the rest of the year. I’m confident of that.... We do want to make sure that the executive actions we undertake are not left hanging out there, subject to Congress undoing them.”
President Obama has repeatedly stated his intention to legislate by executive order from the Oval Office, if Congress doesn’t rubber-stamp his every whim as law. And he has proceeded to make good on that threat, issuing unconstitutional orders on illegal alien amnesty, temporary worker visas, gun control, draconian environmental regulations, and much more. Designating national monuments is a very important component of his plan for “audacious” executive action. “In his seven years in office, Obama has established 22 national monuments and expanded others to set aside more than 265 million acres of land and water,” noted the UPI news service on February 13.
And he’s not through yet. Among the additional targets in the federal cross hairs is the proposed mammoth Owyhee Canyonlands National Monument in eastern Oregon, encompassing much of the land where the recent conflict erupted that culminated in the shooting death of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum by federal and state law enforcement on January 26 and the arrest of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan. The Owyhee Canyonlands proposal would lock up 2.5 million acres, an enormous chunk of Oregon the size of Yellowstone National Park, and would effectively kill cattle ranching in the area, the only viable economic activity in the region since the federal government killed all the timber/wood products industries by closing down the national forests, using various specious environmental concerns. The gluttonous gobbling up of millions more acres and the hobbling of all means of livelihood for the people who live and work on or near the public lands is a guarantee of escalating conflict.
As we have noted in our recent article “The Federal Bootprint,” the federal agencies managing the national monument lands (National Park Service, BLM, Forest Service) are already grossly mismanaging the vast areas they currently hold and are $16 billion-21 billion behind in critical maintenance. With this record — along with their other atrocious mismanagement records — they have no business adding still more real estate to their portfolio, even if they had constitutional authority to do so — which they don’t.
Article 1, Section 1, Sentence 1 of the U.S. Constitution states: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” That’s crystal clear: All legislative (lawmaking) powers are delegated to Congress, not the president or any federal agency or bureaucrat. Equally important is the “herein granted” clause, which refers specifically to the powers enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. So, even though “all legislative powers” have been bestowed on Congress, those legislative powers may be exercised in only those areas permitted by the Constitution. Presidential usurpation of powers through executive orders has been proceeding for decades, virtually unchallenged, with both Democrat and Republican presidents rampantly abusing the device, always concentrating more and more power in the executive, pushing us ever closer to outright dictatorship.
We have mentioned the enumeration of legislative powers in Article 1, Section 8 of our U.S. Constitution. A crucial feature of this section is the limitation on the federal government’s ownership of land. According to the Constitution, our law of the land, “The Congress shall have Power … To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”
As The New American explained in an earlier article, this means:
The federal government was allowed to have a 10-mile square (100 square miles) for a seat of government. Property for “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals,” etc., for national defense purposes, could be purchased from the states if the state legislatures consented. That’s it. Under Article IV, the federal government is allowed to acquire new territory, which is to be “disposed” of by turning it over to the new state government when the territory is admitted into statehood. Newly created states are to be admitted on an “equal footing” with the original 13 states, meaning with full sovereignty over their lands, not with a distant federal landlord controlling 30 percent, 50 percent, or 90 percent of their land and resources.
The Obama administration and its “green” allies are pushing audaciously and relentlessly now because they are well aware of the mounting anger and resistance to tyrannical federal controls. This is most acutely felt — and emphatically expressed — in the Western states, where the federal boot print is largest and heaviest, and where efforts are maturing to wrest the “public lands” from federal control and transfer them to the states, where, constitutionally, control belongs.
It is time for the American people to support efforts by legislators and citizens in the Western states to claim their rightful “equal footing” as sovereign states — the same as the rest of the states — not colonies to be ruled by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, or any other federal politician or bureaucrat. It is also time for the American people to insist that their representatives in Congress stand up to the president, take back “all legislative powers herein granted,” limit executive orders to their original executive branch “housekeeping” functions, void the vast majority of previous orders, and stop this audacious, mad rush toward tyranny.
Related articles:
Utah Congressmen Form Federal Land Group to Return Control to States 

Obama Wants To Land Grab
Whining He Needs Money For Theft
Published on Oct 24, 2015
Hussein Obama has a two pronged attack for us in this week’s Marxist offering. He combines the customary, “I can’t even fart without blaming it on climate change” message and an update on the latest offenses he’s throwing our way, with some noteworthy whining about Congress turning off the spigot for his land sequestration programs.

He boasts of partnering with large, many predatory, companies in racing to the trough of climate change profiteering and how it’s beneficial to their bottom lines. Subsidies, loan guarantees, tax credits and other incentives to pillage the American people in the name of “government” fraud isn’t something most Americans would be proud of, but these are the new “global citizen” corporations. They, just like the regime in power, couldn’t care less about what’s good for America. Like Obama says, it’s all about their bottom line.

He pitches the same lies; repeating it until it is believed as true, that the earth is warming and we’re the ones doing it. He stresses the importance of racing into Paris and signing up for subjugation to the UN and the privilege of paying carbon atonement taxes, with everybody in Obama’s circle of oligarchs getting a piece of the action along the way.

Western Land Grab

Huge Land Grab In New Mexico! Obama Seizes Half a Million Acres Along Mexican Border!
Published on May 20, 2014
President Obama on Wednesday will declare a national monument in southern New Mexico, delivering a win for environmentalists but angering ranchers and local law enforcement, who say the land restrictions will end up creating a safe haven for drug cartels to operate within the U.S.
Mr. Obama will declare about 500,000 acres as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. About half of that land is expected to be set aside as wilderness, meaning it will be closed to vehicles and construction.

FOX: DeMint Discusses Obama Plans for Land Grab
Uploaded on Mar 10, 2010
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) discusses a memo revealing that the Obama Administration is considering plans to seize over 10 million acres of land in nine Western states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington by designating 14 sites as national monuments without congressional approval or local input (Mar. 9, 2010).

Obama Signs Executive Order To Legalize
BLM's Land Grabs
Published on May 13, 2014
According to the release: The newly obtained 14 pages further detail plans within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to completely overhaul the way federal lands are managed in the U.S., including the creation of new ecosystem areas that require the acquisition of new federal lands. The plans would vastly expand the power, reach and control of federal land managers.

Furthermore, Bishop noted: "These 14 pages are further evidence of this Administration's efforts, under the guidance of Secretary Salazar, to control western lands by unilaterally locking them up without input from local residents and stakeholders nor the approval of Congress. Their plotting behind closed doors is disingenuous at best and flies in the face of this Administration's so-called 'transparency'"

Hitting on the most subtle effects the Executive Order is set to have, Bishop included a few points from the 14 missing pages: Page 3, paragraph 6: The sentence, "In order to expand this network of treasured lands to include the diversity of landscapes currently managed by the BLM...," shows that the Administration is working to broaden the jurisdictional scope of lands currently managed by the BLM. Page 5, paragraph 5: The sentence, "Should the legislative process not prove fruitful, or if a nationally significant natural or cultural land resource were to come under threat of imminent harm, the BLM would recommend that the Administration consider using the Antiquities Act...," shows that the Administration is constructing a new management structure without the approval of Congress. Page 6 (b), page 7 (4.), page 8 (3.): Details planning for further land acquisition and funding mechanisms. Page 7, paragraph 1; Page 6, paragraph 7: By their own numbers, the Administration will target the "acute" problem of private landholdings in BLM administered areas to the sum of 412,675 acres, or more than 370,000 football fields. Page 9, paragraph 5: The sentence, "The BLM recommends that any major funding increases be phased in over a five-year period to allow the BLM time to build capacity in order to accomplish the increased work-load," shows that the BLM will require an increase in funding to accommodate the proposed expanded management of lands throughout the West.

Bishop concluded his released noting: "I remain committed to forcing Secretary Salazar and all others involved in this matter into the light of full transparency, which as these documents prove, is not a place they seem to be comfortable. But this potential land and power grab needs to exposed, it needs to be laid out before the public, and it needs to be stopped."





Kerry with Hollywood execs

John Kerry meets with Hollywood studio chiefs to discuss the Islamic State

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Kerry tweeted that the meeting was about how to counter the Islamic State’s narrative. So apparently there will now be movies that make the point that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam: pious Muslim clerics fighting nobly and indefatigably against the Islamic State, and the like.
During World War II, Hollywood educated Americans about the threat they faced, and stirred them to fight it. Today a pro-American, anti-jihad movie is an unusual, controversial event.
“John Kerry Meets With Hollywood Studio Chiefs to Discuss ISIS,” by Ted Johnson, Variety, February 16, 2016 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
Secretary of State John Kerry met with the heads of major studios on Tuesday to talk about how to counter the ISIS narrative.
“Great convo(cation) w/ studio execs in LA. Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative,” Kerry tweeted, along with a photo of his meeting with Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd; Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara; DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; 20th Century Fox Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos; 20th Century Fox Co-Chair Stacey Snider; Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Production; Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley; Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group; Universal Pictures President Jimmy Horowitz; Amblin Partners CEO Michael Wright; and NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer.
Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic phrase “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa al-Sham,” another term for ISIS. The terrorist group reportedly hates the term, but western leaders have been using it instead of Islamic State.
The meeting was held at Universal Studios, and lasted about 90 minutes.
One attendee who was there said that the executives also exchanged ideas and observations about studio worldwide marketing of movies and TV shows, a way of showing how narrative storytelling can cross cultures. The attendee described part of the gathering as a “brainstorming session,” including how to involve storytellers in regions afflicted or threatened by ISIS, as a way to counter the narratives promulgated by the terrorist organization. “Let’s figure out how to involve people who are there,” the attendee said….

John Kerry’s Ridiculous Trip to Hollywood

Column: Rich liberal movie executives don’t know how to defeat ISIS
SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Oh, to have been at John Kerry’s meeting Tuesday with a dozen Hollywood executives at Universal Studios. To have sat in one of the cushy leather chairs beneath a vintage poster for The Phantom of the Opera, sipping bottled water, relaxing in the Mediterranean climate of southern California, and been solicited by the U.S. secretary of State for advice on how to defeat radical Islam. What a confirmation of one’s status in the film industry, of one’s place in the global economy, of one’s importance to the Democratic Party. “Great convo(cation) w(ith) studio execs in LA,” Kerry tweeted after the discussion, “Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative.”
If there is one thing we know about Hollywood executives, it is that they are full of perspectives, have plenty of ideas. You need to tell our story, Mr. Secretary. Fix the plot point in Act Two. The tweets we are sending to convince young Muslim men not to join the Caliphate—do they have character arcs? Are they bankable? We can work with the Chinese on this; they keep telling Jeffrey about their problem with the Uighurs. Perhaps we could enlist actors to speak out against ISIS. A public service announcement, with Hillary Swank gazing sadly into the camera—that might make Ahad al Islam think twice about taking a Yazidi sex slave. Or have Steven Spielberg direct a short film on American efforts to combat Islamophabia. We can get Kushner to write it: “Allah in America”! It won’t be anything big, just 10 or 20 minutes long. A cost effective plan, if we can leverage viral propagation. I know George Clooney will be interested. When we stopped by the villa after Cannes last year Amal said something about how terrible it is, the killing. And it is terrible, awful. And the refugees: We can partner with Go Pro. Give them cameras to tell their stories. We’ll edit them here, in one of our studio bays, and release them via Youtube. They’ll become memes. And the memes can link back to the State Department homepage about all you and the president are doing to show that ISIS has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. No we missed Davos this year because we were getting ready for Sundance. But anyway we have to be sure not to offend anyone. That would be the worst. That would just play into ISIS’s hands. Can you believe what Donald Trump said? Terrible. Sets us back. By the way Mr. Secretary my nephew is a junior at Tufts and is just soooo interested in foreign policy. He wants to write his thesis on the Israel Lobby and would just die if he could intern in your office this summer. Yes, Sam, that is his name—you met him windsurfing in Nantucket last summer—you remember him! Well, he’s just so proud of you. We are all just so proud of you. Of course that’s a brilliant idea: a movie about a government official standing up for diplomacy in the face of bitter opposition from the warmongers at home and abroad. About a man who’s been trying to do the right thing ever since he went to war and saw America lose her sense of morality, and who’s been trying to get it back for her. That’s, well, that’s beautiful. We could get James Cromwell to star. Who wrote it? You? Sure, I’d love to take a look.
The State Department would have us believe that Kerry schlepped to Universal Studios in service of national security. “This is not just a military battle. It’s a battle of ideas between competing narratives,” Kerry’s aide Richard Stengel, a former parrot of the conventional wisdom at Timetold CBS. “Hollywood is one of the greatest competitive advantages we have as a country. It’s revered all around the planet. It’s our second largest export.” But let’s interrupt Stengel’s rationalizations with some real talk. This meeting wasn’t public diplomacy. It was donor service.
Together, eleven of the executives who furnished Kerry with perspectives and ideas have contributed more than $1.5 million to the Democratic Party. Throw in the $6.5 million that Jeffrey Katzenberg has given, and the total rises to more than $8 million. One of the executives present was Chris Dodd, the former Democratic senator, who is now Hollywood’s top lobbyist in Washington. The industry pays him several million dollars a year to preserve its tax breaks. Before he became secretary of State, John Kerry was the richest member of the U.S. Senate, with a fortune approaching $200 million.
So here we have a group of pale cisgenders (non-transgenders), only two of which are womyn (feminist term for "women"), whose collective net worth is more than a billion dollars, sitting in a circle in a Los Angeles conference room and rapping about how to connect with a poor teenage Cairene before he blows up or beheads someone. I rack my brain trying to come up with a more out-of-touch moment, an image that better symbolizes the aloof and clueless way John Kerry performs the duties of his office. I come up short.
Richard Stengel is right to say the American film industry is one of our largest exports. But it’s ridiculous that he does not admit, or perhaps does not understand, that one of the things Islamic holy warriors fight against is precisely the American film industry and the secular humanistic values it stands for. In “a battle of competing narratives” between the United States and ISIS, Hollywood is not an asset but a liability. It represents everything the jihadists despise.
And it’s lousy at propaganda. Has been since Top Gun (Fire Birds was okay when I was 9). The movies Hollywood has made that reference the war on terror have been exercises in ambiguity, nuance, and moral complexity, ballads to the fallen, meditations on our defeats. Some of those movies are quite good: Blackhawk DownZero Dark Thirty, Lone Survivor13 Hours. But even the worthy titles fail as “counter narrative.” Successful propaganda is not elegiac. It is not apologetic. It is assertive. Triumphal.
Consider how ISIS does it. The terrorists have mastered a sort of pornography, the ideological snuff film that establishes the Caliphate as a sweeping and expanding army of believers. ISIS not only says it represents Islam. It says it represents the true and resurgent Islam that is following a master plan to conquer the world. Join the army now, the videos and magazines and tweets proclaim, to capture the élan of victory, to enjoy the spoils of war, the status of the elect.
What does the liberalism of John Kerry have to offer against this confident and coherent ideology—attractive not only to single young Arabs but also to detached and adrift Westerners—but hemming and hawing, bashful looks at one’s feet, excuses for misdeeds, and what must seem like condescending promises of tolerance and diversity and inclusion, of the chance to buy an encrypted iPhone, the opportunity to be cast as an extra in Modern Family?
The way to defeat the ISIS “narrative” is to defeat ISIS militarily. Only by killing a lot of terrorists, by lowering the black flag that flies over Raqaa, by arresting operatives, censoring domestic propaganda, and stopping the refugee flow can the United States subvert the notion in a young jihadist’s head that by joining ISIS he is joining the winning team. A successful U.S. “narrative” and “storytelling” campaign would highlight combat success at the platoon level, military valor, the economic and scientific and moral triumphs of our democratic society, would argue feistily and confidently that the American system is not only one system but the best system, for everyone, and that Western values of freedom and equality before the law are superior to all others.
In order for the Obama administration and Hollywood to launch such a campaign, of course, they would have to possess such things as moral certitude and an unapologetic firmness in the virtues of America, as it exists today. And if John Kerry and Hollywood do not have those things, perhaps someone will pay Chris Dodd at least $3 million a year to lobby for them?