Tag Archives: domestic terrorism

AG pick vows to take aim at domestic terror

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

America’s greatest enemy well might live, work and play within our own borders.

That potential enemy is going to be the No. 1 focus of the man picked to be the next attorney general. Merrick Garland, a federal judge selected by President Biden to lead the Justice Department, today vowed to battle domestic terrorists wherever they seek to do their evil deeds.

He also vowed to pursue those on extreme left as well as on the extreme right. More to the point, Garland told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that he considers the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill by the riotous mob be the most heinous attack on our government in our nation’s history.

The Wall Street Journal reported: “I think this was the most heinous attack on the democratic processes that I’ve ever seen, and one that I never expected to see in my lifetime,” Judge Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. He added that the current investigation into the riot—which has led to around 250 people facing criminal charges to date—appeared to be “extremely aggressive and perfectly appropriate.”

Merrick Garland Puts Focus on Domestic Extremism (msn.com)

Garland spoke to the Judiciary panel; he is likely to be approved strongly by the committee and confirmed with a significant bipartisan vote by the full Senate. Then he can get to work.

Indeed, there must be plenty of work done. The nation witnessed a horrific attack on our democratic system of government on Jan. 6. The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump just as he was preparing to leave office a week after the attack. He incited the insurrection, but a Senate trial ended with his acquittal when senators fell 10 votes short of convicting him.

The probe must go on. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared the need for a bipartisan investigation into the events leading up to the attack. Now we hear from the presumptive attorney general, declaring that he considers domestic terrorism to be his top priority. That, too, is welcome news.

What’s more — and this is critical — Garland told senators that he won’t be cowed by political pressure from anyone, including the president.

“I do not plan to be interfered with by anyone. I expect the Justice Department will make its own decisions in this regard,” Judge Garland said. “I would not have taken this job if I thought that politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations,” he said.

William Barr made a similar pledge as well, but it didn’t turn out that way while he ran the DOJ. Merrick Garland’s reputation commends him for the task he has been asked to undertake.

Rest assured, there will be plenty of American who are watching to ensure he makes good on his pledge to pursue the truth behind the heinous attack on Capitol Hill.

George P. Bush lays it out plainly: defeat ‘white terrorism’

You might remember when the late President George H.W. Bush once spoke affectionately of his grandchildren, whose parents are Jeb and Columba Bush … and how he referred to them as “my little brown ones.”

Their mother is from Mexico and the president took some undeserved heat for his comments.

One of the “little brown ones” has grown into a Texas elected official, serving as land commissioner. George P. Bush, furthermore, has joined the chorus of those of us who decry what he calls “white terrorism” in the wake of the El Paso massacre that resulted in the deaths of 20 victims.

I want to applaud  George P. for his stance, as he is one of the few Republican politicians at this moment willing to stand up and say what now appears more evident than ever — that the shooter, also a Texan, who opened fire in the El Paso Wal-Mart store was stirred by virulent hatred of dark-skinned immigrants from Latin America.

Bush took to Twitter to make his feelings known. They lend an important voice to this ever-growing national debate.

“I believe fighting terrorism remains a national priority. And that should include standing firm against white terrorism,” Bush said.

He went on: “There have now been multiple attacks from self-declared white terrorist here in the U.S. in the past several months. This is a real and present threat that we must all denounce and defeat.”

Bingo, Mr. Land Commissioner.

Now, let’s all wait to hear from the nation’s top politician, the man at the top of the political food chain, the commander in chief, the head of state … and the apparent source of much of the hatred that has spilled out since he became president of the United States.

Gun violence: tragedies built on mountain of complexity

Another massacre has stabbed the nation in its heart. The wound is deep.

El Paso, Texas, has fallen victim to the insanity of gun violence. Twenty people are dead; 26 are injured. A 21-year-old Allen, Texas, resident is under arrest and will face charges of capital murder.

What motivated the shooter to do what he did?

Police have found a screed written by someone. It is fervently anti-immigrant. Its contents border on a form of white supremacy. Police are saying that if it’s proven the young man in custody wrote the screed he will be charged with a hate crime.

We now are entering the world of “domestic terrorism,” which is what this tragedy is sounding like.

Don’t you remember when these crimes provoked debate about accessing guns, about the proliferation of firearms, about how Congress and the president fail continually to enact laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them?

Those issues remain on the table. Now they are joined by the issue of hate, of angry political rhetoric that some suggest spurs these hateful actions. They join the threat of international terrorism, which occasionally becomes the focus of these crimes when they’re committed by those angered by foreign policy decisions related to our nation’s ongoing war against terrorists.

It is boggling my mind. However, the El Paso massacre is looking more and more like an act of domestic terror.

My hope at this very moment is that the Texas Rangers, the FBI, El Paso County and municipal police investigators can get answers for us in short order so we can sort out the motive.

If it is as many of us suspect, then we need to launch a full-out, frontal attack on those who would terrorize fellow Americans in such a heinous manner.

‘Very nice’, Mr. President? Umm, no!

“I think my language is very nice.” 

So said the president of the United States today when a reporter asked him if his fiery anti-media, anti-Democrat rhetoric might have fueled the alleged planned attack by a self-described white supremacist.

Actually, his language isn’t “very nice.” Not at all. He calls the media the “enemy of the people.” Donald Trump’s rhetoric has prompted outward cheers from Klansmen, neo-Nazis and others on the far right who believe the 2016 election produced a president to their liking.

One of them allegedly was the U.S. Coast Guard officer who was arrested on charged that he was planning an act of domestic terrorism against members of the media and Democratic politicians.

Trump didn’t take responsibility for how his rhetoric might have stoked this individual’s reported hatred for those who have been critical of the president.

Whether it contributed to whatever has been alleged against this latest white supremacist remains to be seen. I’ll stand by my own assertion, though, that his language has been far from “very nice.”

Trump speaks out about domestic terror threat . . . finally!

It took him a while, but the president of the United States has weighed in — more or less — on the arrest of a Coast Guard officer who allegedly has mounted threats against Democratic politicians and members of the media.

Donald Trump’s response was, shall we say, a bit more tepid of a message than he has delivered against, say, NFL football players who “take a knee” during the National Anthem. Trump told reporters today that “it’s a very sad thing when a thing like that happens.” He has yet to condemn the individual who is accused of plotting the attack.

The self-proclaimed white supremacist had developed a lengthy hit list of targets, including members of cable news networks and a smattering of progressive/far left/liberal politicians — Democrats, if you please.

Trump was silent for a week. He didn’t say a single word about the arrest. It’s not as if he didn’t have time. The president made the effort during that time to fire off Twitter messages about a wide-ranging manner of issues: Robert Mueller’s investigation, Andrew McCabe’s new book about his service with the FBI, Jessie Smollett’s arrest of disorderly conduct in connection with a charge of filing a false police report that claimed he was the victim of a hate crime.

The president cannot, therefore, say he was “too busy” to bother with a tweet about an alleged act of domestic terrorism from a member of the so-called “alt right.”

Trump scraps domestic terror effort

Does it surprise you to learn that Donald J. Trump plans to toss out an Obama-era program to finance an effort to root out the causes of domestic terrorism?

Yeah, me neither.

That’s the plan, though, as the president reportedly is going to discontinue a grant program created by the Barack Obama administration that was supposed to be funded yearly. But no! The Trump administration said it’s a one-time-only grant. So the Department of Homeland Security won’t keep it going.

The timing of this announcement is stunning as well.

It comes a week after Cesar Sayoc was arrested on charges that he sent pipe bombs to opponents of Donald Trump, as well as to a major media outlet. They’re all Democrats, either politicians or Democratic political figures. Did I mention that two of the intended targets were former presidents of the United States and one of them is a former vice president? There. I just did.

So the president doesn’t want to keep this effort going.

Why is that? Oh, it’s no doubt going to be argued by some — and I can buy their argument — that Trump wants to get rid of it because it originated during Barack Obama’s time as president.

The Countering Violent Extremism Grant spends $10 million annually on efforts to examine the causes of domestic violence and terrorism. Yes, it’s a scourge in this country. Hate groups have gotten more brazen in recent years. The slaughter of 11 congregants at the Pittsburgh synagogue symbolizes what I’m talking about; a suspect has been arrested and charged with 29 hate-crime-related felonies.

But the president wants to discontinue a valuable grant aimed at rooting out domestic terrorism?


Waiting for president to perform unwritten task

Presidents of the United States inherit an array of constitutional duties and, yes, unwritten and unspoken roles they must perform.

We expect it of them when the moment arrives. It almost always does so without warning.

A space shuttle explodes 73 seconds after liftoff and President Reagan consoles the nation in utter shock; another shuttle disintegrates on re-entry and President Bush performs the same duty; a bomber destroys a federal court building in Oklahoma City, and President Clinton steps up to soothe our anxiety; a madman slaughters 20 children and six teachers at a Connecticut elementary school and President Obama wipes away tears of anguish while honoring the victims.

Then, of course, there was 9/11 and President Bush called on the nation to mourn as one and to fight as one.

Someone mailed pipe bombs to Democratic political figures and a major cable news outlet. What do we get from the current president? We hear him fling blame at Democrats, at the “fake news” media, at his foes.

Donald Trump can recite the correct words. He has done so with regard to the pipe bombs that were mailed to his adversaries. He did so again in response to the massacre at the Pittsburgh synagogue this weekend.

I watch him and wonder whether he feels it. I cannot read his mind or plumb his heart and soul. It’s just a sense I get that he doesn’t embrace this role he agreed to play when he took the oath as president of the United States.

Donald Trump hears the calls for civility in our debate. He then accepts campaign rally crowds’ chants of “CNN sucks!” and doesn’t stop them. He doesn’t tamp down the rage among his supporters. He doesn’t tell them to quell the mob conduct.

Members of the administration have condemned the hatred demonstrated in recent days. The president has joined them in condemning the acts of hate crimes against religious groups … only to crack a joke about canceling an event because of a “bad hair day.”

I wish I could hope the president can learn how to perform this task. I cannot. I have lost that hope.

It saddens me beyond measure.

Calling the Obamas and Clintons? ‘We’ll pass’

I want to hand Donald J. Trump a most left-handed compliment.

The president at least had the stones to acknowledge that he won’t do the decent thing as it regards two of his presidential predecessors.

Cesar Sayoc was arrested in Florida by the FBI in connection with a series of pipe bombs sent to various Democratic political figures and to CNN. Two of the intended victims of the domestic terrorists were former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

A reporter asked Trump this week if he intended to call his predecessors presumably to assure them that they are safe and that the administration will do all it can to ensure their safety and that of all Americans.

Trump said, “We’ll pass.”

There you have it. The decent thing to do would be to … oh, you know what that is.


Call for ‘unity’ gives way to more attacks

It’s been quite clear that Donald Trump’s calls for “unity” and “compassion” are as hollow as his claim of being a “self-made” zillionaire.

The president recited the correct words as federal, state and law enforcement officials apprehended a suspect believed to be responsible for sending pipe bombs to the president’s political foes and a major media organization.

Then he returned almost immediately to form.

He blasted Democrats as wanting to take the nation on a track to “socialism.” Moreover, he blamed the media for fomenting the anger that has infected the nation’s political debate.

No mention, of course, of his own role in the anger that allegedly prompted Cesar Sayoc to send out the bombs.

In a more perfect political world, the president of the United States would talk at his campaign rallies about the specifics of his policy proposals, rather than merely attacking those on the other side.

He would, for instance:

  • Articulate why his tax policies would help individuals and families.
  • Explain in detail why the nation wants to declare trade wars with its trading partners worldwide.
  • Line out — with specifics — his view that the nation’s environmental policies haven’t improved the environment and why they’re harmful to job growth.
  • Explain, again with detail and context, why the government is considering an elimination of the term “transgender.”

He won’t do any of that. He will rely on applause lines spoken to fervent crowds of supporters. He will continue to applaud chants of “Lock her up!” when the crowd erupts in anger at Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Trump is sincerely insincere

He’ll continue to applaud a politician who assaults a reporter while decrying “political violence.” He will keep insisting that the media are using the bomb/terror story for “political gain” against Republicans.

Unity, Mr. President? Sure thing. The man’s calls for unity don’t mean a single thing.

Going to name this suspect

I made a command decision regarding this blog some time back that I wouldn’t use the names of mass murderers connected with shootings.

The guy nabbed today as a suspect in the series of pipe bombs mailed to prominent political figures gives me a chance to make an exception.

The FBI, the Postal Service inspector’s crew, local police have taken Cesar Sayoc into custody. He’s been charged, so far, with five counts related to the sending of these devices to various individuals who either have criticized Donald Trump or been criticized by the president.

Why the change of heart? Heck, I don’t know. I guess I just feel like using this guy’s name.

Sayoc faces a prison term of 58 years if he’s convicted of the crimes for which he’s been charged. He’s 56 now, so if he serves a full federal prison term, he’s likely to die in the slammer.

I’ve published the names of other terrorists, such as Mohammad Atta, one of the monsters who flew a jetliner into one of the Twin Towers on 9/11. I’m going to put Sayoc into the same category.

Thankfully, he didn’t kill anyone. But he stands as one of the nation’s most notorious criminal suspects.

It’s amazing in the extreme that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were able to make this arrest so quickly. FBI Director Christopher Wray said it succinctly today when providing some details into the arrest: Once the FBI obtained fingerprints and DNA from one of the envelopes intercepted, they knew they could zero in quickly on the suspect, Wray said.

It turns out Sayoc has a criminal record. His name is easy to spot on the criminal information data bases available to law enforcement officials.

I take my hat off to the various agencies that secured this arrest. Yes, I know we all have to mindful of the fact that Sayoc hasn’t been convicted of anything; therefore, we have to use the word “alleged” and “suspect” generously while commenting on this guy.

I have a hunch that we’ll be able to remove the qualifiers in pretty short order.