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10101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 09, 2008, 04:17:32 PM

Yemen Observer: http://www.yobserver.com
I’m born again, says freed Gitmo detainee
Posted in: Front Page
Written By: Nasser Arrabyee
Article Date: Oct 22, 2007 - 8:58:57 AM

Sadeq Mohammed Saeed returned home to Ibb after nearly 6 years.
“I’m still a stranger in this world, I’m a new born,” said the 23-year old Sadeq Mohammed Saeed when he arrived home after a long and torturous detainment in Guantanamo Bay detention center. Sadeq was one of four Yemeni men who were returned to their families on October 12, 2007, after spending about six years in the notorious detention camp.

Hours after arriving at his family home in Ibb city, Sadeq was in constant motion; moving about the house to welcome and hug the many visitors and relatives who came to greet him and show him respect. His visitors included ex-Guantanamo detainees, relatives of other detainees and young people who had been to Afghanistan for “Jihad”. Sadeq’s brothers made efforts to introduce him to those who he did not know or those who he no longer remembered.

As a journalist, Sadeq did not want to speak to me at first, but he eventually relented after encouragement from his brothers. With his long beard and smart Yemeni clothing, Sadeq spoke clearly and concisely, focusing on what he referred to as a “letter to the Americans and the world”. According to Sadeq since leaving their families he and his companions had been performing a holy duty, or Jihad, and he vowed that they would continue to do so for as long as they lived.

“I traveled to Pakistan and from there to Afghanistan where I joined one of the Taliban battle lines, May Allah support them to protect Islam, and then what happened, happened,” he said.  He did not speak about personal physical abuse in the detention center; instead he concentrated on the religious abuses, which he claims all detainees witnessed.

“The abuses were religious abuses, reviling God, the Prophet Mohammed and his companions and the believers. Some brothers were exposed to psychological and physical torture because they are Muslims. There were a lot of abuses and I don’t remember them but it is enough to say there were religious abuses and reviling Allah, his prophet and the believers,” he said. 

When asked what he plans to do now, he answered simply that he “does not know.”  “I can’t say anything right now. I’m still a stranger in this land, I’m a new-born, I can’t say I can do this or that,” said Sadeq who traveled to Afghanistan for Jihad before completing secondary school. However, one of Sadeq’s brothers, a former jihadist in Afghanistan and current Islamic activist, spoke on his brother behalf, clarifying his and his bother’s message to the “Americans and the world”. The brother, Rashad Mohammed Saeed (a.k.a. Abu al-Feda) said that all young people who went for “Jihad” in Afghanistan and elsewhere would continue to fight the “injustice” and they would achieve victory at the end like the prophet Joseph who was empowered and achieved victory after a series of sufferings.
 
“Let the Americans know that these [jihadists] are respected and highly welcomed in their nations and they are not killers or criminals,” Abu al-Feda addressed a crowd of people who came to celebrate the return of Sadeq. 

“I would say on behalf of my brother and all other brothers [detainees] that they have a message and the one who has a message has to fulfill it anywhere. The Prophet Joseph was put in prison and he was innocent, but he had a message,” said Abu al-Feda who is currently a mosque speaker in Ibb city. “Are many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah, the One supreme and irresistible,” he recited from Quran. 

“They will be preachers, teaching those who do not know, giving clothes to naked, feeding the hungry, defending the underdogs, returning rights to the owners, protecting all young and old, men and women, and would keep so until victory comes,”  he said in reference to the returning detainees . 

Abu al-Feda, who does not hesitate to announce his support for the Taliban, Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, advised the American people to revolt against the White House administration, which he said, “spends billions of dollars to destroy the Taliban and Al Qaeda while they are getting stronger and stronger.” 

“As the Taliban and Al Qaeda were the reason behind making an international alliance to topple the regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the same two [Taliban and Al Qaeda] would be the main tool of disengagement from this alliance,” said Abu al-Feda who was a prominent politician with the Taliban before he returning to Yemen in 2000 where he was imprisoned for two years.  He was released on the condition that he does not participate in any armed activity. 

“The Taliban and Al Qaeda are not killers and bloodsuckers, they have a strategic project with long term goals,” he said. “But I’m also calling for dialogue and respect of rights and freedoms for all, and I’m against violence and coercion.” 

Saqed’s family said they are currently consulting with American lawyers and human rights activists to file a law suit against the American government to demand fair compensation for the damages inflicted on their son who lost one of his eyes because of inadequate treatment.   

Sadeq, who was detained in a hospital in Afghanistan after being injured in a battle after September 11th, said he did not know why the Americans arrested him and why they released him now. 

“The only reason I know for being detained is that I’m Muslim, and I do not know any other thing.  Now I do not know why they released me. This is at the hand of Allah.” He speculated.   

Sadeq said he has not forgotten to pray for the other inmates who are still languishing in Guantanamo. 

“I pray to Allah to make all my brothers in Guantanamo patient, they are always in our hearts, we will never forget them, they were arrested in the cause of Allah, and were looking for martyrdom and I pray to Allah to help them,” he said. 

According to official American and Yemeni documents about a third (94) of the 330 remaining detainees in Guantanamo are from Yemen. American authorities have released a further 13 Yemeni detainees. 

Three other detainees who were released on October 12th after three months in a Yemeni prison are: Fawaz Noman Hamoud Mahdi, Hani Abdu Mulah Shulan, and Ali Muhsen Saleh. 

The only detainee remaining in a Yemeni prison is Ali Ahmed Nasser al-Kazmi who was released by American authorities in September 2007. 

The Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, Dr. Huda Alban promised in an interview with Yemen Observer that he too would be released soon.   

“I contacted the security officials about al-Kazmi and they told me they would refer him to the prosecution soon for procedures. I will follow up the case until he is released,” said Dr. Alban whose office received an appeal from the family of al-Kazmi for the release of their son on Sunday.
10102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 09, 2008, 03:30:39 PM
What do I say?  Actually, yesterday morning after a great deal of time I had just about finished composing and was about to post an eloquent grin and thorough response to GM's request for further support (I usually write versus cut and paste) when I pushed the wrong button (I just bought a iMac) and it disappeared.   shocked

Not happy!  Had to go to work and again today, but I will try to give a brief summary of my position.

I suppose we could argue the legalities of the issue, but I am not an attorney.  Rather I tend to think/expect America to take the high road; I take pride that we are a moral country and try to do the right thing albeit not always "right". 

**Part of the right thing to do is to protect this nation against existential threats.**

While I usually don't care what other's think, there is a limit.  When Germany terms our treatment at Guantanamo as "torture", when England's Parliament says "it is a monstrous failure of our times" and it has been called the "gulag of our times" I begin to wonder.

**Did Germany as a nation say that, or was it a German politician? Was that from the British parliament or a member of parliament? Europeans love to sneer and condemn America, often while drinking a coke, eating a cheeseburger as they wait in line to see a Hollywood blockbuster. The only time their voices get louder is when they need us to rescue them. Give the Europeans the same moral status as you do a teenage kid that complains his dad is a fascist because he make him clean his room and mow the lawn.

Also, look up the statements from politicians that condemned the US to see if they've made any statement condemning North Korea, or China or Cuba. Amazing how the left seems not to be nearly as offended by real totalitarians that do real torture. Also vet them against the list of people implicated in the "oil for food scandal" the MSM declined to do much reporting on.**


The impartial International Red Cross has stated that, "Every person in enemy hands MUST have some status under international law; he is either a POW and as such covered by the 3rd Convention.... or a civilian covered by the 4th convention..."  There is NO intermediate status; NOBODY in enemy hands can fall outside the law."  Doesn't this simply make common sense???

**No, it doesn't. Law should be structured in such a manner as to reward lawful behavior and to punish unlawful behavior. Treating jihadists as if they were honorable enemy soldiers or run of the mill domestic criminals demeans both soldiers and ordinary domestic criminals as well as setting us up for failure. The enemy has studied us closely and anticipates using our cultural predilection for legal process as a weapon against us. I suggest you read some of their training manuals to see this for yourself.**

I am not defending these individuals.  If they are guilty of high crimes, string them up for all I care.  BUT, there should be presumption of innocence. 

**I think if you had any firsthand knowledge of the difficulties and expense of just putting one domestic criminal through the criminal justice system, you'd rethink your position. CSI: Fallujah isn't practical or realistic. Our troops operate under strict rules of engagement as it is, turning them in cops while operating under battlefield conditions is fantasy.**


They should be given fair treatment, not tortured. 

**Define "torture".**

 And frankly, if they are found innocent, let go in a reasonable amount of time - not when the war on terror is over. 

**Are you aware of those that we have released that have returned to the battlefield? Does returning captured enemies to fight again make any kind of sense?**

I think even you, GM, given your writings might not think this will happen in our lifetime.

**The war we are fighting originally started in the 7th century, the current portion started in 1979. So I indeed do not think we'll be seeing the end anytime soon.**

  Yet at this time over 400 individuals are being held, yet only two or three have been tried.  I am willing to bet that less than 5% of those being held will be brought to trial and convicted of a serious crime.  The other 95% are wrongly and illegally being held in my opinion.

**You opinion is based on what, exactly?**

"Enemy Combatant", "Freedom Fighter", "American Revolutionary War Fighter"; I don't legally know exactly what's the difference.  And one dictionary's answer is different than another. But if it walks like duck, quacks like a duck, probably it is a POW duck   grin

Even our U.S. Supreme Court said enough is enough in the recent Boumedience v. Bush case stating that Guantanamo captives were entitled to the protection of the U.S. Constitution and described the CSR Tribunals as "inadequate" (legalize for wrong) and invoked the Geneva Convention.

Back to my Duck, I mean if you have to fly prisoners halfway around the world to a little piece of land in Cuba that most people had never heard of, doesn't that force you to ask the question, "Why?"  What are you hiding? I mean if it's legit, simply build a prison in CA, right?  And if they committed a crime, I have confident that my fellow Californians will quickly find them guilty and sentence them appropriately. 

**Yeah, i'll be sure to ask OJ or Robert Blake how great California juries are.**

 It's more honest than our military which hides evidence, acts as interrogators, prosecutors and defense counsel, judge, and jury and finally executioner. 

**Really? What evidence has been hidden? Please cite your sources.**

This is not a fair trial; it is a travesty.

And torture, our treatment of these individuals is simply wrong.  And it's not the America I know and love.

**Again, define "torture". Who are you alleging was tortured, when and where?**

I am passionate for our individual rights; they must be protected and applied to all.  England has  said, "one cannot fight violations of international law by committing further violations of international law."  Because al Qaeda et al are often inhumane does that justify our losing our freedoms and becoming inhumane?  I hope not.

I don't need to be a lawyer to know it's simply wrong.  In my opinion they should be given fair and humane (Geneva Convention) treatment.  Further, if innocent, let go.  If guilty, do as you will.  But be fair and just about it.
10103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 09, 2008, 09:08:01 AM
In the late 90's, I thought with China would continue on it's path towards human rights as it's economy modernized. Instead it's become more totalitarian since Hu Juntao rose to power. Yes, China's power structure has demonstrated an incredible ruthlessness internally and externally since 1949 and can go "1989" anytime it feels threatened.
10104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 09, 2008, 04:44:43 AM
Tibet is isolated, and mostly is filled with non-violent buddhists. All the "Free Tibet" bumper stickers in the world mean nothing to the PLA, People's Armed Police and Ministry for State Security crushing dissent in Lhasa.
10105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 08, 2008, 08:04:03 PM
**China has to content with the same "virtual caliphate" that we do to address the jihad it faces from it's muslim population.**

http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/4868381.html

Strategically, the fact that the global jihad does not have one single master plan or one single mastermind in no way means that the enemy lacks clearly identifiable centers of gravity. At the risk of considerable simplification, the global jihad can be said to actually rest on five asymmetrical “pillars”: al-Saud, al-Azhar, al Qaeda, al-Jazeera — with the proverbial “fifth column” in the role of fifth pillar. In a nutshell: In the past thirty years, through clever manipulation of financial, educational, and informational levers, Saudi Arabia has used its soft power to alter the theo-political balance of power in the Muslim world and to turn itself into a virtual Caliphate, using Muslim IOs and NGOs as force multipliers. The concurrent transformation of the Cairo-based al-Azhar University during the same period is possibly the most overlooked element in the global jihad; more than just the oldest Muslim university, al-Azhar is the closest thing to an informal Supreme Court of the Muslim world, denying or granting legitimacy to a peace treaty with Israel (1965 and 1979 respectively) or calling for jihad against the American presence in Iraq (March 2003). In the past 30 years, the Saudi takeover of al-Azhar has so shifted the center of gravity of the Muslim political discourse that the rhetoric of al-Azhar today is indistinguishable from that of the Muslim Brotherhood, its former nemesis. Al Qaeda and Al-Jazeera, though more recent phenomena, have managed in less than two decades to become the recruiting, training, and advertising bases of the global jihad. Last but not least, the academic Fifth Column in the West, ever faithful to its historical role of “useful idiot” (Lenin), is increasingly providing both conceptual ammunition and academic immunity to crypto-jihadists, making Western campuses safe for intellectual terrorism.9
Taken together, these five pillars constitute something halfway between the “deep coalitions” theorized by contemporary Western strategists, and an informal command-and-control of global jihad. If only in a metaphorical sense, then, command-and-control warfare (C2W) offers the best template for a counter-jihad at the level of grand strategy. The identification of these five pillars as centers of gravity is meant to remind us that the destiny of 1.2 billion Muslims is today inordinately shaped by a few thousand Saudi princes, Egyptian clerics, and Gulf news editors, and that therefore the guiding principle of the war of ideas should be the principle of economy of force. Don’t say, for instance, “Islam needs its Martin Luther,” if only because his 95 theses ushered in a 150-year-long bloody insurgency within Christendom. Say instead, “The Saudi Caliphate needs to undertake its own Vatican II.”10
10106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 08, 2008, 11:52:00 AM
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20020123.html

WHAT IS AN "UNLAWFUL COMBATANT," AND WHY IT MATTERS:
The Status Of Detained Al Qaeda And Taliban Fighters
By MICHAEL C. DORF
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002

According to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters currently being held captive at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are not prisoners of war, but "unlawful combatants." What's the difference?

The short answer is that a prisoner of war is entitled to the protections set forth in the 1949 Geneva Convention. In contrast, an unlawful combatant is a fighter who does not play by the accepted rules of war, and therefore does not qualify for the Convention's protections.

Buried within that short answer, however, are a host of complexities and troubling implications.

Are al Qaeda Fighters Prisoners of War?

First, what does it take to qualify as a prisoner of war? Article IV of the Geneva Convention states that members of irregular militias like al Qaeda qualify for prisoner-of-war status if their military organization satisfies four criteria.


The criteria are: "(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; [and] (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war."

Al Qaeda does not satisfy these conditions. Perhaps Osama bin Laden could be considered "a person responsible for his subordinates," although the cell structure of al Qaeda belies the notion of a chain of command. But in any event, al Qaeda members openly flout the remaining three conditions.

Al Qaeda members deliberately attempt to blend into the civilian population - violating the requirement of having a "fixed distinctive sign" and "carrying arms openly." Moreover, they target civilians, which violates the "laws and customs of war."

Thus, al Qaeda members need not be treated as prisoners of war.

Are Taliban Fighters Prisoners of War?

The question whether detained Taliban members qualify as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention's test is more difficult - as one might instinctively think, given that the Taliban fighters resemble a traditional army to a greater extent than do the al Qaeda fighters, who come from a variety of different nations and principally attack civilians.

The Taliban was never recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan by the United Nations or the United States, and only a handful of countries ever established formal diplomatic relations with the Taliban. Nevertheless, despite its lack of formal recognition, the Taliban would still be entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention if it satisfied the four criteria listed above.

Did it? To begin, the Taliban has, or at least formerly had, a tighter command structure than al Qaeda, suggesting it might satisfy the first criterion of "being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates." However, Taliban members did not appear to satisfy the second and third criteria, for they did not wear uniforms that bore a "fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance," nor did they invariably "carry arms openly."

Should these facts disqualify them from prisoner-of-war status?

Until recently the Taliban was the actual (though not recognized) government of Afghanistan, and it was attacked as such by the United States, albeit in justifiable self-defense. If Taliban members did not wear distinctive uniforms before we attacked, one might think that they should not be faulted for failing to don such uniforms immediately once the shooting started.

But in the end, this argument is unpersuasive. The requirement of a distinctive sign is no mere technicality. Its object, like many of the laws of war, is to enable the enemy to distinguish combatants from civilians, and thus to minimize civilian casualties. Yet the Taliban made clear that it was not interested in complying with the letter or spirit of the law of war.

For example, when it still controlled Kabul, the Taliban hid military equipment among the civilian population. Furthermore, as the war unfolded, it became increasingly difficult to distinguish the Taliban from al Qaeda - which, as we have seen, clearly does not qualify to have its members treated as prisoners of war.

A Consequence of POW Status: No Tribunal Trials

Even if not technically prisoners of war, al Qaeda and Taliban captives still qualify for "humane treatment" under the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1988.

Moreover, one might wonder, what is the harm in affording the captives somewhat better treatment than they are entitled to under international law? After all, the Geneva Convention hardly requires that prisoners of war be housed in four-star hotels.

The Administration's objection to affording al Qaeda and Taliban captives prisoner-of-war status probably has less to do with the conditions in which the captives are held than with what the Administration plans to do with them in the long term.

Under President Bush's military order of November 13, al Qaeda members and those who harbored them can be tried by military tribunals. The Supreme Court approved the use of such tribunals for unlawful combatants in the 1942 case of Ex Parte Quirin.

Most of the public discussion of the President's order and the Quirin case has centered on the question of when a defendant can be subject to the jurisdiction of a military tribunal rather than a civilian court. But whatever the answer to that question, Quirin takes for granted that only unlawful combatants can be tried by the sort of irregular tribunals at issue in that case and contemplated by the President's order.

Lawful combatants - that is, prisoners of war - are entitled to substantive and procedural protections not contemplated by Bush's order. Accordingly, the question of whether al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are prisoners of war or unlawful combatants turns out to matter a great deal, at least potentially.

Does the Guantanamo Detention Moot the Issue?

To be sure, American courts might not have occasion to decide the question whether al Qaeda and Taliban captives are in fact unlawful combatants. That is because another Supreme Court decision - the 1950 ruling in Johnson v. Eisentrager - holds that enemy aliens who have not entered the United States are not entitled to access to our courts.

Accordingly, so long as the al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are held at Guantanamo Bay and thus not deemed to have entered the U.S., their only route of appeal would appear to be within the Executive Branch. Put more bluntly, they will have only the procedural recourse the Administration allows them.

However, the applicability of Eisentrager to the present circumstances is itself open to question, for two reasons. First, in that case, the Court relied on the existence of a formal declaration of war and the fact that the German petitioners were citizens of a hostile sovereign power.

In contrast, in the present conflict, whether Congress's joint resolution authorizing the use of force counts as a declaration of war, and whether al Qaeda is sufficiently state-like to count as a foreign sovereign, are open questions.

Second, while Eisentrager holds that the Constitution permits the government to deny enemy aliens outside the U.S. access to our courts, federal statutes can be construed to afford such enemy aliens greater court access than the Constitution alone requires. Under that construction, the President's military order would be invalid. (Note that the President's order also purports to eliminate judicial review even for aliens within the United States, a position clearly at odds with statutory and constitutional law, but one that is not directly relevant to the fate of the Guantanamo Bay captives.)

For these two reasons, Eisentrager's application to the present circumstances is uncertain. Accordingly, it is understandable that the Administration would be eager to classify those captives it plans to try by military commission as unlawful combatants.

If the captives are unlawful combatants, they fall within the rule of Quirin. And if so, it does not matter whether they also fall within the rule of Eisentrager: If they do not, they are entitled to habeas corpus review, but a court entertaining their habeas corpus petitions would be obliged to uphold their convictions under Quirin.

Another Consequence of POW Status: Repatriation

There is a further reason why the Administration is eager to deny prisoner-of-war status to the al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. Article 118 of the Geneva Convention requires that prisoners of war be "repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities." Thus, if the captives are prisoners of war, they must eventually be returned to their home countries.

That prospect is troubling. At the end of a war between conventional foes, it is expected that repatriated fighters will resume their civilian lives. Individual veterans might continue to harbor ill will towards their former enemies, but for the most part, peace between nations tamps down such feelings.

But there is good reason to worry that Taliban and especially al Qaeda fighters will not so readily have a change of heart. Members of al Qaeda do not act out of patriotic duty to obey the commands of a military leader, but out of an ideology that instructs them to attack and kill American civilians as a means of entering the kingdom of heaven. It is doubtful that any formal cessation of hostilities would lead them to abandon what they regard as a jihad.

Moreover, unlike traditional soldiers, al Qaeda members do not need an army in order to act. As we have learned, they can act in small groups or even individually. For this reason, too, repatriation seems far more dangerous for an al Qaeda member than for a traditional soldier.

War Without End: Indefinite Detentions?

The truth is that whether we try them in civilian courts, courts martial, ad hoc military tribunals, or not at all, the al Qaeda and at least some of the Taliban captives may be too dangerous ever to be released. Assuming that many or most of them will not be subject to the death penalty, that commits the United States to detaining them indefinitely.

The Administration's response to this problem is to deem the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters unlawful combatants who are not entitled to anything better than indefinite detention.

As we have seen, the contention that these fighters are unlawful combatants is based upon a plausible reading of the Geneva Convention. Indeed, it would be difficult to come to any other conclusion when applying the Geneva Convention's four-part test to al Qaeda fighters.

Nevertheless, treating the al Qaeda and Taliban captives as prisoners of war, whether or not they are legally entitled to the status, would be less risky than it may at first appear. So long as al Qaeda and its deadly ideology exists, we cannot say that there has been, in the words of the Geneva Convention, a "cessation of active hostilities," entitling the captives to be released. In that respect, as in others, this is a different type of war indeed.

Michael C. Dorf is Vice Dean and Professor of Law at Columbia University.

10107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 08, 2008, 11:09:51 AM
China needs us to buy their consumer goods to keep the Chinese people employed for internal stability. If the jihadists pull off an attack or attacks during the Olympics, they will harm China's collective "face". The Politburo doesn't care about dead/wounded Chinese citizens, unless there were red princes/princesses among the casualties, but the loss of face would be a causus belli for them.

To successfully engage an element of the global jihad requires a global, systemic strategy, not just targeting hajis in Xinjiang. To do so would require some reshaped alliances.
10108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 08, 2008, 10:49:15 AM
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/unlawful%20combatant

1 result for: unlawful combatant   Browse Nearby Entries
Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English - Cite This Source - Share This
Main Entry:     unlawful combatant
Part of Speech:     n
Definition:     an individual who violates the law by engaging in combat; an individual who is involved in but not authorized to take part in hostilities; also called illegal combatant, unprivileged combatant
Example:     An unlawful combatant is someone who commits belligerent acts, but does not qualify under the Geneva Convention as a prisoner of war.

Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7)
Copyright © 2003-2008 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC

10109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 08, 2008, 10:15:17 AM




August 08, 2008, 0:00 a.m.

On Energy, Do Everything
Democrats are killing themselves trying to prevent Americans from using proven fuels.

By Charles Krauthammer

Let’s see: housing meltdown, credit crunch, oil shock not seen since the 1970s. The economy is slowing, unemployment growing and inflation increasing. It’s the sixth year of a highly unpopular war and the president’s approval rating is at 30 percent.

The Italian Communist party could win this election. The American Democratic party is trying its best to lose it.

Democrats have the advantage on just about every domestic issue from health care to education. However, Americans’ greatest concern is the economy, and their greatest economic concern is energy (by a significant margin: 37 percent to 21 percent for inflation). Yet Democrats have gratuitously forfeited the issue of increased drilling for domestic oil and gas. By an overwhelming margin of two to one, Americans want to lift the moratorium preventing drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, thus unlocking vast energy resources shut down for the last 27 years.

Democrats have been adamantly opposed. They say that we cannot drill our way out of the oil crisis. Of course not. But it is equally obvious that we cannot solar or wind or biomass our way out. Does this mean that because any one measure cannot solve a problem, it needs to be rejected?

Barack Obama remains opposed to new offshore drilling (although he now says he would accept a highly restricted version as part of a comprehensive package). Just last week, he claimed that if only Americans would inflate their tires properly and get regular tune-ups, “we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling.”

This is bizarre. By any reasonable calculation of annual tire-inflation and tune-up savings, the Outer Continental Shelf holds nearly a hundred times as much oil. As for oil shale, also under federal moratorium, after a thousand years of driving with Obama-inflated tires and Obama-tuned engines, we would still have saved only one-fifth the oil shale available in the United States.

But forget the math. Why is this issue either/or? Who’s against properly inflated tires? Let’s start a national campaign, Cuban-style, with giant venceremos posters lining the highways. (“Inflate your tires. Victory or death!”) Why must there be a choice between encouraging conservation and increasing supply? The logical answer is obvious: Do both.

Do everything. Wind and solar. A tire gauge in every mailbox. Hell, a team of oxen for every family (to pull their gasoline-drained SUVs). The consensus in the country, logically unassailable and politically unbeatable, is to do everything possible to both increase supply and reduce demand, because we have a problem that’s been killing our economy and threatening our national security. And no one measure is sufficient.


The green fuels the Democrats insist we should be investing in are as yet uneconomical, speculative technologies, still far more expensive than extracted oil and natural gas. We could be decades away. And our economy is teetering. Why would you not drill to provide a steady supply of proven fuels for the next few decades as we make the huge technological and economic transition to renewable energy?

Congressional Democrats demand instead a clampdown on “speculators.” The Democrats proposed this a month ago. In the meantime, “speculators” have driven the price down by $25 a barrel. Still want to stop them? In what universe do traders only bet on the price going up?

On Monday, Obama outlined a major plan with mandates and immense government investment in such things as electric cars and renewables. Fine, let’s throw a few tens of billions at this and see what sticks. But success will not just require huge amounts of money. It will require equally huge amounts of time and luck.

On the other hand, drilling requires no government program, no newly created bureaucracy, no pie-in-the-sky technologies that no one has yet invented. It requires only one thing, only one act. Lift the moratorium. Private industry will do the rest. And far from draining the treasury, it will replenish it with direct taxes, and with the indirect taxes from the thousands of non-subsidized new jobs created.

The problem for the Democrats is that the argument for “do everything” is not rocket science. It is common sense. Which is why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, surveying the political rubble resulting from her insistence on not even permitting drilling to come to a floor vote, has quietly told her members that they can save their skins and vote for drilling when the pre-election Congress convenes next month. Pelosi says she wants to save the planet. Apparently saving her speakership comes first.

— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist.
10110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 08, 2008, 09:47:59 AM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/08/print/china_discovers_al_qaeda_in_it.php

Counterterrorism Blog

China discovers al Qaeda in its backyard

By Walid Phares

In a video accusing China’s Communist Government of “mistreating Muslims” a Jihadi group threatened to attack the Summer Games in Beijin. A spokesman of the Turkistan Islamic Party accuses China of “forcing Muslims into atheism and destroying Islamic schools. The “Turkistan Islamic Party” is most likely based across the border in Pakistan, where sources affirm it received training from Al Qaeda.

Weeks ago the organization claimed responsibility for a bombings across the country. The latest video shows graphics of a burning Olympics logo and explosions. This week, attackers killed 16 police and wounded more than a dozen in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar using homemade bombs.

But according to AP reports few months ago, Chinese Police broke up a terror plot targeting the Beijing Olympics while a flight crew foiled attempt to crash a Chinese plane. Per Communist Party officials in the North Western province of Xinjiang, materials seized in a January 27 raid in the regional capital, Urumqi, suggested the plotters' planned "specifically to sabotage the staging of the Beijing Olympics." Earlier reports said police found guns, homemade bombs, training materials and "extremist religious ideological materials" during the January raid in Urumqi, in which two members of the gang were killed and 15 arrested. The immediate question becomes: Is China targeted by a Terror organization? And since the material found was characterized as “extremist religious ideological”, does that mean it is al Qaeda or one of its affiliate? The answer to these questions could change the face of geopolitics in Asia.

Interestingly the Associated Press runs to frame the Terrorists to a local ethnic conflict in one of China’s Western provinces. AP wrote: “Chinese forces have for years been battling a low-intensity separatist movement among Xinjiang's Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim people who are culturally and ethnically distinct from China's Han majority.” The news agency has tried to set the agenda of the debate by scoring three points for the “radicals.” They are separatists, they are representative of a local ethnicity and they are Muslim. In addition the description of the struggle is informative: Chinese forces versus a Uighur movement. In a way a parallel to Kosovo, Chechnya and Kashmir with two projected effects. As framed by AP, the struggle of these “Terrorists” is indeed legitimate even though the means are violent. But is it the case?

Evidently the Chinese Communists are repressive against all other minorities and political dissidents. But as in Russia and India’s Wahabi cases, one would investigate if these particular Terrorists in China are local patriotic elements with liberal outlook. Not really. As under the Russians in Chechnya it looks like the Communists in China are battling another form of totalitarianism to come: Jihadism.

Chinese officials said the group had been trained by and was following the orders of a radical group based in Pakistan and Afghanistan called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM. The group has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United Nations and the United States. East Turkestan is another name for Xinjiang. So the “movement” is indeed Terrorist-identified by the international community. But other than its violent means, is that group linked to al Qaeda? There is a double answer to this question. First the group is indeed Jihadi Wahabi-Salafi as its long term objective is to separate a particular province from China but only to establish an Emirate, a prelude to join the world Caliphate. Hence ideologically it is part of the world web of internationalist Jihadis, who identify with Bin Laden’s school of thought. Second in many instances, al Qaeda produced material showing Chinese Jihadists training in their camps. In the chat rooms, the Salafi commentators often cite the presence of “brothers” from the Xinjiang. And let’s remind ourselves that upon the fall of Tora Bora in 2001, Chinese officials asked US military to extradite Chinese nationals who we part of the Taliban and al Qaeda networks in Afghanistan. So the bottom line is that the Bin Laden cohorts included Jihadis recruited from inside China’s Western province. As in Chechnya a local ethnic separatist claim exists but the struggle was hijacked by the Jihadi terror forces.

Hence as China is discovering al Qaeda in its own backyard, this begs powerful questions:

1.   If these Jihadists will escalate their Terror against Chinese cities and installations -and the recent discoveries indicate this trend- will Beijing find itself in the same trench as Washington that is against al Qaeda and the Salafists?

2.   And if that becomes the case, will China continue to pursue a policy of support to other Jihadist forces, including the Islamist regime in Khartoum?

3.   If Communism and Jihadism clash again in the 21st century inside the Asian superpower, will its resources rich Western province becomes a new Afghanistan with Jihadists converging from central Asia and other parts f the world?

For now Chinese officials are downplaying the danger altogether and dismissing the threat: "Those in Xinjiang pursuing separatism and sabotage are an extremely small number,” said a pro Government Uighur leader. “They may be Uighurs, but they can't represent Uighurs. They are the scum of the Uighurs," regional communist official Bekri said. But that is what Russian officials always said about Chechnya and their Indian counterparts argued about Kashmir. Jihadism has demonstrated that its adherents can swiftly recruit and expand, especially if international Wahabis are generous and committed. Hence the answer to this critical new “Jihad” will come from as far as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia but also from the smaller principality of Qatar, where al Jazeera can transform a local separatist movement into an uprising in the name of the Umma.

***********

Dr Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a visiting scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy. He is the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad

By Walid Phares on August 7, 2008 10:47 PM
10111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 08, 2008, 09:01:27 AM
JDN,

Rather than trying to deflect, why don't you address my questions? You waived the Geneva Conventions flag, now back up your assertions or admit you can't.
10112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 07, 2008, 11:21:15 PM
JDN,

You might want to actually read the Geneva conventions before you cite them. Until now, the US has never applied the US constitution to prisoners of war, even legitimate enemy soldiers in compliance with the laws of war.

The first attack on the WTC was in 1993. Clinton was across the river in New Jersey when it happened and couldn't be bothered to visit NYC to review the damage done. Al Qaeda metastasized into the global threat we face today under Clinton's two terms, the DOJ not indicting bin Laden until late 1998. Look at the strings of attacks during Clinton's terms in office, leading up to 9/11. I'm not sure how you think returning to that would result in anything but the same results.

Last time I checked, Bush wasn't running again, so you couldn't vote for him if you wanted to anyway.

Yes, thank God Bush is not running.  Frankly, he should be impeached, but it is more bother than it is worth. 

Ahhhh and as for the Geneva Convention; didn't America sign this??? Isn't America the land of "justice"?  Don't we demand that our enemies adhere to these high standards?  Don't we act indignant if they don't?  Aren't we supposedly "better than them?"

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/WebART/375-590007?OpenDocument

Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
Article [Display Introduction] [Display Full text] [Display articles] [Display commentaries]
Part I : General provisions
ARTICLE 4
A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, incuding those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) that of carrying arms openly;

(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention:

(1) Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.

(2) The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.

C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present Convention.


**Please explain how al qaeda would be covered by the definitions listed above.**


The Geneva Convention; frankly, I am not sure you have read it and definitely Bush has not read it.  Interrogation techniques - pure torture, a travesty of justice.  So many provisions of the Geneva Convention have been broken it is hard to count.

**Please cite a few, using the source documents.**

Again, thank God our U.S. Supreme Court read it and has also read our constitution and  has therefore ruled Bush's definition of "Enemy Combatant" to be a bad joke.  Germany has termed our treatment of prisoners as "torture".  Guantanamo has been called the "gulag of our times.".  British Judges have called it, "a monstrous failure of justice."  Numerous Medical Journals have demanded that our treatment of prisoners stop; terming it "torture".   And on and on... When will we stop???  Soon, but only thanks to the world's indignation at our inhumane treatment.

Fairness???  The military acts as interrogators (often illegal), prosecutors, and defense counsel, judge, jury and executioner.  NONE of this guarantees a fair trial.  America - where has our justice and sense of right and wrong gone?  I bet less than 5% of those held at Guantanamo will even be finally charged with a crime, much less found guilty.  The other 95% are innocent by definition; they are just being tortured and held illegally for years and years away from their family and friends and they have done nothing wrong except be in the wrong place and the wrong time.   I find it all rather sad.

We have forgotten the difference between right and wrong.

**When and where in history has a war been fought that fits your vision of "fair and just"?**
10113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 07, 2008, 10:17:03 PM
http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/A-US-Monitor-Says-Chinese-Islamic-Group-Posts-New-Video-Threatening-Beijing-Olympics/Article/200808115073304?lpos=World%2BNews_1&lid=ARTICLE_15073304_A%2BUS%2BMonitor%2BSays%2BChinese%2BIslamic%2BGroup%2BPosts%2BNew%2BVideo%2BThreatening%2BBeijing%2BOlympics

Olympic Terrorism Threat 

8:41pm UK, Thursday August 07, 2008
An Islamic group has threatened attacks against the Olympics in China and urged Muslims to stay away from events there.



The threat, attributed to the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), is contained in a new video which shows a burning Olympics logo and an explosion imposed over a venue to be used for the Beijing Games.
It claims the communist regime's alleged mistreatment of Muslims justifies holy war.
The TIP is an ethnic Uighur and Muslim organisation that is seeking to create an independent state in China's heavily Muslim Xinjiang province.
It is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say it has received training from al Qaeda.
Earlier this week, a bomb attack in the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang killed 16 policemen.
The August 1 video, called "Call to the Global Muslim Nation", was picked up by two US terrorism monitoring firms - the SITE Intelligence Group and IntelCenter.
The tape said: "Do not stay on the same bus, on the same train, on the same plane, in the same buildings, or any place the Chinese are."
A speaker appeared on the video holding an AK-47 assault rifle and wearing a black turban and face cover.
He spoke in front of a black banner carrying the words in Arabic: "There is no God other than Allah, Mohammad is the messenger of God".
The speaker called on Muslims to offer support financially, physically, spiritually and verbally.
"China ... rejects Islam and forces Muslims into atheism by capturing and killing Islamic teachers and destroying Islamic schools," he argued.
In July, Chinese authorities denied claims by the group that it was behind a series of bombings ahead of the Olympics.
The TIP had previously released a video threatening the Games and claimed responsibility for deadly bus blasts in Shanghai and in Kunming, capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan.
10114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 07, 2008, 09:44:45 PM
I've read a lot of feminist writers and am familiar with the various "sects" of feminist ideology and have debated more than a few in academic settings.
10115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 07, 2008, 09:38:56 PM
Pointing out biologically based differences between men and women isn't bashing. On average, girls are much more skilled at language. They tend to speak younger, have larger vocabularies and demonstrate a greater sophistication in sentence structure. Speech pathologies are suffered by males to a much greater degree than by females. If I recall correctly, it's something like a 9 to 1 or 10 to 1 ratio. It isn't male bashing to point that out.
10116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 07, 2008, 09:19:36 PM
JDN,

You might want to actually read the Geneva conventions before you cite them. Until now, the US has never applied the US constitution to prisoners of war, even legitimate enemy soldiers in compliance with the laws of war.

The first attack on the WTC was in 1993. Clinton was across the river in New Jersey when it happened and couldn't be bothered to visit NYC to review the damage done. Al Qaeda metastasized into the global threat we face today under Clinton's two terms, the DOJ not indicting bin Laden until late 1998. Look at the strings of attacks during Clinton's terms in office, leading up to 9/11. I'm not sure how you think returning to that would result in anything but the same results.

Last time I checked, Bush wasn't running again, so you couldn't vote for him if you wanted to anyway.
10117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: August 07, 2008, 07:28:37 PM
**Submission**

- Roger L. Simon - http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerlsimon -

Shades of the Danish Cartoons: Random House in disgrace
August 6, 2008 - by Roger L Simon

Although it has for some time been a division of German media giant Bertelsmann, Random House has been one of the distinguished names in American publishing since the halcyon days of Bennett Cerf. So it is particularly repugnant to see the company knuckling under to  essentially the same reactionary, anti-democratic, anti-free speech forces that repressed the Danish cartoons.  As we learned in the [1] Wall Street Journal today, the company has decided not to publish Sherry Jones’ historical novel “The Jewel of Medina” about Mohammed’s child bride Aisha.  The book was part of a $100,000 two-book contract with the [2] author.

Shame on Random House!  This act of abject cowardice and de facto censorship is one of the most disgraceful incidents I can think of in the history of American publishing.  As Asra Q. Nomani writes in the WSJ:  Random House feared the book would become a new “Satanic Verses,” the Salman Rushdie novel of 1988 that led to death threats, riots and the murder of the book’s Japanese translator, among other horrors. In an interview about Ms. Jones’s novel, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House Publishing Group, said that it “disturbs us that we feel we cannot publish it right now.” He said that after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received “from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.”

The “credible” source was one Denise Spellberg, a University of Texas academic who, on receipt of Jones’ galleys, started tattling like a six-year old to Muslims Spellberg felt would be angry with the work. Perry and his cronies simply caved in. That the publishers reference the “Satanic Verses” in their defence is yet more despicable. In the early 1990s, when I was president of West Coast Branch of PEN, we did everything in our power to defend Rushdie against the attempts to suppress his freedom of speech. Random House does nothing for its own authors. The natural conclusion of their behavior in this instance is that nothing critical of Islam could ever be written.

PEN and the Authors’ Guild should launch an investigation into this situation and if the allegations are true, should urge a boycott of Random House until it changes its policy.  If I were Jones, I would sue the publishing house for all they’re worth.

[Full disclosure:  I had three novels published by a division of Random House in the 1980s - Villard Books.  At that point, I was very satisfied with the publisher and could not imagine them rejecting a manuscript for the reasons they are now.  It’s a different world.]

UPDATE:  Some commenters have pointed out that Random House’s behavior is not strictly speaking censorship because the company is not an organ of the state.  They are correct.  But I submit that that a publishing house the size of Random House has a certain level of public trust.  And I would imagine they would agree.  One of the key measures of public trust in the United States is the protection of free speech.  Yes, as one commenter stated, this is cowardice but not censorship, but it is a form of cowardice with immense social ramifications about which we should all be concerned.

Article printed from Roger L. Simon: http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerlsimon

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2008/08/06/shades-of-the-danish-cartoons-random-house-in-disgrace/

URLs in this post:
[1] Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121797979078815073.html?mod=djemEditorialPage
[2] author.: http://sherryjones.blogspot.com/
10118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: August 07, 2008, 06:13:20 PM
Confederate soldiers captured by Union forces were held without habeas corpus rights, despite being US citizens captured on US soil.

Was this right or wrong?

Do you think the Clinton administration's attempts to indict al qaeda into submission was a successful policy?
10119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 07, 2008, 09:45:14 AM
August 07, 2008
Hillary's Growing Shadow
By Victor Davis Hanson
Barack Obama and John McCain are running neck and neck.

Impossible?

It would seem so. Republican President Bush still has less than a 30 percent approval rating. Headlines blare that unemployment and inflation are up -- even if we aren't, technically, in a recession. Gas is around $4 a gallon. Housing prices have nosedived. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has been indicted -- another in a line of congressional Republicans caught in financial or sexual scandal.

 
Meanwhile, the GOP's presumptive candidate, John McCain, is 71 years old. The Republican base thinks he's lackluster and too liberal.

So, everyone is puzzled why the Democratic candidate isn't at least 10 points ahead. It seems the more Americans get used to Barack Obama, the less they want him as president -- and the more Democrats will soon regret not nominating Hillary Clinton.

First, Obama was billed as a post-racial healer. His half-African ancestry, exotic background and soothing rhetoric were supposed to have been novel and to have reassured the public he was no race-monger like Al Sharpton. On the other hand, his 20-year career in the cauldron of Chicago racial politics also guaranteed to his liberal base that he wasn't just a moderate Colin Powell, either.

Yet within weeks of the first primary, the outraged Clintons were accusing Obama of playing "the race card" -- and vice-versa. Blacks soon were voting heavily against Hillary Clinton. In turn, Hillary, the elite Ivy League progressive, turned into a blue-denim working gal -- and won nearly all the final big-state Democratic primaries on the strength of working-class whites.

Americans also learned to their regret how exactly a Hawaiian-born Barack Obama -- raised, in part, by his white grandparents and without African-American heritage -- had managed to win credibility in what would become his legislative district in Chicago. That discovery of racial chauvinism wasn't hard once his former associate, his pastor for over 20 years, the racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, spewed his venom.

Obama himself didn't help things as he taught the nation that his dutiful grandmother was at times a small-minded bigot -- no different from a "typical white person." And in an impromptu riff, Obama ridiculed small-town working-class Pennsylvanians' supposed racial insularity.

The primary season ended with a narrow Obama victory -- and a wounded, but supposedly wiser, Democratic candidate.

Not quite. Without evidence, he unwisely has claimed his opponents ("they") will play the race card against poor him. In contrast, on the hot-button issue of racial reparations, he recently played to cheering minority audiences by cryptically suggesting that the government must "not just . . . offer words, but offer deeds." He later clarified that he didn't mean cash grants, but his initial words were awfully vague.

Second, many are beginning to notice how a Saint Obama talks down to them. We American yokels can't speak French or Spanish. We eat too much. Our cars are too big, our houses either overheated or overcooled. And we don't even put enough air in our car tires. In contrast, a lean, hip Obama promises to still the rising seas and cool down the planet, assuring adoring Germans that he is a citizen of the world.

Third, Obama knows that all doctrinaire liberals must tack rightward in the general election. But due to his inexperience, he's doing it in far clumsier fashion than any triangulating candidate in memory. Do we know -- does Obama even know? -- what he really feels about drilling off our coasts, tapping the strategic petroleum reserve, NAFTA, faith-based initiatives, campaign financing, the FISA surveillance laws, town-hall debates with McCain, Iran, the surge, timetables for Iraq pullouts, gun control or capital punishment?

Fourth, Obama is proving as inept an extemporaneous speaker as he is gifted with the Teleprompter. Like most rookie senators, in news conferences and interviews, he stumbles and then makes serial gaffes -- from the insignificant, like getting the number of states wrong, to the downright worrisome, such as calling for a shadow civilian aid bureaucracy to be funded like the Pentagon (which would mean $500 billion per annum).

If the polls are right, a public tired of Republicans is beginning to think an increasingly bothersome Obama would be no better -- and maybe a lot worse. It is one thing to suggest to voters that they should shed their prejudices, eat less and be more cosmopolitan. But it is quite another when the sermonizer himself too easily evokes race, weekly changes his mind and often sounds like he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

In a tough year like this, Democrats could probably have defeated Republican John McCain with a flawed, but seasoned candidate like Hillary Clinton. But long-suffering liberals convinced their party to go with a messiah rather than a dependable nominee -- and thereby they probably will get neither.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War." You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.
10120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 07, 2008, 08:56:52 AM
**Obama needs a bigger bus....**  rolleyes

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/08/05/another-obama-advisor-under-the-bus-shady-muslim-outreach-director-stepsdown/

Another Obama advisor under the bus: Shady Muslim outreach director steps down
By Michelle Malkin  •  August 5, 2008 11:25 PM

Well, that was quick. A little over a week ago, the Obama campaign proudly touted the appointment of a new Muslim outreach director. Now, he’s out following questions about his ties to a radical Muslim imam and the Muslim brotherhood. Doesn’t anyone do background checks for The One after all this time?

From a July 31 Obama campaign website blog post:
All -
Assalamu-Aleikum. My name is Mazen Asbahi and I’ve been blessed and privileged to be serving the Obama for America Campaign as the National Coordinator for Muslim American Affairs. I’m also coordinating Arab American matters. I’m treating the two roles separately as these are two separate constituencies, though of course there is some overlap.
In order to get Senator Obama elected, the Campaign needs all of you to continue your support and if possible to take it to another level. It’s a race for every vote in the key battleground states, such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio. We need Muslim Americans to get excited about the Campaign, and there’s a lot to get excited about!
Sure, there have been mis-steps. And of course there are added sensitivities with our faith given the “smear” campaign trying to paint the Senator as too exotic and too un-American to be President.
If you have not plugged into the Campaign, please do. The Campaign makes it very easy to do. Visit your local Obama offices and register voters, raise money, get the word out, and pull in your friends and family to also participate.
Please feel free to contact me with ideas, critiques and suggestions for improvements on our outreach strategies. (Please keep in mind that I’ve just signed on Smiley).
Peace,
Mazen Asbahi

No peace from the WSJ, which reports tonight:

The Muslim-outreach coordinator to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama has resigned amid questions about his involvement in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups.
Chicago lawyer Mazen Asbahi, who was appointed volunteer national coordinator for Muslim American affairs by the Obama campaign on July 26, stepped down Monday after an Internet newsletter wrote about his brief stint on the fund’s board, which also included a fundamentalist imam.
“Mr. Asbahi has informed the campaign that he no longer wishes to serve in his volunteer position, and we are in the process of searching for a new national Arab American and Muslim American outreach coordinator,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.
A corporate lawyer at the firm of Schiff Hardin LLP, Mr. Asbahi tendered his resignation after he and the Obama campaign received emailed inquiries about his background from The Wall Street Journal. He did not respond to the email or a message left at his law office; the campaign released a letter in which Mr. Asbahi said he did not want to be a distraction.

The imam is Jamal Said. Background on his jihad-friendly mosque here.
And more details the Obama vetters neglected to vet:

The eight-year-old connection between Mr. Asbahi and Mr. Said was raised last week by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, which is published by a Washington think tank and chronicles the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, a world-wide fundamentalist group based in Egypt. Other Web sites, some pro-Republican and others critical of fundamentalist Islam, also have reported on the background of Mr. Asbahi. He is a frequent speaker before several groups in the U.S. that scholars have associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Justice Department named Mr. Said an unindicted co-conspirator in the racketeering trial last year of several alleged Hamas fund-raisers, which ended in a mistrial. He has also been identified as a leading member of the group in news reports going back to 1993.

Mr. Said is the imam at the Bridgeview Mosque in Bridge-view, Ill., outside Chicago. He left the board of the Islamic fund in 2005, Securities and Exchange Commission filings state. A message left for Mr. Said at the mosque was not returned.
Allied Asset Advisors is a subsidiary of the North American Islamic Trust. The trust, which is supported financially by the government of Saudi Arabia, holds title to many mosques in the U.S. and promotes a conservative brand of Islam compatible with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and also akin to the fundamentalist style predominant in Saudi Arabia. Allied executives did not respond to inquiries.

Countdown until CAIR screams Islamophobia and Obama minions scream racist?
3…2…1…
10121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 06, 2008, 08:06:32 PM
China and the Enduring Uighurs
August 6, 2008



By Rodger Baker

On Aug. 4, four days before the start of the Beijing Olympics, two ethnic Uighurs drove a stolen dump truck into a group of some 70 Chinese border police in the town of Kashi in Xinjiang, killing at least 16 of the officers. The attackers carried knives and home-made explosive devices and had also written manifestos in which they expressed their commitment to jihad in Xinjiang. The incident occurred just days after a group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) claimed responsibility for a series of recent attacks and security incidents in China and warned of further attacks targeting the Olympics.

Chinese authorities linked the Aug. 4 attack to transnational jihadists, suggesting the involvement of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which Beijing has warned is the biggest terrorist threat to China and the Olympics. Despite the Chinese warnings and TIP claims and the intensified focus on the Uighurs because of the Aug. 4 attack, there is still much confusion over just who these Uighur or Turkistani militants are.



(Click map to enlarge)

The Uighurs, a predominately Muslim Turkic ethnic group largely centered in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, have their own culture, language and written script distinct from their Han Chinese counterparts. Uighur ethnic nationalists and Islamist separatists have risen several times to challenge Chinese control over Xinjiang, but the Uighur independence movement remains fractured and frequently at odds with itself. However, recent evolutions within the Islamist militant Uighur movement, including growing links with transnational jihadist groups in Central and Southwest Asia, may represent a renewed threat to security in China.

Origins in Xinjiang
Uighur nationalism traces its origins back to a broader Turkistan, stretching through much of modern day Xinjiang (so-called “East Turkistan”) and into Central Asia. East Turkistan was conquered by the Manchus in the mid-1700s and, after decades of struggle, the territory was annexed by China, which later renamed it Xinjiang, or “New Territories.” A modern nation-state calling itself East Turkistan arose in Xinjiang in the chaotic transition from imperial China to Communist China, lasting for two brief periods from 1933 to 1934 and from 1944 to 1949. Since that time, “East Turkistan” has been, more or less, an integral part of the People’s Republic of China.

The evolution of militant Uighur separatism — and particularly Islamist-based separatism — has been shaped over time by both domestic and foreign developments. In 1940, Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan (Islamic Party of Turkistan or Turkistan Islamic Movement ) emerged in Xinjiang, spearheading a series of unsuccessful uprisings from the 1940s through 1952, first against local warlords and later against the Communist Chinese.

In 1956, as the “Hundred Flowers” was blooming in China’s eastern cities, and intellectuals were (very briefly) allowed to air their complaints and suggestions for China’s political and social development, a new leadership emerged among the Uighur Islamist nationalists, changing the focus from “Turkistan” to the more specific “East Turkistan,” or Xinjiang. Following another failed uprising, the Islamist Uighur movement faded away for several decades, with only minor sparks flaring during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.

In 1979, as Deng Xiaoping was launching China’s economic opening and reform, there was a coinciding period of Islamic and ethnic revival in Xinjiang, reflecting the relative openness of China at the time. During this time, one of the original founders of Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan, Abdul Hakeem, was released from prison and set up underground religious schools. Among his pupils in the 1980s was Hasan Mahsum, who would go on to found ETIM.

The 1980s were a chaotic period in Xinjiang, with ethnic and religious revivalism, a growing student movement, and public opposition to China’s nuclear testing at Lop Nor. Uighur student protests were more a reflection of the growing student activism in China as a whole (culminating in the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident) than a resurgence of Uighur separatism, but they coincided with a general movement in Xinjiang to promote literacy and to refocus on religious and ethnic heritage. Amid this revival, several Uighur separatist or Islamist militant movements emerged.

A critical moment occurred in April 1990, when an offshoot of the Uighur Islamist militant movement was discovered plotting an uprising in Xinjiang. The April 5 so-called “Baren Incident” (named for the city where militants and their supporters faced off against Chinese security forces) led Beijing to launch dragnet operations in the region, arresting known, suspected or potential troublemakers — a pattern that would be repeated through the “Strike Hard” campaigns of the 1990s. Many of the Uighurs caught up in these security campaigns, including Mahsum, began to share, refine and shape their ideology in prisons, taking on more radical tendencies and creating networks of relations that could be called upon later. From 1995 to 1997, the struggle in Xinjiang reached its peak, with increasingly frequent attacks by militants in Xinjiang and equally intensified security countermeasures by Beijing.

It was also at this time that China formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), enlisting Central Asian assistance in cracking down on Uighur militants, many of whom had fled China. In some ways this plan backfired, as it provided common cause between the Uighurs and Central Asian militants, and forced some Uighur Islamist militants further west, to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they would link up with the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), among others.

Among those leaving China was Mahsum, who tried to rally support from the Uighur diaspora in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey but was rebuffed. Mahsum and a small group of followers headed to Central Asia and ultimately Afghanistan, where he established ETIM as a direct successor to his former teacher’s Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan. By 1998, Kabul-based ETIM began recruiting and training Uighur militants while expanding ties with the emerging jihadist movement in the region, dropping the “East” from its name to reflect these deepening ties. Until the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, ETIM focused on recruiting and training Uighur militants at a camp run by Mahsum and Abdul Haq, who is cited by TIP now as its spiritual leader.

With the U.S. attack on Afghanistan in October 2001, ETIM was routed and its remnants fled to Central Asia and Pakistan. In January 2002, Mahsum tried to distance ETIM from al Qaeda in an attempt to avoid having the Uighur movement come under U.S. guns. It did not work. In September 2002, the United States declared ETIM a terrorist organization at the behest of China. A year later, ETIM experienced what seemed to be its last gasps, with a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation in South Waziristan in October 2003 killing Hasan Mahsum.

A Movement Reborn?
Following Mahsum’s death, a leaderless ETIM continued to interact with the Taliban and various Central Asian militants, particularly Uzbeks, and slowly reformed into a more coherent core in the Pakistan/Afghanistan frontier. In 2005, there were stirrings of this new Uighur Islamist militant group, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), which established a robust presence on the Internet, posting histories of the Uighur/Turkistan people in western China and Central Asia and inspirational videos featuring Mahsum. In 2006, a new video surfaced calling for jihad in Xinjiang, and later that year there were reports that remnants of ETIM had begun re-forming and moving back into far western Xinjiang.

It was also around this time that Beijing began raising the specter of ETIM targeting the Olympics — a move seen at the time as primarily an excuse for stricter security controls. In early January 2007, Beijing raided a camp of suspected ETIM militants near the Xinjiang border with Tajikistan, and a year later raided another suspected camp in Urumchi, uncovering a plot to carry out attacks during the Olympics. This was followed in March by a reported attempt by Uighur militants to down a Chinese airliner with gasoline smuggled aboard in soda cans.

Publicly, the Uighur militant issue was quickly swept aside by the Tibetan uprising in March, leaving nearly unnoticed an anti-government protest in Hotan and a series of counterterrorism raids by Chinese security forces in late March and early April that reportedly found evidence of more specific plots to attack Beijing and Shanghai during the Olympics.

In the midst of this security campaign, TIP released a video, not disseminated widely until late June, in which spokesman Commander Seyfullah laid out a list of grievances against Beijing and cited Abdul Haq as calling on Uighur Islamist militants to begin strikes against China. The video also complained that the “U.S.-led Western countries listed the Turkistan Islamic Party as one of the international terrorist organizations,” an apparent reference to the United States’ 2002 listing of the ETIM on the terrorist exclusion list.

In addition to linking the TIP to the ETIM, the April video also revealed some elements of the movement’s evolution since the death of Mahsum. Rather than the typical rhetoric of groups closely linked to the Wahabi ideology of al Qaeda, TIP listed its grievances against Beijing in an almost lawyer-like fashion, following more closely the pattern of Hizb al-Tahrir (HT), a movement active in Central Asia advocating nonviolent struggle against corrupt regimes and promoting the return of Islamic rule. Although HT officially renounces violence as a tool of political change, it has provided an abundance of zealous and impatient idealists who are often recruited by more active militant organizations.

The blending of the HT ideologies with the underlying principles of Turkistan independence reflects the melding of the Uighur Islamist militancy with wider Central Asian Islamist movements. Fractures in HT, emerging in 2005 and expanding thereafter, may also have contributed to the evolution of TIP’s ideology; breakaway elements of HT argued that the nonviolent methods espoused by HT were no longer effective.

What appears to be emerging is a Turkistan Islamist movement with links in Central Asia, stretching back to Afghanistan and Pakistan, blending Taliban training, transnational jihadist experiential learning, HT frameworks and recruiting, and Central Asian ties for support and shelter. This is a very different entity than China has faced in the past. If the TIP follows the examples set by the global jihadist movement, it will become an entity with a small core leadership based far from its primary field of operations guiding (ideologically but not necessarily operationally) a number of small grassroots militant cells.

The network will be diffuse, with cells operating relatively independently with minimal knowledge or communication among them and focused on localized goals based on their training, skills and commitment. This would make the TIP less of a strategic threat, since it would be unable to rally large numbers of fighters in a single or sustained operation, but it would also be more difficult to fight, since Beijing would be unable to use information from raiding one cell to find another.

This appears to be exactly what we are seeing now. The central TIP core uses the Internet and videos as psychological tools to trigger a reaction from Beijing and inspire militants without exposing itself to detection or capture. On July 25, TIP released a video claiming responsibility for a series of attacks in China, including bus bombings in Kunming, a bus fire in Shanghai and a tractor bombing in Wenzhou. While these claims were almost certainly exaggerated, the Aug. 4 attack in Xinjiang suddenly refocused attention on the TIP and its earlier threats.

Further complicating things for Beijing are the transnational linkages ETIM forged and TIP has maintained. The Turkistan movement includes not only China’s Uighurs but also crosses into Uzbekistan, parts of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and spreads back through Central Asia all the way to Turkey. These linkages may have been the focus of quiet security warnings beginning around March that Afghan, Middle Eastern and Central Asian migrants and tourists were spotted carrying out surveillance of schools, hotels and government buildings in Beijing and Shanghai — possibly part of an attack cycle.

The alleged activities seem to fit a pattern within the international jihadist movement of paying more attention to China. Islamists have considered China something less imperialistic, and thus less threatening, than the United States and European powers, but this began changing with the launch of the SCO, and the trend has been accelerating with China’s expanded involvement in Africa and Central Asia and its continued support for Pakistan’s government. China’s rising profile among Islamists has coincided with the rebirth of the Uighur Islamist militant movement just as Beijing embarks on one of its most significant security events: the Summer Olympics.

Whatever name it may go by today — be it Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement or the Turkistan Islamic Party — the Uighur Islamist militant movement remains a security threat to Beijing. And in its current incarnation, drawing on internationalist resources and experiences and sporting a more diffuse structure, the Uighur militancy may well be getting a second wind.

Tell Stratfor What You Think

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com
10122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 06, 2008, 09:54:52 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/08/06/obama-really-doesnt-like-a-debate/

Don't dare question his imperiousness.
10123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 06, 2008, 09:19:15 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2505151/Beijing-Olympics-safe-despite-jihad-threat.html

Beijing Olympics 'safe' despite jihad threat
The Chinese government has promised that Islamic terrorists would not disrupt the Olympic games despite threats of a jihad in the western city of Kashgar.
 
By Malcolm Moore in Kashgar
Last Updated: 5:23PM BST 05 Aug 2008

With the games due to begin on Friday, authorities in Kashgar said the terrorists behind a bombing in the city on Monday were trying to "turn 2008 into a year of mourning for China".
Two men drove a lorry into a troop of policemen on a morning jog outside the Yijin hotel, killing 16 and injuring another 16, two critically.
"These men were trying to perform a jihad," said Shi Dagang, the Communist party secretary in Kashgar. "We found papers on one of the suspects saying that their religious beliefs are more important than their lives, the prosperity of their families and even the well-being of their mothers."
He said two Islamic groups, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the East Turkestan Liberation Organization, could have been behind the attack, since materials on the suspects matched items recovered from an ETIM training camp in January. The groups want an independent region for the Uighurs, the ethnic Muslims that makes up the bulk of the population in Kashgar.
"This was well-planned, at least one month in advance," Mr Shi said. "They knew when the policemen were doing their exercises." He also revealed that 18 foreign terrorists had been arrested so far this year.
During the attack on Monday, the men threw home-made grenades at the policemen before stabbing them with knives, he added.
"One of the men lost his arm in the explosion," he said. The other is already on trial. We recovered nine grenades, two long knives, two daggers and a gun."
The two men were named as Abdul Rahman, 28, and Kurbanyan Ahmet, 33, both from Kashgar. Mr Shi said one was a taxi driver, the other was a hawker.
He promised a "severe and continuous crackdown" against the terrorists, who had previously warned they would carry out one attack each month in the run-up to the games. Other incidents included unrest in two other cities in Xinjiang and an attempted bombing of a China Southern jet from Urumqi, the state capital, to Beijing.
Nevertheless, the organisers of the games sought to reassure the 10,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of expected tourists that they should not worry about security. "We can guarantee a safe and peaceful Olympic Games," said Sun Weide, a spokesman for the organising committee.
Security across Xinjiang province has been stepped up, with 5,000 armed policemen in Urumqi patrolling buses. Three men were reportedly detained at Urumqi airport on Monday afternoon as they tried to board a flight for Beijing with traces of explosives on their hands.
Special wireless devices were used to check the ID cards of Chinese citizens to see if their data matched blacklisted suspects, according to Xinhua. In Kashgar, however, the police tried to play down the threat, leaving the city more or less operating as normal.
Meanwhile, two Japanese journalists were arrested and beaten while trying to report on the bombing on Monday night.
Masami Kawakita, a photographer with the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, said he was near the gates of the police compound when he was surrounded by soldiers. "They picked me up by the arms and legs and carried me into the courtyard. They kicked me in the ribs and arms and one stood on my head with his boot," he said.
Mr Kawakita, together with a reporter for Nippon Television, was detained for two hours without water or being allowed to make a telephone call before being released. The Japanese government said it planned to "protest strongly" to China over the alleged detention.
10124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 05, 2008, 07:06:15 PM
http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2008/08/04/gaza-anomalies-blow-pcps-circuits-result-the-sounds-of-silence/

Israel and the "palestinians" and p.c. myths.
10125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 05, 2008, 01:51:35 PM
THOUGHT POLICE
By RALPH PETERS

August 5, 2008 --
AFTER a lecture to the Marine Memorial Association last week, a reporter thrust a mike toward me and asked if I thought I should be tried for war crimes for my columns in The Post supporting our military.

The reporter - who avoided revealing what outlet he was with - thought he was being wonderfully clever, but what fascinated me about the silly encounter (it was in San Francisco, after all) was how unintentionally revealing it was about the shameless hypocrisy of the left.

Think about it: For expressing my views to readers like you on these pages, hardcore leftists believe I should be put on trial as a war criminal.

It tells you all you need to know about the extreme left's view of the First Amendment: Free speech is great, as long as it's their free speech (or extreme pornography). But dissenting views must be censored. The more effective the opponent, the more important it is to shut him down.

The extreme left loves to pretend it stands for freedom. It never has and never will. From the Reign of Terror in Paris onward, its core agenda has been the tyranny of egomaniacal intellectuals. The hard left hates an open debate - especially these days, when it's out of new ideas.

The left pretends that campuses should enjoy freedom of speech, yet activist students shout down, harass and even attack speakers whose views they dislike. That's brownshirt behavior, folks - as surely as show trials are Stalinist.

Hardcore leftists never welcome a freewheeling debate - they'd rather force their beliefs on the rest of us. It's an article of faith for the left that folks like you and me are too stupid to know what's good for us (we're so dumb, some of us even believe in God).

For many years, the left's tactic was to pretend to care about average citizens. In the last century, the motto was the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (still a dictatorship, of course). Then, when American workers showed no interest in the Sovietization of Michigan, outraged leftists retreated into the Dictatorship of the Intellectuals.

Now we have the would-be dictatorship of the pseudo-intellectuals.

The stunning hypocrisy of the march-in-step left was brought home to me again on Sunday while I waited in a green room for a C-Span spot.

The show preceding mine featured a young woman, Mahvish Rukhsana Khan, who's published a book about the poor, innocent, kitten-loving prisoners at Guantanamo. Her interview climaxed with the claim that Guantanamo is the equivalent of the Holocaust.

I guarantee you that no one from MoveOn or DailyKos questioned that outrageous comparison. (Nor did the patsy interviewer challenge it.)

The Holocaust's victims were 6 million innocents. The handful of prisoners at Guantanamo are accused terrorists. Guantanamo has no gas chambers; prisoners aren't forced into slave labor. They aren't tortured or starved or shot. And their trials are open to members of the press.

The truly outrageous aspect of such comparisons is that the American left, with its Stalin-redux willingness to rearrange history, neglects to mention that, outside of Japan, all of the 20th century's great totalitarian regimes had roots on the political left.

It wasn't just Lenin and Stalin whose propaganda machine prefigured MoveOn. Nazi is an acronym for "National Socialist." Read Mein Kampf. It isn't a tribute to free-market capitalism, folks. Mussolini was a populist. Mao was a leftist, as was Pol Pot. The last century's worst censors and book burners all emerged from leftist ideologies.

At the moment, the American left evokes our Communists in 1939, who contorted themselves to justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Stalin and Hitler. As this column recently pointed out, Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home! disappeared from the political scene the instant Obama called for sending those troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, instead of back to Fort Hood.

For the hardcore left, the party line always trumps conscience. MoveOn isn't new - it's just Pravda with poor punctuation.

The more I think about that proposed war-crimes trial, the more excited I get. If we could just delay it until President Obama invades Pakistan, he and I could share the prisoners' docket together.

Of course, the charges he'd face would be far worse, given that Saddam Hussein was a genocidal dictator and Pakistan's a democracy. But the left is right: We can't let war crimes go unpunished.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."
10126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / While Europe Slept on: August 05, 2008, 01:22:31 AM
http://www.amazon.com/While-Europe-Slept-Radical-Destroying/dp/0767920058/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217916421&sr=8-1

A must read! I'm sorry I put off reading it for so long.
10127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 04, 2008, 10:52:56 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/08/04/oops-democrat-on-vp-shortlist-underscores-obamas-inexperience/

Self-inflicted wounds are the best!  evil
10128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 04, 2008, 12:49:50 PM
Published on NewsBusters.org (http://newsbusters.org)
British Writer Claims MSM Silence on Edwards Scandal Reflects Newspaper Decline

By P.J. Gladnick
Created 2008-08-04 06:28
Perhaps it takes a foreigner looking from the outside in to give us a clear look at the overall meaning of the mainstream media silence on the alleged John Edwards scandal. In this case it is Guy Adams writing in his US Media Diary [1] in the UK Independent about "The 'scoop' the US papers ignored." (emphasis mine):

That old cliché about everything being bigger in America seems especially pertinent when attempting to describe the sheer scale of the crisis currently afflicting the US newspaper industry, which makes all Fleet Street's woes look like a summer picnic.

Last week, The Los Angeles Times decided to flog its historic downtown offices, on top of sacking 150 of its 870 journalists. So did The Chicago Tribune. Almost every title in the land is now shedding staff; a hundred New York Times hacks have been offered voluntary redundancy; Newsweek recently announced cuts. It's a bloodbath out there, as US media companies attempt to claw a pound of flesh from haemorrhaging readerships.

Consider, against this backdrop of falling circulation and a failing industry, the decision of every mainstream paper in America to ignore the juiciest political story of the month (and possibly the year): the discovery by National Enquirer hacks of John Edwards, in the corridors of a Beverly Hills hotel, where his alleged mistress and alleged love child were also staying, at half past two on the morning of Tuesday, 22 July.

Since Edwards was, until recently, hoping to be president and will almost certainly have a prominent role in any Barack Obama administration, his marital integrity is a matter of public interest. It could yet become an election issue. Yet neither the highfalutin NYT, nor the Tribune, nor even the LA Times, on whose patch the whole sordid business occurred, have yet stepped up to the plate to report it. Their old-fashioned reticence seems quaint, in this day of kiss'n'tell and chequebook journalism. But it's also depressing: one of the reasons America's newspapers are dying is their perceived pomposity. Readers say they are too timid to rock the boat; right-wingers complain (with some justification) that they conspire to suppress damaging stories about Democrats. The general public thinks they have simply become boring.

The Edwards story could be selling truckloads of newsprint. It is attracting enormous traffic online, and has been devoured by viewers of Fox, the only TV network to report it. In ignoring the affair, newspapers are sacrificing potential readers and repeating the mistakes of the 1990s, where they loftily decided against reporting Bill Clinton's many bedroom misdeeds, allowing internet sites to claim the Monica Lewinsky "scoop."

The editor of the LA Times, Tony Pierce, has higher concerns, though. He recently sent staff an edict. "There has been a little buzz surrounding John Edwards and his alleged affair," it read. "Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumours or salacious speculations."

I can't pretend to know what Mr Pierce does with his 870 journalists. But if he'd asked just one of them to check out these "salacious rumours" regarding John Edwards the LA Times might have a few more readers, and fewer of the 870 staffers might have to be cut from its bloated payroll.

And in the MSM Wall of Silence category comes this report from a Kansas City Star TV writer, Aaron Barnhart, featured here [1] in NewsBusters last Friday. In contrast to his earlier claim that the MSM has finally begun to report on the John Edwards scandal, Barnhart has now backtracked [2] on his earlier position about the new "openness" of the media on this topic (emphasis mine):

Perhaps I spoke too soon about the whole "John Edwards story going mainstream" business. After a couple of reports by my colleagues elsewhere in the vast McClatchy chain appeared last week, there was bupkis out of the MSM. I mean, I got more traction trying to climb Airport Road in my 1961 Ranchero during an ice storm.

I think all the serious political reporters are just waiting for the National Enquirer to break more news. Then they'll pounce. It's a weird way to do journalism, for sure, but not that surprising. There's very little upside for news editors to be early on this story (no one is talking up Edwards as a VP right now), while the downside is considerable. The blogosphere, however, has gone wild over this story, and simply by deigning to talk about it, TV Barn — a blog, mind you, kept by a MSM entertainment critic — just had its biggest weekend in a decade of service.

Kudos to Mr. Barnhart for being man enough to admit his error and correcting it. Oh, and also thanks for the inadvertent shoutout by referencing this blog as "the adverserial" in the following description of the blogosphere reaction to his earlier piece:

Reaction to my piece has ranged from the adversarial [2] to the hotly adversarial [3] to off-the-charts, like this blogger [4] whose line-by-line analysis of my story would make any JFK/9-11/TWA 800 conspiracy theorist proud.

However, I do think Barnhart was a bit harsh in his latter description of the DBKP blog [5] as making a "conspiracy theorist proud." Any blog that describes [6] your humble correspondent in the following manner deserves praise, not scorn (emphasis proudly mine):

PJ Gladnick, of Newsbusters Writer Claims Edwards Scandal Story Has Finally ‘Trickled Out’ Into MSM [6], does a complete demolition of Barnhart’s other claims about why the MSM didn’t cover the story.

Of course, NewsBusters also took a pass on the story in December. But, NBs has been all over the story in its July reincarnation, chiefly through the efforts of Gladnick. Gladnick’s NewsBusters coverage has been a key element in holding the media’s feet to the fire over the last two weeks.

Blush!

Source URL:
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2008/08/04/british-writer-claims-msm-silence-edwards-scandal-reflects-newspaper-d
Links:
[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/comment/guy-adams-us-media-diary-the-scoop-the-us-papers-ignored-884086.html
[2] http://blogs.kansascity.com/tvbarn/2008/08/john-edwards-an.html
[3] http://themachoresponse.blogspot.com/2008/07/like-they-cared-about-mrs-spitzer-and.html
[4] http://deathby1000papercuts.com/2008/08/john-edwards-scandal-kc-writer-cites-veiled-threats-denials-as-likely/
[5] http://deathby1000papercuts.com/2008/08/john-edwards-scandal-kc-writer-cites-veiled-threats-denials-as-likely/
[6] http://deathby1000papercuts.com/2008/08/john-edwards-scandal-kc-writer-cites-veiled-threats-denials-as-likely/
10129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: August 04, 2008, 07:29:34 AM
b]**So, what was the attack a distraction for?**[/b]

Attackers Kill 16 Police at Chinese Border Post
16 dead as attackers ram truck into jogging police, toss explosives near Chinese border post

By CHARLES HUTZLER
The Associated Press

BEIJING

Two men rammed a truck into a clutch of jogging policemen and tossed explosives, killing 16 officers Monday, state media said, in an attack in a restive province of western China just days before the Beijing Olympics, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Though it happened on the far side of the country — near the Afghan-Pakistan border — the attack came as security forces were on alert for protests or any disruptions during the Games, which open Friday. It was among the deadliest and most brazen attacks in years in Xinjiang province, site of a sporadically violent rebellion by local Muslims against Chinese rule.

About 20 people upset at having been evicted from their homes staged a brief demonstration near Tiananmen Square, Beijing's heavily guarded political center. Uniformed police quickly surrounded the group until members of a neighborhood committee came and pulled the protesters away, scuffling with some.

In the Xinjiang attack, the two men drove a dump truck into the group of border patrol police officers as they passed the Yiquan Hotel during a routine 8 a.m. jog in the city of Kashgar, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

After the truck hit an electrical pole, the pair jumped out, ignited homemade explosives and "also hacked the policemen with knives," Xinhua said.

Fourteen died on the spot and two others en route to a hospital, and at least 16 officers were wounded, Xinhua said.

Police arrested the two attackers, one of whom was injured in the leg, the report said.

Authorities closed off streets, sealed the Nationalities Hospital, down the street from the explosion, and ordered people to stay inside, said a man answering phones at the hospital duty office.

Local government officials declined comment Monday. An officer in the district police department said an investigation was launched.

Kashgar, or Kashi in Chinese, is a tourist city that was once an oasis trading center on the Silk Road caravan routes and lies 80 miles from the border with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. Its mountainous, remote environs have allegedly provided cover for terrorist training camps, one of which Chinese police raided early last year.

Chinese security forces have been on edge for months, citing a number of foiled plots by Muslim separatists and a series of bombings around China in the run-up to the Olympics. Last week, a senior military commander said radical Muslims who are fighting for what they call an independent East Turkistan in Xinjiang posed the single greatest threat to the games.

A spokesman for Beijing's Olympic organizing committee said he did not have enough information to comment on the bombings. But he said security arrangements were being increased around the Olympic venues.

"We've made preparations for all possible threats," the spokesman, Sun Weide, told reporters. "We believe, with the support of the government, with the help of the international community, we have the confidence and the ability to host a safe and secure Olympic Games."

A Chinese counterterrorism expert, Li Wei of the China Institute for Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, said the attack was likely the work of local sympathizers, rather than trained terrorists who sneaked across the border into China.

Xinhua said that Xinjiang's police department earlier received intelligence reports about possible terrorist attacks between Aug. 1 and 8 by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. The movement is the name of a group that China and the U.S. say is a terrorist organization, but Chinese authorities often use the label for a broad number of violent separatist groups.

In Xinjiang, a local Turkic Muslim people, the Uighurs (WEE'-gurs), have chafed under Chinese rule, fully imposed after the communists took power nearly 60 years ago. Occasionally violent attacks in the 1990s brought an intense response from Beijing, which has stationed crack paramilitary units in the area and clamped down on unregistered mosques and religious schools that officials said were inciting militant action.

Uighurs have complained that the suppression has aggravated tensions in Xinjiang, making Uighurs feel even more threatened by an influx of Chinese and driving some to flee to Pakistan and other areas where they then have readier access to extremist ideologies.

One militant group, the Turkistan Islamic Party, pledged in a video that surfaced on the Internet last month to "target the most critical points related to the Olympics." The group is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, with some of its core members having received training from al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban, according to terrorism experts.

Terrorism analysts and Chinese authorities, however, have said that with more than 100,000 soldiers and police guarding Beijing and other Olympic co-host cities, terrorists were more likely to attack less-protected areas.

10130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 03, 2008, 06:53:50 PM
McEveety is one of several big names that will make it hard for the Hollywood establishment to ignore An American Carol. Jon Voight plays George Washington. Dennis Hopper makes an appearance as a judge who defends his courthouse by gunning down ACLU lawyers trying to take down the Ten Commandments. James Woods plays Michael Malone's agent. And Kelsey Grammer plays General George S. Patton, Malone's guide to American history and the mouthpiece of the film's writers.

I chatted with Grammer on the set at Warner Brothers studios. "I'm glad some of the bigger guys jumped in--Dennis Hopper, Jon Voight, James Woods."

Grammer has been out as a conservative for several years and has publicly mused about running for office. His name comes up periodically when California Republicans are brainstorming about candidates to take on Barbara Boxer or Dianne Feinstein for their Senate seats. It's not hard to see why. He is passionate about the issues that matter most to conservatives and extraordinarily articulate.

"The accepted way to speak about America is in the voice that disrespects it. And the voice that's unacceptable is the one that loves America," he says, wearing the uniform of an Army general and sipping from a bottle of pomegranate juice. "How did we get here?"

Over the course of two hours, we are joined by several others working on the movie and talk about everything from taxes--"the rich in this country are being criminalized"--to Iraq. "Petraeus has to couch every bit of optimism in some convoluted formulation to avoid the promised rush of disrespect," Grammer says.

Eventually, the conversation turns from policy to punditry. Grammer, who is friends with Ann Coulter, says he quoted her once to some of the young people who work for him.

"'Ann Coulter,'" he says, recalling their horror and assuming their voice. "'She's the antichrist.' And I said: 'What the f-- do you know about the antichrist? You don't even believe in Christ.'"

Robert Davi, who plays the lead terrorist in the Zucker film, joins us as the discussion turns from policy to the cable pundit shows. Davi is one of those actors with an instantly recognizable face--he was the villain in the Bond film Licence to Kill--but whose name is unknown to most of the country.

"I can't stand Keith Olbermann," says Davi. "Jesus Christ, I want to slap that guy."

"I just sit there and watch these shows"--he picks up an imaginary remote from the table in front of him, points it at the imaginary television somewhere to the right of my head and begins clicking--"I watch them all. I cannot watch the murder shows anymore. Greta comes on and"--he changes the channel once more.

Our discussion continues over lunch and we are joined by Myrna Sokoloff, Kevin Farley, and Chriss Anglin, who plays JFK. Lunch lasts an hour, and we discuss marginal tax rates, the Democratic primary, whether John McCain will pick Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and whether the talk of closing Guantánamo is serious or just campaign rhetoric.

Eventually, the conversation turns to the war and the opposition to it--the subject of their current project. "No one on the left wants to admit that radical Islamists want to kill Americans, the Jews--everyone in the West," Davi says. "I try to talk to my friends on the left and they just don't get it. Most of them have never even heard of Sayyid Qutb. How can you have an intellectual discussion about the war we're in without knowing who Sayyid Qutb is?" he asks, raising his voice so that actors from other tables glance over to see what's causing the commotion. JFK concentrates on his food.

Later that same day, I spoke to Lee Reynolds, who plays the New York police officer whose efforts to search the terrorists are thwarted by the ACLU. Reynolds, too, is a conservative--something David Zucker did not know when he cast Reynolds in the anti-Kerry ad he produced in 2004. Reynolds was active duty military for 12 years and shortly after 9/11 worked as the chief media officer for detainee operations at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

When he returned, he took a job as a production assistant on a film--he asked me not to name it--shot in several locations across the United States. Reynolds worked hard and, he says, won the confidence of the film's directors, who gave him more responsibility. But just as he was making a name for himself, word began to spread that he had been in the military and, far worse, that he supported the efforts of his uniformed colleagues in the war on terror.

"Once they found out I was a Republican, unfortunately for some people it was a problem," he recalls. Several people who had talked to him regularly throughout the shoot simply stopped. And a trip that he was to have taken to participate in an offsite shoot across the country was abruptly cancelled. Another person was sent in his place. Reynolds says that he had only two colleagues who treated him the same way they had before, including "an anti-Bush lesbian" who was disgusted by the dogmatism of the others on the film. Reynolds, now a reservist, is scheduled to leave for Iraq in early 2009. The more Zucker is known as a conservative, the more frequently he has encounters with others who consider themselves conservative.

On one of the days I was on set, McEveety had invited Vivendi Entertainment president Tom O'Malley to meet Zucker. Vivendi had just agreed to distribute the film and had promised wide release--news that had the cast and crew of An American Carol in particularly good spirits.

O'Malley and Zucker chatted about the fact that O'Malley is the nephew of Candid Camera's Tom O'Malley and that they are both from the Midwest, among other things. Zucker thanked him for picking up the movie, which will be one of the first for Vivendi's new distribution arm. O'Malley told Zucker that he was particularly interested in this film in part because he, too, leans right.

Such revelations are common occurrences at the periodic meetings of the secret society of Hollywood conservatives known as the "Friends of Abe." The group, with no official membership list and no formal mission, has been meeting under the leadership of Gary Sinise (CSI New York, Forrest Gump) for four years. Zucker had spent a year working on a film with Christopher McDonald without learning anything about his politics. Shortly after the film wrapped, he ran into McDonald, best known as Shooter McGavin from Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore, at one of these informal meetings.

"It's almost like people who are gay, show up at the baths and say, 'Oh, I didn't know you were gay!' " Zucker says.

From the beginning, Zucker knew what the political message of An American Carol would be. His problem was how to make it funny.

The war on terror, of course, does not lend itself to hilarity. But Zucker knows comedy and has spent nearly four decades making people laugh. With his friend Lewis Friedman, a comedy writer, Zucker went looking for the absurd in the political left and found an abundance of material.

Zucker and Friedman poked fun of the know-nothing culture of antiwar protests. During a rally at Columbia University, students chant: "Peace Now, We Don't Care How!" Some of their protest signs are ones you'd find at any antiwar rally. Some are not. "9/11 Was an Inside Job," "Kick Army Recruiters Off Campus!" "End Violence--War Is Not the Answer!" "End Disease--Medicine Is Not the Answer!" "It's Too Dark Outside, The Sun Is Not the Answer!" "Overpopulation--Gay Marriage Is the Answer!"

Other claims were so absurd they didn't require exaggeration. "We really didn't have to do a lot of stretching," says Zucker.

When he heard Rosie O'Donnell claim that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state," he knew he had several minutes of material.

In the film, a rotund comedian named Rosie O'Connell makes an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor to promote her documentary, The Truth About Radical Christians. O'Reilly shows a clip, which opens with a pair of priests walking through an airport--as seen from pre-hijacking surveillance video--before boarding the airplane. Once onboard, they storm the cockpit using crucifixes as their weapon of choice. Next the documentary looks at the growing phenomenon of nuns as suicide bombers, seeking 72 virgins in heaven. A dramatization shows two nuns, strapped with explosives, board a bus to the cries of the other passengers. "Oh, no! Not the Christians!" O'Connell's work ends with a warning about new threats and the particular menace of the "Episcopal suppository bomber."

Zucker is plainly not worried about offending anyone. David Alan Grier plays a slave in a scene designed to show Malone what might have happened if the United States had not fought the Civil War. As Patton explains to a dumbfounded Malone that the plantation they are visiting is his own, Grier thanks the documentarian for being such a humane owner. As they leave, another slave, played by Gary Coleman, finishes polishing a car and yells "Hey, Barack!" before tossing the sponge to someone off-camera.

It is one of just two references to the ongoing presidential campaign. (The other one, more cryptic, comes in a scene that's a throwback to the Iraq Study Group ad. Neville Chamberlain, after polishing Adolf Hitler's boots, signs the Munich Agreement, and declares: "We have hope now.") But Tom O'Malley, president of Vivendi, believes that the timing of the film's release--October 3--will give it special relevance to the current debates. And several of the film's leading figures have strong opinions about Barack Obama. "Obama is not qualified to be president, and it'll be a disaster," says Zucker, who then pauses as if he's said something he should have kept to himself. "Shouldn't I be allowed to say that?"

Zucker says that one of the major differences between the left and the right in America today is that leftists think of their political opponents as evil. "I don't think that Obama is an evil guy, I just think he's wrong. But I do think we face real evil in Ahmadinejad and the mullahs and all these crazy guys."

Does Obama understand that?

"I don't think so. I don't think so."

Zucker points to a National Journal study that found Obama to be the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. "John Kerry was, and Obama is. Fortunately, Kerry was a stiff. But Obama isn't a stiff and he's really adaptable. He's like a really clever virus who adapts. Obama's the farthest left of all of these guys. And that's why he associated with all of those crazies--terrorists, preachers of hate."

Jon Voight, who says he was "duped" as a young man into rallying against the Vietnam war, is also troubled both by Obama's associations and his willingness to end them so abruptly. "When I look at the other side, when I look at Barack Obama, I see expediency," he says, pointing to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and assuming Obama's voice. "He's like family. I could never disown him. I didn't know him. I didn't hear those words in that church."

If those behind the film have similar views about Obama, many of them have opposing views about the long-term impact of a film like An American Carol on the movie industry.

"If this does well, it'll change everything," says Grammer.

"I think it would be pompous to say that," says Voight. "It's a movie. It's a satire. And it's a funny satire. I don't want to point to this thing, just because there are so few films from conservative sources, and make it a target. It's a movie. Let's not burden this little horse with additional weights."

David Zucker seems to be of two minds. When I ask him if he had an objective in making the film, he borrows a line from his friend and former partner, Jim Abrahams. "Avoid embarrassment."

He adds: "I don't have any desire to be taken seriously. Really, I really don't. But having said that, I really believe this stuff. Why can't I put it out there? And I'm scared to death of Obama. If I didn't do something about it I would feel--My kids would ask: 'What did you do in the war Daddy?'"

"I donated my career to stop this s--."

Stephen F. Hayes, a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, is the author of Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President (HarperCollins) .
10131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 03, 2008, 06:52:46 PM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/385rlkfy.asp?pg=1

Hollywood Takes on the Left
David Zucker, the director who brought us 'Airplane!' and 'The Naked Gun,' turns his sights on anti-Americanism.
by Stephen F. Hayes
08/11/2008, Volume 013, Issue 45

Los Angeles
For anyone who has ever been on a movie set, the commotion inside Warner Brothers Studio 15 will be familiar: serious-faced actors and actresses quietly rehearsing their lines; the director of photography huddled with his assistants around two high-definition screens inside a small black tent reviewing the last scenes; extras lounging around the set trying both to stay out of the way and to get noticed; carpenters busily working to construct the set for the next scene; a frazzled first assistant director guzzling Red Bull and yelling instructions to anyone who will listen.

"Rolling," he shouts.

Others throughout the cavernous studio echo his call.

"Rolling! Quiet please!"

David Zucker is sitting in a high-backed director's chair with his name on it. (I'd always assumed they were just used for effect in movies, but here one was.) Zucker is looking at a monitor showing the inside of an empty New York City subway station. It's actually just a set--a stunning replica of a subway station--and it sits 15 feet to Zucker's right.

The first assistant director breaks the silence.

"Action!"

The set jumps to life. Two young men--both terrorists--enter the station. They are surprised to see a security checkpoint manned by two NYPD officers. "I'll need to see your bag, please," says one of the officers. The lead terrorist glances nervously at his friend and swings his backpack down from his shoulder to present it to the cops. Just as the officer pulls on the zipper, however, a small army of ACLU lawyers marches up to the policemen with a stop-search order. The cops look at each other and shrug their shoulders. "This says we can't search their bags."

The young men are relieved. They smile fiendishly as they walk toward the crowded platform. As the lead terrorist once again slips the backpack over his shoulder, he mutters his appreciation.

"Thank Allah for the ACLU."

Zucker's latest movie, An American Carol, is unlike anything that has ever come out of Hollywood. It is a frontal attack on the excesses of the American left from several prominent members of a growing class of Hollywood conservatives. Until now, conservatives in Hollywood have always been too few and too worried about a backlash to do anything serious to challenge the left-wing status quo.

David Zucker believes we are in a "new McCarthy era." Time magazine film writer Richard Corliss recently joked that conservative films are "almost illegal in Hollywood." Tom O'Malley, president of Vivendi Entertainment, though, dismisses claims that Hollywood is hostile to conservative ideas and suggests that conservatives simply haven't been as interested in making movies. "How come there aren't more socialists on Wall Street?"

But Zucker's film, together with a spike in attendance at events put on by "The Friends of Abe" (Lincoln, not Vigoda)--a group of right-leaning Hollywood types that has been meeting regularly for the past four years--is once again reviving hope that conservatives will have a battalion in this exceedingly influential battleground of the broader culture war.

Zucker has always been interested in politics. He was raised in Shorewood, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, in a household where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was viewed as either a hero or a dangerous conservative. He was elected president of his senior class at the University of Wisconsin, and, when he addressed his classmates at commencement in the spring of 1970, his speech was serious--a friend describes it as "solemn" and political. Among other things, Zucker condemned the Kent State shootings and lamented the mistreatment of America's blacks. Two years later, he appeared on stage with lefty leading man Warren Beatty and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. Zucker says at the time he was "very liberal." (His brother Jerry remains an unreconstructed liberal and recently optioned a sympathetic movie about the life and times of serial fabulist Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame.)

David Zucker got his start in entertainment right after school. In 1971, he teamed up with his brother and two friends to create an irreverent revue called Kentucky Fried Theater. They drew large crowds to cafés and small theaters in Madison and soon outgrew the college town. They went to Hollywood to chase the dream, and, surprise, the show worked in Southern California, too.

They caught the attention of some of Hollywood's boldfaced names--the show would serve as one of Lorne Michaels's inspirations for Saturday Night Live--and in 1977 they released their first film, The Kentucky Fried Movie. It was the first of many classics: Airplane!, Top Secret!, The Naked Gun, BASEketball. Actually, BASEketball sucked, but by the time it was released in 1998, Zucker had put together enough of a streak that he was widely regarded as a comedic genius. Matt Stone, who together with Trey Parker created South Park, starred in BASEketball. He described Zucker's influence this way: "I used to sit at home with my friends in high school and watch Kentucky Fried Movie and Airplane! and vomit from laughing."

Although these films had some political jokes, the movies themselves did not carry overt political messages. Naked Gun 2 came closest with a vaguely pro-environment theme. (It opens with George H.W. Bush meeting with the heads of America's coal, oil, and nuclear industries: the representatives of the Society for More Coal Energy [pronounced SMOKE]; the Society of Petroleum Industry Leaders [SPIL]; and the Key Atomic Benefits Office of Mankind [KABOOM].) Zucker, who owns a Toyota Prius and derives a third of the energy for his house from photovoltaic cells, is still an environmentalist.

In 1984, one of Zucker's college friends, Rich Markey, suggested he listen to a local Los Angeles talk radio show, "Religion on the Line," hosted by Dennis Prager. Zucker took the advice and soon struck up a friendship with Prager, whose conservative views appealed to Zucker as common sense. Although his politics were evolving, Zucker remained supportive of California Democrats, giving $2,400 to Senator Barbara Boxer in the mid-1990s. He contributed another $600 to an outfit called the "Hollywood Women's Political Committee" which, with members like Jane Fonda, Bonnie Raitt, and Barbra Streisand, probably wasn't calling for low taxes and abstinence education.

Zucker was still nominally a Democrat when George W. Bush was elected in 2000. "Then 9/11 happened, and I couldn't take it anymore," he says. "The response to 9/11--the right was saying this is pure evil we're facing and the left was saying how are we at fault for this? I think I'd just had enough. And I said 'I quit.'"

He decided to write a letter to Boxer, sharing his disgust and telling her not to expect any more of his money. Having never done this before, he asked a friend with the Republican Jewish Committee for help. This friend recommended Zucker contact Myrna Sokoloff, a former paid staffer for Boxer, who had recently completed a similar ideological journey.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Sokoloff had worked for several stars of the Democratic party's left wing. She served on the campaign staff of Mark Green, a close associate of Ralph Nader, when he ran for Senate in New York against Al D'Amato. She worked for Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential campaign and in 1998 was a fundraiser for Barbara Boxer's reelection effort.

Sokoloff had begun to sour on the Democratic party and the left generally during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. "As a feminist, I was outraged," she recalls. "If he had been a Republican president we would have demanded his resignation and marched on the White House." When she made this point to her Democratic friends, she says, they told her to keep quiet.

Although she didn't vote for George W. Bush in 2000, Sokoloff says she was glad that he won. Less than a year later, she understood why. "When 9/11 happened, I knew Democrats wouldn't be strong enough to fight this war."

Sokoloff and Zucker never did write the letter to Boxer, but their partnership would prove much more fruitful.

As the 2004 presidential election approached, Sokoloff and Zucker looked for a way to influence the debate. Their first effort was an ad mocking John Kerry for his flip-flops that the conservative Club for Growth paid to put on the air. In 2006, Sokoloff and Zucker followed that with a series of uproarious short spots mocking, in turn, the Iraq Study Group, Madeleine Albright and pro-appeasement foreign policy, and pro-tax congressional Democrats.

The Iraq Study Group ad was the most memorable. It opens with news footage of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain celebrating the signing of the Munich Agreement. A newspaper stand boasting "Peace with Honour" flashes across the screen.

Neville Chamberlain: "This morning, I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler. Here is the paper, which bears his name upon it, as well as mine."

The spot cuts to footage of German bombers over Warsaw. "Well," intones a narrator, "that negotiation went well. Fifty million dead worldwide. Nicely done, Mr. Chamberlain."

Then viewers are shown footage of imaginary negotiations between James Baker, Syria's Bashar Assad, and "Iranian madman" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Baker's Iraq Study Group had formally recommended talks with Iran and Syria as part of its proposed solution to the problems in Iraq.

When Ahmadinejad asks Baker for permission to develop nuclear weapons so long as Iran promises not to use them, Baker agrees. Triumphant music plays loudly in the background and the diplomacy pauses for a celebration and some photos.

The music stops and Baker returns to the table with Ahmadinejad and Syria's Bashar Assad.

"Next item: You must agree to stop supplying the explosive devices that are killing our American soldiers in Iraq," Baker insists.

"We won't do that."

"Well, can you reduce the number?"

"Okay, how about 10 percent?" Assad proposes.

"Twenty percent," Baker responds.

"Fifteen."

"Five."

"Sold!"

The music starts again and Baker, like Chamberlain, triumphantly waves the signed agreement.

"Now, this thing about destroying Israel," he says to Ahmadinejad.

"We will do that," says the Iranian leader.

Baker shrugs. "That's fair," he says, affixing his signature to yet another agreement and once again waving it before the cameras.

Zucker says that the idea to do a feature film grew out of those ads, and several of the actors in the spots, including Turkish actor Serdar Kalsin, who plays Ahmadinejad, have speaking roles in the film.

If An American Carol grew out of Zucker's work on these commercials, the narrative device dates back to 1843. An American Carol is based loosely--very loosely--on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

"Why be original?" Zucker asks. "I've done that. It doesn't work, like BASEketball"--as he says this, he rolls his eyes and moves his right hand across his body to indicate a car going off a cliff.

The holiday in An American Carol is not Christmas and the antagonist is not Ebenezer Scrooge. Instead, the film follows the exploits of a slovenly, anti-American filmmaker named Michael Malone, who has joined with a left-wing activist group (Moovealong.org) to ban the Fourth of July. Along the way, Malone is visited by the ghosts of three American heroes--George Washington, George S. Patton, and John F. Kennedy--who try to convince him he's got it all wrong. When terrorists from Afghanistan realize that they need to recruit more operatives to make up for the ever-diminishing supply of suicide bombers, they begin a search for just the right person to help produce a new propaganda video. "This will not be hard to find in Hollywood," says one. "They all hate America." When they settle on Malone, who is in need of work after his last film (Die You American Pigs) bombed at the box office, he unwittingly helps them with their plans to launch another attack on American soil.

The entire film is an extended rebuttal to the vacuous antiwar slogan that "War Is Not the Answer." Zucker's response, in effect: "It Depends on the Question."

Zucker had originally hoped to cast Dan Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy) as Malone, but a timing conflict kept him from getting it done. After briefly considering Frank Caliendo, a fellow Wisconsinite, a colleague passed him a reel from Kevin Farley, the younger brother of the late Chris Farley, and Zucker, who recalled seeing Kevin Farley in an episode of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, was interested.

Zucker and Sokoloff met Farley in April 2007. Zucker described his new film with words he had chosen carefully. "I figured he was like everyone else in Hollywood--a Democrat," Zucker recalls. "And we knew that this was not a Democrat movie." It would be a satirical look at the war on terror, he told Farley, and explained that he and Sokoloff were political "moderates."

Farley hadn't seen any of Zucker's ads and assumed he was like everyone else in Hollywood--a Democrat. So he answered with some strategic ambiguity of his own. "I consider myself a centrist," he said, worried that they might press him more about his political views.

Zucker gave Farley the script and, concerned that Farley's agent would advise him against accepting the role because of the film's politics, told the actor not to show it to anyone. Farley, best known for his recurring role in a series of Hertz commercials, read the script and called back the next day to accept.

When he met Zucker and Sokoloff on the set as shooting on the film began, he told them that he, too, had long considered himself a conservative. "I couldn't believe it," says Sokoloff. "We were afraid that he would not want to be involved in something that was so directly taking on the left and that he would not want to play the Michael Moore character."

Farley told me this story during a break in filming at the Daniel Webster Elementary School in Pasadena, last April, with Steve McEveety, the film's producer, listening in.

"I thought that the minute we started talking about politics that would be the end," Farley recalls. "There was this dance that we did--a dance familiar to conservative actors in Hollywood. Lots of actors have done it."

"All three of you," said McEveety.

"Yeah, all three of us."

Farley is not aggressive about his politics and has chosen simply to opt out of political discussions when they have arisen on other projects. "I usually just bite my tongue unless it gets too ridiculous," he says. "The only thing that really bothers me is when they go off about the president. It just gets annoying."

If Farley is nervous that his proverbial big break is coming in a film with politics that might make getting his next big role more difficult, he doesn't show it. "If it's the last movie I do, I'll go work for Steve's company," he says.

"If this doesn't work," McEveety deadpans, "I won't have a company."

Yes, he will. He founded the company, Mpower Pictures, two years ago with John Shepherd, a former child actor, and Todd Burns, who helped put himself through law school by working as an EMT. McEveety, whose producing credits include Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, and The Passion of the Christ, is far too well-established to live or die based on the success of one film. And he created Mpower in part because he wanted the freedom to take risks on film projects others in Hollywood wouldn't consider. One such film, The Fallen, will be out later this fall. The film, based on a powerful book by Iranian journalist Friedoune Sahebjam, tells the true story of a young Iranian woman who is framed by her husband on false charges of infidelity and persecuted under the strictures of sharia law. According to McEveety, the Iranian regime has already begun an effort to discredit the film.

10132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 03, 2008, 06:15:31 PM
http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/only_22_say_mccain_ad_racist_but_over_half_53_see_obama_dollar_bill_comment_that_way

Only 22% Say McCain Ad Racist, But Over Half (53%) See Obama Dollar-bill Comment That Way
Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of the nation’s voters say they’ve seen news coverage of the McCain campaign commercial that includes images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and suggests that Barack Obama is a celebrity just like them. Of those, just 22% say the ad was racist while 63% say it was not.
However, Obama’s comment that his Republican opponent will try to scare people because Obama does not look like all the other presidents on dollar bills was seen as racist by 53%. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree.
Both campaigns expressed a desire to move beyond the recent flap. On Saturday Obama backed off the racism charge and accused McCain's campaign of cynicism instead. He also rejected McCain's charge that the Democrat himself had brought race into the campaign with his dollar bill comment.
Two months after Obama clinched the Democratic Presidential Nomination, the race for the White House remains amazingly close in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
Not surprisingly, the McCain ad generates significantly different perceptions along racial and ethnic lines. Most African-American voters—58%--saw the McCain ad as racist. Just 18% of white voters and 14% of all other voters shared that view. To watch the ad, click HERE.
As for Obama’s comment, 53% of white voters saw it as racist, as did 44% of African-Americans and 61% of all other voters.
There were also significant partisan divides. Democrats were evenly divided as to whether the McCain commercial was racist, and they were also evenly divided on the Obama comment. Republicans, by an 87% to 4% margin, rejected the notion that the McCain campaign ad was racist. But, by a 67% to 26% margin, GOP voters believe that Obama’s comment was racist.
Unaffiliated voters, by a five-to-one margin, said the McCain ad was not racist. By a much narrower 50% to 38% margin, unaffiliateds viewed Obama’s comment as racist.
Overall, just 22% of voters believe that most Americans are racist. That view is shared by 32% of Democrats, 20% of unaffiliated voters and 12% of Republicans. African-American voters are evenly divided on the question.
10133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 03, 2008, 11:12:20 AM
There is a long history of the "palestinians" seeking shelter in Israel when needed. Of course they'll be back to terrorism as soon as they get on their feet.
10134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: August 02, 2008, 04:48:30 PM
Germany’s Intifada   
By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, August 01, 2008
First it was France, and now Germany.
 
German authorities are reporting that, within their cities, areas now exist where police fear to tread. In many German urban areas drug dealing, theft, brawls, and assaults on police officers are the order of the day. The problem is becoming so severe police scarcely dare enter some quarters except in strength, while in others they concentrate on their own safety first.     
 
But this is old news to French law enforcement officials. The 2005 riots woke France up to the fact that an anti-civilization had arisen in the “banlieues” (housing projects), which surround major French cities. Populated mainly by immigrants from North and West Africa, many with a Muslim background, they are known as places of anger and aggression towards anyone who represents “official” France.
 
French police are sometimes attacked with Molotov cocktails when they enter such areas. Firemen and ambulance attendants are not treated much better. Police even had difficulty protecting a French president, Jacques Chirac, and his interior minister when they went campaigning in a banlieue. The two high-ranking politicians were also met with Molotovs and had to retreat.
 
In all, the French housing projects have the look of scarred battlefields with burnt out cars littering the landscape. The extent of France’s lawlessness problem manifested itself last month when 592 cars were torched in France in the two nights surrounding Bastille Day, July 14 and 15, 150 in the Paris region alone. To make matters worse, Islamic fundamentalists have attracted many of the banlieus’ unemployed, uneducated and frustrated young men to their cause. These fundamentalists, it is suspected, were the ones directing the 2005 disturbances and their recurrence in 2007.
 
In Germany, the problem neighbourhoods are often located within the city and not on the outskirts. Like in France, though, urban anti-societies have arisen, but in Germany they consist mainly of Turkish and Arab immigrants, many from Lebanon. In their districts, German laws and values now have little, if any, validity, while their culture of lawlessness does.
 
Police complain that when they conduct routine checks in these neighbourhoods, they are met with angry crowds and often risk assault. Even when a policeman is carrying out a simple duty, like inspecting someone’s identification, out of nowhere suddenly appear 20 to 30 men, yelling wildly, who push and shove him. They assemble quickly after having been contacted by cell phone.
 
While confrontations occur over nothing, violence can occur when the stakes are higher. When Berlin police arrested three drug-dealing Arabs in Kreuzberg, for example, a district where Turks and Arabs form the majority, they were immediately swarmed by two dozen men who tried to free the suspected criminals by force. Only the quick arrival of reinforcements saved the day. It is also in Kreuzberg that the first car burnings in Germany took place.
 
For the last ten years Berlin has been the leading German city for such “resistance-to-police” incidents. Overall, Germany’s police union records an average of 26,000 such occurrences a year, an increase of 60 per cent from the 1980s. Berlin accounts for about 3,000 of this total. In Germany’s capital, a union official said, there exists “an alarm level red” concerning violence against police.
 
“We have been registering for years a loss of police authority and a rapid sinking of a lack of restraint,” said Eberhard Schonberg, the police union’s head.
 
But what is even more disturbing to law enforcement officials is the increase in violent crime among minors, especially those with a foreign background. Germany was shocked this year when two youths, one Turkish and the other Greek, nearly beat a 76-year-old retired school principal to death in Munich last December. The pensioner had admonished them for smoking on a commuter train. The two criminals kicked and yelled “s**t German” at the man’s prostrate form after having knocked him down.
 
There is also an overrepresentation of immigrant youth in crime statistics. A survey of schools in western German cities showed that ten per cent of the Turkish students were repeat offenders, who had committed more than five violent offences. The same survey showed 8.3 per cent of students from the former Yugoslavia were in the same category along with 5.9 per cent from the former Soviet Union. Native-born Germans, who also included those from migrant backgrounds with German citizenship, made up only 2.9 per cent of such delinquents.   
 
And while German teenagers are more often the victims of youth crime, immigrant youth brutality very often occurs between different ethnic groups. Violence between Turks and Arabs at one high school in Berlin, for example, became so bad the principal asked the city to close her school. This incident then led other principals across Germany to request the same for their schools.
 
But even immigrant children as young as eight are committing illegal acts. Police report of an Arab neighborhood in Duisburg, a city in the Rhineland, where such youthful miscreants “kick old ladies, demand sexual intercourse from women, throw water-filled balloons against business windows and deliberately cross streets at red lights to create traffic jams.” Their aim, police say, is to generate fear among outsiders.
 
The overall purpose of such disturbing behavior and anti-police incidents is to turn these immigrant neighbourhoods into lawless mini-states, where their tribal and religious customs and rules predominate, and criminals can act freely. In scuffles and confrontations German police are often told, in threat and obscenity-filled language, to go away and that these streets belong to the ethnic group that lives there.
 
As everyone knows, a competent and effective police force is necessary to protect the law-abiding citizen, guarantee his rights and carry out one of the main functions of the state: law and order. But increasingly in some European urban areas, a police uniform has come to mean nothing. And countries like Germany do not act now to reverse this, their cities will become as burnt out and eviscerated as the carcasses of cars France knows only too well.

Stephen Brown is a contributing editor at Frontpagemag.com. He has a graduate degree in Russian and Eastern European history. Email him at alsolzh@hotmail.com.
10135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: August 02, 2008, 03:23:01 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/2485750/British-Muslims-fighting-with-Taliban-in-Afghanistan.html

British Muslims 'fighting with Taliban in Afghanistan'
British Muslims are helping the Taliban in their war against UK soldiers in southern Afghanistan, according to the former commander of Britain's forces in Afghanistan.
 
By Con Coughlin, Duncan Gardham and Thomas Harding
Last Updated: 12:25PM BST 02 Aug 2008

Brig. Ed Butler: 'There are British passport holders who live in the U.K. who are being found in places like Kandahar' Photo: HEATHCLIFF O'MALLEY
Brig. Ed Butler, who spent six months commanding British forces in Afghanistan, also revealed fears that militant Islamic groups in south-east Asia are supporting terrorist plots in the UK.
The brigadier, a former head of the SAS, spoke exclusively to the Daily Telegraph in the week when the British death toll in Afghanistan reached 114, with 17 fatalities in the last two months.
UK forces have uncovered evidence that British Muslims are actively supporting the Taliban and al-Qa'eda in attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, Brig Butler said.
He said: "There are British passport holders who live in the U.K. who are being found in places like Kandahar."
Earlier this year, it was revealed that RAF Nimrod spyplanes monitoring Taliban radio signals in Afghanistan had heard militants speaking with Yorkshire and Midlands accents.
Privately, British officers in Afghanistan estimate that several thousand Taliban fighters have been killed since 2006, among them people from outside the country.
One officer said: "While my troops have not actually found British passports on enemy dead there has been a suspicion that with the high number of Taliban casualties they have needed to recruit a lot of foreign fighters and some of these are likely to be of British-Muslim descent."
Disturbingly, Brig Butler suggested the traffic between Britain and Afghanistan may flow in both directions, with some British Muslims returning from the region and posing a domestic security threat.
Brig Butler, 46, said he had seen evidence that terror groups based in southern Afghanistan were plotting with Muslim extremists in Britain to carry out terror attacks in the UK.
"There is a link between Kandahar and urban conurbations in the UK," said Brig. Butler. "This is something the military understands but the British public does not."
Western intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned that Afghanistan and its lawless border with Pakistan are now home to many training camps used by Jihadi groups to prepare radicals for attacks in the West.
A Whitehall source confirmed that the security services are aware of some radicalized British Muslims returning to the UK from Afghanstan.
The source said: "There are very small numbers of British citizens traveling out there, being trained up and then returning to the UK."
With al-Qaeda widely seen to be losing ground in Iraq, counter-terrorism officials say that Afghanistan is emerging as the focus for radicalised Western Muslims wanting to fight Western forces.
Earlier this year, Nigel Inkster, a former deputy head of MI6, warned that Taliban groups over the border in Pakistan have "dispatched terrorists to a number of locations including Spain and the United Kingdom."
Brig Butler, widely regarded as one of the best British officers of his generation, announced his decision to retire from the Army earlier this year.
He had been a candidate for the job of Director, Special Forces, overseeing the SAS, the SBS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment.
Despite claims that his premature retirement was in protest at the government's underfunding of the Armed Forces, Brig Butler insisted his decision to step down had been prompted by the desire to spend more time with his family.
"I reached the conclusion that I did not want to leave my family any more for an extended period. Life is too short. There is no point having a family if you are not going to see them," he said.
Brig Butler commanded British forces when they began their current mission in southern Afghanistan two years ago and is credited with being the architect of the British Army's strategy for defeating the Taliban.
But he said that from the outset British commanders knew the Taliban "would be up for a fight, but we were surprised at how ferocious that fight turned out to be."
When British forces deployed to Helmand province in 2006, Brig Butler warned the government that there was a strong possibility that British soldiers would end up killing Muslims who held British passports and were fighting with the Taliban and al-Qa'eda.
He is currently Commander of Joint Force Operations based at Northwood, near London, and will formally leave the Army next year.
British commanders and diplomats have warned that the West faces a "long haul" in Afghanistan and may have to retain a military presence there for decades to come.
Brig Butler believes the continued presence of radical British Muslims in southern Afghanistan is one of the reasons British forces must remain in the region, despite the heavy number of battlefield fatalities.
"This is a highly significant mission," he said. "If we do not win against the protagonists of the September 11 attacks then those who are against us will take great succour from it."
It is vital for British forces to remain in Afghanistan "for as long as it takes" to prevent a repeat of the July 7 bombings in London in 2005, which killed 52 people, he said.
Several British Muslims were detained in Afghanistan during the 2001 U.S.-led military operation to overthrow the Taliban, and were held at Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants.
All were later released and say they had no involvement in anti-coalition activity.
10136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: August 02, 2008, 03:05:33 PM
http://www.zombietime.com/up_your_alley_2008/

CONTENT WARNING! SF street fair.
10137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: August 02, 2008, 02:43:37 PM
I'm not sure a ground offensive from India might not be a good thing. It might force a reality check in Pak.
10138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 01, 2008, 09:30:57 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/08/01/cbs-message-indicates-zawahiri-critically-wounded-possibly-dead/

Is Al Zawa-lumpy now a martyr? My fingers are crossed.....
10139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: August 01, 2008, 05:34:44 PM
Not really. Without googling the numbers, the number of people, cargo and vehicles crossing US borders daily is immense. Only a tiny fraction are searched under the border search doctrine. There is a compelling interest for the US government to control what enters and exits the United States. Also, very few nations you might be transiting to/from have a greater degree of privacy rights than the US, thus your "reasonable expectation of privacy" is very little, if any.
10140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: August 01, 2008, 03:07:28 PM
    http://news.cnet.com/
Police blotter: Laptop border searches OK'd

By Declan McCullagh
http://news.cnet.com/Police-blotter-Laptop-border-searches-OKd/2100-1030_3-6098939.html

Story last modified Thu Jul 27 05:30:52 PDT 2006


"Police blotter" is a weekly CNET News.com report on the intersection of technology and the law.
What: A business traveler protests the warrantless search and seizure of his laptop by Homeland Security at the U.S.-Canada border.

When: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on July 24.

Outcome: Three-judge panel unanimously says that border police may conduct random searches of laptops without search warrants or probable cause. These searches can include seizing the laptop and subjecting it to extensive forensic analysis.

What happened, according to court documents:

In January 2004, Stuart Romm traveled to Las Vegas to attend a training seminar for his new employer. Then, on Feb. 1, Romm continued the business trip by boarding a flight to Kelowna, British Columbia.

Romm was denied entry by the Canadian authorities because of his criminal history. When he returned to the Seattle-Tacoma airport, he was interviewed by two agents of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.

They asked to search his laptop, and Romm agreed. Agent Camille Sugrue would later testify that she used the "EnCase" software to do a forensic analysis of Romm's hard drive.

That analysis and a subsequent one found some 42 child pornography images, which had been present in the cache used by Romm's Web browser and then deleted. But because in most operating systems, only the directory entry is removed when a file is "deleted," the forensic analysis was able to recover the actual files.

During the trial, Romm's attorney asked that the evidence from the border search be suppressed. The trial judge disagreed. Romm was eventually sentenced to two concurrent terms of 10 and 15 years for knowingly receiving and knowingly possessing child pornography.

The 9th Circuit refused to overturn his conviction, ruling that American citizens effectively enjoy no right to privacy when stopped at the border.

"We hold first that the ICE's forensic analysis of Romm's laptop was permissible without probable cause or a warrant under the border search doctrine," wrote Judge Carlos Bea. Joining him in the decision were Judges David Thompson and Betty Fletcher.

Bea cited the 1985 case of U.S. v. Montoya de Hernandez, in which a woman arriving in Los Angeles from Columbia was detained. Police believed she had swallowed balloons filled with cocaine, even though the court said they had no "clear indication" of it and did not have probable cause to search her.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court said police could rectally examine De Hernandez because it was a border crossing and, essentially, anything goes. (The rectal examination, by the way, did find 88 balloons filled with cocaine that had been smuggled in her alimentary canal.)

Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall dissented. They said the situation De Hernandez experienced had "the hallmark of a police state."

"To be sure, the court today invokes precedent stating that neither probable cause nor a warrant ever have been required for border searches," Brennan wrote. "If this is the law as a general matter, I believe it is time that we re-examine its foundations."

But Brennan and Marshall were outvoted by their fellow justices, who ruled that the drug war trumped privacy, citing a "veritable national crisis in law enforcement caused by smuggling of illicit narcotics." Today their decision means that laptop-toting travelers should expect no privacy either.

As an aside, a report last year from a U.S.-based marijuana activist says U.S. border guards looked through her digital camera snapshots and likely browsed through her laptop's contents. A London-based correspondent for The Economist magazine once reported similar firsthand experiences, and a 1998 article in The New York Times described how British customs scan laptops for sexual material. Here are some tips on using encryption to protect your privacy.

Excerpt from the court's opinion (Click here for PDF):

"First, we address whether the forensic analysis of Romm's laptop falls under the border search exception to the warrant requirement...Under the border search exception, the government may conduct routine searches of persons entering the United States without probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or a warrant. For Fourth Amendment purposes, an international airport terminal is the "functional equivalent" of a border. Thus, passengers deplaning from an international flight are subject to routine border searches.

Romm argues he was not subject to a warrantless border search because he never legally crossed the U.S.-Canada border. We have held the government must be reasonably certain that the object of a border search has crossed the border to conduct a valid border search....In all these cases, however, the issue was whether the person searched had physically crossed the border. There is no authority for the proposition that a person who fails to obtain legal entry at his destination may freely re-enter the United States; to the contrary, he or she may be searched just like any other person crossing the border.

Nor will we carve out an "official restraint" exception to the border search doctrine, as Romm advocates. We assume for the sake of argument that a person who, like Romm, is detained abroad has no opportunity to obtain foreign contraband. Even so, the border search doctrine is not limited to those cases where the searching officers have reason to suspect the entrant may be carrying foreign contraband. Instead, 'searches made at the border...are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border.' Thus, the routine border search of Romm's laptop was reasonable, regardless whether Romm obtained foreign contraband in Canada or was under "official restraint."

In sum, we hold first that the ICE's forensic analysis of Romm's laptop was permissible without probable cause or a warrant under the border search doctrine."
10141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: August 01, 2008, 09:29:40 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?_r=2&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

August 1, 2008
Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say

By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials.

The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.

The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Concerns about the role played by Pakistani intelligence not only has strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, a longtime ally, but also has fanned tensions between Pakistan and its archrival, India. Within days of the bombings, Indian officials accused the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of helping to orchestrate the attack in Kabul, which killed 54, including an Indian defense attaché.

This week, Pakistani troops clashed with Indian forces in the contested region of Kashmir, threatening to fray an uneasy cease-fire that has held since November 2003.

The New York Times reported this week that a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan this month to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups. It had not been known that American intelligence agencies concluded that elements of Pakistani intelligence provided direct support for the attack in Kabul.

American officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the C.I.A. emissary, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, even before the attack. The intercepts were not detailed enough to warn of any specific attack.

The government officials were guarded in describing the new evidence and would not say specifically what kind of assistance the ISI officers provided to the militants. They said that the ISI officers had not been renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorized by superiors.

“It confirmed some suspicions that I think were widely held,” one State Department official with knowledge of Afghanistan issues said of the intercepted communications. “It was sort of this ‘aha’ moment. There was a sense that there was finally direct proof.”

The information linking the ISI to the bombing of the Indian Embassy was described in interviews by several American officials with knowledge of the intelligence. Some of the officials expressed anger that elements of Pakistan’s government seemed to be directly aiding violence in Afghanistan that had included attacks on American troops.

Some American officials have begun to suggest that Pakistan is no longer a fully reliable American partner and to advocate some unilateral American action against militants based in the tribal areas.

The ISI has long maintained ties to militant groups in the tribal areas, in part to court allies it can use to contain Afghanistan’s power. In recent years, Pakistan’s government has also been concerned about India’s growing influence inside Afghanistan, including New Delhi’s close ties to the government of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

American officials say they believe that the embassy attack was probably carried out by members of a network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose alliance with Al Qaeda and its affiliates has allowed the terrorist network to rebuild in the tribal areas.

American and Pakistani officials have now acknowledged that President Bush on Monday confronted Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, about the divided loyalties of the ISI.

Pakistan’s defense minister, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, told a Pakistani television network on Wednesday that Mr. Bush asked senior Pakistani officials this week, “ ‘Who is in control of ISI?’ ” and asked about leaked information that tipped militants to surveillance efforts by Western intelligence services.

Pakistan’s new civilian government is wrestling with these very issues, and there is concern in Washington that the civilian leaders will be unable to end a longstanding relationship between members of the ISI and militants associated with Al Qaeda.

Spokesmen for the White House and the C.I.A. declined to comment for this article. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, did not return a call seeking comment.

Further underscoring the tension between Pakistan and its Western allies, Britain’s senior military officer said in Washington on Thursday that an American and British program to help train Pakistan’s Frontier Corps in the tribal areas had been delayed while Pakistan’s military and civilian officials sorted out details about the program’s goals.

Britain and the United States had each offered to send about two dozen military trainers to Pakistan later this summer to train Pakistani Army officers who in turn would instruct the Frontier Corps paramilitary forces.

But the British officer, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, said the program had been temporarily delayed. “We don’t yet have a firm start date,” he told a small group of reporters. “We’re ready to go.”

The bombing of the Indian Embassy helped to set off a new deterioration in relations between India and Pakistan.

This week, Indian and Pakistani soldiers fired at each other across the Kashmir frontier for more than 12 hours overnight Monday, in what the Indian Army called the most serious violation of a five-year-old cease-fire agreement. The nightlong battle came after one Indian soldier and four Pakistanis were killed along the border between sections of Kashmir that are controlled by India and by Pakistan.

Indian officials say they are equally worried about what is happening on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border because they say the insurgents who are facing off with India in Kashmir and those who target Afghanistan are related and can keep both borders burning at the same time.

India and Afghanistan share close political, cultural and economic ties, and India maintains an active intelligence network in Afghanistan, all of which has drawn suspicion from Pakistani officials.

When asked Thursday about whether the ISI and Pakistani military remained loyal to the country’s civilian government, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sidestepped the question. “That’s probably something the government of Pakistan ought to speak to,” Admiral Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon.

Jalaluddin Haqqani, the militia commander, battled Soviet troops during the 1980s and has had a long and complicated relationship with the C.I.A. He was among a group of fighters who received arms and millions of dollars from the C.I.A. during that period, but his allegiance with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda during the following decade led the United States to sever the relationship.

Mr. Haqqani and his sons now run a network that Western intelligence services say they believe is responsible for a campaign of violence throughout Afghanistan, including the Indian Embassy bombing and an attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul earlier this year.

David Rohde contributed reporting from New York, and Somini Sengupta from New Delhi.
10142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: August 01, 2008, 09:14:08 AM
Interesting.

Are all marriages arranged in SA?

**Most all, if not all. Usually to a first cousin. No joke.**

Another question?  What is it about pets that attracts the women?  The association with status, money, or simply a conversation piece?

It sounds like women like the corruptive influence from the West.

**The wahabists are always on the lookout for corruptive western influences.**
10143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India on: July 31, 2008, 03:01:43 PM
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3307797,prtpage-1.cms

Al-Qaida tech used in Bangalore, Surat bombs
31 Jul 2008, 0021 hrs IST, Vishwa Mohan ,TNN


NEW DELHI: Al-Qaida may not have a presence in India but its footprint was visible in the bombs used in Bangalore and Surat, according to intelligence officials. ( Watch )

For the first time in India, Integrated Circuit (IC) chips were used to assemble bombs in Bangalore and Surat — a technique perfected by the Qaida-linked Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Besides using the technique to bomb different places in Indonesia, JI — which aims to establish Islamic state in southeast Asia — has also exported it to Philippines where terrorists have used it effectively in a number of incidents. ( See Ninan’s cartoon )

Referring to the technique being put to use in India, intelligence officials said some local terrorists could have visited Indonesia for training via Bangladesh — a fact which the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh police had first got wind of during interrogation of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives last year.

"Links of LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) with Al Qaida is not a secret, and this leads to strong possibility of linkages of their Indian modules with JI in southeast Asia," said an official, adding that the IC explosive device — similar to the ones used by JI — found in Bangalore and Surat had only confirmed the suspicion.

While the jehadis were successful in their first attempt to use IC explosive devices in Bangalore on July 25, they could not make a similar impact three days later in Surat, where the chips used in the bombs had some fault.

None of the bombs in Surat exploded, averting another disaster. "It indicates origin of consignments from two different places for Bangalore and Surat — even though it could be the handiwork of a single group using different terror modules," said a senior official of the National Security Guard (NSG) which has sent its forensic experts to Gujarat.

The bombs in Ahmedabad were, however, of a different make. Timer devices were used there and the design was strikingly similar to those used to bomb courts in three UP cities — Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow — in November last year and in Jaipur on May 13 this year. Incidentally, a group calling itself Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all three attacks by sending emails to media organisations prior to the blasts.

"Different modus operandi followed in these three cities and in Bangalore and Surat should not be misconstrued as it being the handiwork of different groups," a senior intelligence officer said.

He added that the timing of operations in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat was an indication of meticulous planning and conspiracy by a single command structure from across the border which used different modules in different Indian cities comprising local contacts.

vishwa.mohan@timesgroup.com
10144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 31, 2008, 02:54:45 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/31/hope-and-change-obama-loses-eight-points-in-four-days/

**This gives me HOPE the polls will continue to CHANGE!**  evil
10145  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: July 31, 2008, 08:43:25 AM
**Below i've cut and pasted from a large, well run Sheriff's Dept. policy on motor vehicle search/seizure.**

10. Motor Vehicle Searches

a) Generally, deputies do not need a warrant to stop and search a vehicle capable of being moved when there is probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is in the vehicle. This exception is allowed due to exigent circumstances created by the mobility of the vehicle and the diminished expectation of privacy.

 b) When probable cause exists, the following circumstances make a warrant unnecessary:1) The vehicle is moving. 2) The deputy has reason to believe that persons known or unknown may move thevehicle. 3) The vehicle has recently been moved. 4) It is impractical to post a guard while obtaining a warrant. 5) The probability exists that time or elements may destroy evidence. 6) It is an emergency situation in which the vehicle must be searched to save life,prevent injury to others, or prevent serious damage to property.

c) When an occupant of a vehicle has been taken into custody, the deputy may conduct a warrantless search of the passenger compartment where weapons or evidence of a crime may be located. The search may include glove boxes, receptacles, luggage bags, clothing, or other closed containers.

11. Vehicle Inventory Search: a) On July 6, 1976, the Supreme Court expressed four (4) reasons why police may inventory impounded vehicles:

1) To protect the owner’s property while it is in police custody.

 2) To protect the police and the municipal government from claims or disputes overalleged lost or stolen property.

3) To protect the police from the potential danger of thieves entering the vehicles and stealing firearms or drugs left therein.

4) To determine whether a vehicle is stolen and to learn the owner’s identity. b) When impounding any vehicle, a thorough search of the vehicle (to include the trunk) will be conducted. This search will include any and all containers, whether open or closed to inventory the contents. The contents of the vehicle will be listed on the reverse side of the impound sheet and signed by the tow truck driver.

12. Plain View Doctrine:a) When the deputy is lawfully on the premises, the deputy may make a warrantless seizureof property if it is immediately apparent that the property constitutes criminal evidence. b) The item seized must be immediately apparent as contraband or evidence of a crime. If the item must be moved or examined more closely, plain view doctrine does not apply.A search warrant will be required to move/seize the item. c) Except in cases involving exigent circumstances or motor vehicles, a plain view observation of contraband or evidence does not justify a warrantless entry into aconstitutionally protected area to seize the item.
10146  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: July 30, 2008, 11:17:55 PM
The quick answer is "it depends". The courts have ruled in the past that you have a lesser expectation of privacy for your vehicle than you do for a home. The mobility of a vehicle is a factor. The admissability of evidence seized in an inventory/tow depends on the court's view of the seizure of the car, contrasting "fruit of the poisoned tree" vs. "inevitable discovery".

Just because you demand a supervisor doesn't mean one will respond or honor your wishes.
10147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survialist issues: Hunkering down at home on: July 30, 2008, 05:23:24 PM
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/worst_case_scenarios/4275747.html

L.A. Quake Was Minor, but Is America Ready for the Big One?
By Erik Sofge
Published on: July 30, 2008
 
Spectators look at a Pomona, California, scene where bricks collapsed into an alley from an unoccupied building during a magnitude 5.4 earthquake on July 29th. (Photograph by David McNew/Getty Images)


Yesterday morning, Los Angeles dodged another bullet. The earthquake that originated near Chino Hills, roughly 35 miles east of downtown L.A., was powerful enough to rattle homes and damage a hotel near the epicenter. But with a magnitude of 5.4, it was classified by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as a moderate quake—one of 39 such events in the country this year. A moderate earthquake could pose a serious threat in some regions, particularly in places like New York City, where many brownstones were built more than a century ago. In Southern California, where seismic upheaval is practically routine, this quake left few signs of its passage.

“Engineered structures are meant to withstand a 5.4 earthquake,” says Jamie Steidl, a research seismologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Institute for Crustal Studies. “Even non-engineered, old, unreinforced masonry structures should still be okay. There’s lots of old stuff in Long Beach, and in some of these cities that have been around awhile—older brick buildings that aren’t reinforced. But at this magnitude, we’re not even pushing what the building code was 80 years ago.” The quake preparedness of Los Angeles was put to the test yesterday, but only barely.

The Chino Hills event, minor as it may have been, was a reminder of the United States’ earthquake vulnerability. In Japan and Mexico, researchers have developed earthquake early warning systems, which can detect seismic activity and trigger a sequence of automated responses. This is a frantic sort of race, since the waves created by an earthquake propagate at some 3 kilometers, or nearly 2 miles, per second. In Japan, where quakes tend to start in offshore subduction zones, some areas would have a minute or more to prepare for the worst. “There’s a whole bunch you can do in 60 seconds,” says Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). “Shutting off gas mains. Conditioning the electrical grid for what’s going to happen. In hospital situations, especially during surgery, there’s a lot you can do.”

So far, Japan’s early warning system hasn’t done very much—it failed to detect the country’s last two moderate quakes. But in the United States, the outlook is even worse, since no such earthquake early warning system exists, though some preliminary research is underway. “Right now, we’re just fiddling with the concepts,” says Jordan. “We’re not into operational testing, yet.” Coincidentally, says Jordan, a Caltech team reported that its experimental detection gear had been off-line when the Chino Hills earthquake hit.

Realistically, however, if the recent quake had been severe, closer to the 6.7 magnitude that the USGS says is almost certain to hit the state in the next few decades, an earthquake early warning system wouldn’t have helped. The quake simply occurred too close to Los Angeles, with the ground-shaking waves hitting the city in less than 20 seconds. That’s why most of the research into early warning is focused on the San Andreas fault, which can produce earthquakes as close as 40 km (25 miles) from L.A., or as far as 200 km (nearly 125 miles) south of the city. With enough distance, a system-wide alert becomes viable. “Think of an earthquake as a cascade of events,” Jordan says. “They can generate tsunamis, which take some time to hit. Fire following earthquakes, that’s one of the biggest problems you can have. So you get the firetrucks ready, the station doors open. If you know what is happening, you can begin to prepare for what is going to happen later in that cascade.”

As limited as an earthquake early warning detection might be, the potential benefits—particularly in Southern California—seem clear. “It’s something we should be pushing a lot harder than we’re pushing. And we’ve fallen behind other countries. We’ve been a little remiss, to be honest,” Jordan says. He believes a system could be up and running in California in five years, at the earliest. That’s assuming that government agencies like the National Science Foundation and the USGS greenlight additional funding for research. Unfortunately, Jordan thinks it could take a large disaster to make that happen.

In the meantime, the SCEC is helping to prepare for just such a disaster, with the United States’ largest earthquake drill. Scheduled for this November, the Great Southern California Shakeout will test the region’s response to a simulated 7.8 magnitude quake at the southern end of the San Andreas fault. Using supercomputers, seismologists have created a scenario that calculates where the most severe damage would occur, how many fires might be started, and how many lives could be lost. The event will include at least 5 million participants throughout the region, from schools and firefighters to agencies like FEMA. “In a recent meeting, the L.A. County Fire Chief told us, ‘We’ve never really thought this through,’” Jordan says. “A lot of the standard operation procedures wouldn’t apply. That’s what we learned from Katrina. A big enough hammer blow shatters the system. We want to make sure that when that hammer comes down this time, and it’s going to come, the system doesn’t break.”
10148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 30, 2008, 04:49:24 PM
Current mainstream feminist and/or post-modernist leftist thought teaches that sex/gender are just "constructs". To dare suggest that there are concrete differences in the male and female brain is very un-pc, despite the huge amount of neuroscience that demonstrates this to be the case.
10149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survialist issues: Hunkering down at home on: July 30, 2008, 03:58:32 PM
**Moving out of SoCal is probably the best survival strategy, overall.**  evil

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage
10150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 30, 2008, 03:11:42 PM
Eh, i'm a bit skeptical of the newsmax EMP article.
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