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10801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 27, 2008, 11:26:53 AM
http://centerforsecuritypolicy.org/Home.aspx?CategoryID=132&SubCategoryID=137

Set America Free
CSP Decision Brief | May 19, 2008

by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

 

Q.  What do the following recent events have in common?

The President of the United States has prostrated himself for the second time in five months before the King of Saudi Arabia, pleading for more oil.  Despite Mr. Bush’s inducements – an array of advanced, offensive arms; the promise of nuclear technology with which the Saudis can expect (like the North Koreans, Iranians, Pakistanis, etc.) to acquire the ultimate weapons; and U.S. help securing Saudi Arabia’s borders (something the President has declined to do at home) – the American plea was spurned.  The contempt felt by the House of Saud was captured in its oil minister’s quip, “If you want more oil, buy it.”


         The Senate rejected, by a vote of 56-42, an initiative offered by Republicans that called for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska and some offshore waters now closed to exploration and exploitation of their substantial oil reserves.


          In addition, that chamber’s appropriations committee refused by a similar party-line vote to lift its moratorium on oil-shale production in Colorado.  It seems that, if we want more oil, we will have to buy it at ever increasing prices from the Saudis and others even more unfriendly to this country’s national security and economic interests – like Venzuela’s Hugo Chavez or Russia’s Vladimir Putin, perhaps even Iran’s Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

One thing the Senate and House did agree upon, by overwhelmingly bipartisan majorities, was suspending purchases of oil to fill the remaining three percent of the capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.  This action will have negligible (if any) impact on energy prices.  But it will ensure that less oil will be available to us than would otherwise have been the case in the event, for example, the next terrorist attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure succeeds where others have failed and seriously disrupts world supplies.

        Then there is the newly formed coalition, ostensibly spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association, that has launched a multi-million dollar lobbying effort aimed at discouraging the development of one alternative to oil: domestically produced or imported ethanol.  Wrongly asserting that producing this transportation fuel from corn is largely responsible for rising food prices and the attendant global shortages, this instant grassroots (read, “astroturf”) coalition appears to want America to remain essentially dependent on oil. Wonder where the money for this campaign is coming from?

A. These actions – taken against the backdrop of soaring energy prices and the attendant hemorrhage of U.S. petrodollars to, among others, people who wish us ill – represent the sort of behavior in which only a nation utterly unserious about energy security could indulge.

The truth of the matter is that, no matter what we do, we are going to need oil for the foreseeable future.  As a result, we should do our utmost to find it and exploit it in places that are either under our control (for example, near where the Cubans and Chinese are getting it off the coast of Florida) or at least friendly to us (notably, Canada, Mexico and Brazil).

It is equally axiomatic that, no matter what we do, we are almost certainly going to have less oil than we need, certainly at prices we can afford.  The question is:  Are we going to do something to meet the shortfall?  Or are we simply going to allow the economy and security of the United States to bleed-out at the hands of the Saudi-led OPEC cartel?

The Set America Free Coalition – an initiative launched several years ago by unlikely array of national security-, environmental- and energy-minded people and organizations from across the political spectrum – is advancing practical, near-term alternatives to that unappetizing and unacceptable prospect.

At the moment, the Coalition is mounting its own campaign aimed at achieving in the immediate future, a simple yet far-reaching goal: Ensuring that each of the 17 million new cars added to America’s highways each year is capable of being powered by ethanol (from whatever source), methanol (ditto) or gasoline (or some combination thereof).

There are already some 6 million of these Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) on our roads today.  Most of these are American-made (name another technology in which Detroit has a competitive advantage?)  It costs less than $100 per car to equip new cars with this feature.

Ask yourself, and your elected representatives and would-be Presidents: As each of these cars will last, on average, roughly 17 years, do we want any more of them to be built the old way – namely able to use only gasoline?  Can we responsibly continue for another generation to lock our transportation sector (the principal, and most profligate, consumer of imported oil) into dependence on oil substantially imported from unfriendly places?

Dr. Robert Zubrin – a leader of the Set America Free Coalition and author of the terrific new book, Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil –  observes that at today’s oil prices, we are allowing the Saudis and their friends to impose the equivalent of a 40 percent income tax at a cost of approximately $3300 on every man woman and child in this country.  We literally cannot afford to allow such lunacy to continue.

Sooner or later, Congress will adopt an Open Fuel Standard requiring every new car sold in America to be an FFV.  The effect will be, in short order, to create an immense and highly competitive market for alternative, “Freedom Fuels” that we can make here or buy from friends.  That, in turn, will set America free by beginning to end its cars’ present addiction to oil.  Why wait any longer?
10802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 27, 2008, 11:17:16 AM
Let's Drill   
By Fred Barnes
The Weekly Standard | Monday, May 19, 2008

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, the Mr. Magoo of American politics, stumbled onto the truth last week. He discovered the law of supply and demand. "We want to put [more oil] on the market to increase supply and lower prices," Reid said. "With oil and gas prices continuing to break record highs every day, much more needs to be done."

Indeed it does. But Reid won't allow it. His understanding of economics only extends to matters in which he might embarrass President Bush. The oil he wants on the market is the oil the administration is buying for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), now nearly full. Reid got his way. The administration now plans to stop oil shipments to the SPR next month.

Beyond that, Reid and his party are committed to suppressing increased oil production in this country, as they wait for that magical day when fossil fuels are no longer needed to supply the nation's energy needs.

That day may come in 50, 60, 70 years--or never. In the meantime, America needs oil, and the good news is we're awash in the stuff. If the oil reserves miles off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and in federally owned lands in the West and Alaska were tapped, our dependence on foreign oil could begin to be reversed. In 10 years, half of America's oil could be produced at home (up from 40 percent), with more coming from increased exports from Canada.

We wouldn't achieve energy independence. That's a pipedream, and anyway it isn't necessary in a global economy with multiple producers. But America would be taking a big step toward energy security and reducing the flow of dollars to unstable countries--notably Iran and Venezuela--that do not wish us well.

So more oil production would strengthen America's national security. By increasing the supply of oil, it would reduce the price, or at least ease the pressure on price from rising world demand. And the mere commitment to boosting production would have a soothing effect on a world market easily spooked by threats to supply.

But there's a problem: Eighty-five percent of the untapped domestic sources of oil have been put off-limits. There's a federally mandated moratorium on drilling offshore, and huge roadblocks to exploiting the oil on the vast federal lands have been erected.

"What keeps these areas closed are exaggerated environmental fears, strong prejudice against oil companies and sheer stupidity," wrote Robert Samuelson recently. Lifting the moratorium requires action by Congress and the White House. So don't hold your breath. The Democratic Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environmental lobby, which regards oil exploration, much less drilling, as a sin against nature.

Advances in technology, however, make serious offshore oil spills a thing of the past. One hundred eight platforms were destroyed and hundreds more damaged in the Gulf of Mexico by hurricanes Rita and Katrina without a single major spill. Californians may remember the damaging spill off Santa Barbara, but that was 40 years ago and was the result of ancient technology.

New technology also means the coastlines would not be marred by unsightly oil platforms. Drilling now goes miles deeper to capture oil once out of reach--and much farther offshore. The moratorium doesn't take this into account. It blindly bars drilling for 200 miles off the Atlantic and Pacific shores.

The United States is virtually alone in treating offshore production as taboo. Great Britain and Norway drill off their coasts without polluting the North Sea. Brazil has achieved energy independence not only by ethanol use but also by expanded offshore oil production. China is now drilling at Cuba's behest in waters halfway to the coast of Florida.

There's another compelling reason to boost domestic production. Oil from current sites is gradually being depleted. Unless new sources come on line in the next few years, America will produce less oil at home and become even more dependent on oil from abroad, the Middle East in particular.

Reid and Democrats, OPEC's best friends, aren't noticeably concerned. Their next step is to remove tax incentives to explore and drill for more oil. And Senator Hillary Clinton is eager to impose a new windfall profits tax on oil revenues. These measures have no purpose other than to punish oil companies. They are counterproductive.

When you remove incentives to produce something and when you slap higher taxes on its producers, one thing happens: You get less of the product. In the case of oil, we need more of it and will for the foreseeable future. The oil is there for the getting. But it won't come out of the ground on its own.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.
10803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: May 27, 2008, 10:19:32 AM
I'm sure there was wailing and the gnashing of teeth just to contemplate good news from Iraq in America's newsrooms.....
10804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 27, 2008, 10:13:23 AM
My tin foil hat alarm is going off, however I'll watch the video before rendering a more firm opinion.

How would the IMF and World Bank act as middle men in the global oil trade?

"2. One of the if not the largest oil fields in the world is in Gull Island, Alaska and would supposedly last us 200 years however we cannot dig there for many of the following reasons."** What reasons?**

"4. Back in the 1960s or early 1970s, then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger went to the middle eastern countries to negotiate a deal with them to sell us their oil and in return, they must denominate all oil sales on US Dollar currency.  Another part of the deal was that they had to take a portion of the oil revenues and buy our national debt.  The Saudi's agreed however Iran and Iraq did not."

 **Kissinger was Sec. of State from  from 1969-1975. At that time, the Shah was very much a client of ours until the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iraq was ruled by the Baath party, but Saddam didn't rise to power until 1979. To the best of my knowledge, the Saudis have been selling oil for the US dollar since at least the end of WWII. Those historical timelines don't seem to mesh with the conspiracy claims asserted.**

"5. Iraq supposedly had plans to start denominating oil in foreign currency and had to be taken care of.  He named the name of a guy who was sent into Iraq to tell their leaders that if they invaded Kwuait that we would not intervene.  This was supposedly a set up.  When we didn't finish the job the first time around, we had to go back."

** If this was indeed a set up, then why leave Saddam in power? That would be pretty stupid to set up a war and then not bother to get the payoff from it.**

6. Iran is now a major threat to us because they are already denominating their oil in Euros and Yen.  China has already negotiated millions upon millions of barrels of oil contracts in Yen currency.

 **China's currency is the Yuan or Renminbi, although i'm sure the PRC has Yen holdings, I doubt they would trade oil for Japan's Yen, given the Chinese-Japanese hostility today. Iran supplies about 5% of the world's oil supply, so they aren't exactly a major player. Oil is fungible, so not matter whom you buy from, you pay the market price.**

7. Iran supposedly has a plan to flood the world with cheap oil which could have a devastating effect on our economy and the value of our dollar.  You can google Petrodollar warfare and read a lot about it.

 **Cheap oil would help our economy, not hurt it. Iran has flooded the world with high grade counterfeit dollars, causing us to change the dollar format in response, that DID hurt us.**


10805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 26, 2008, 02:27:58 PM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080525/FOREIGN/541243918/1001&template=printart

Article published May 25, 2008
U.S. terror attack seen apt to follow '08 vote

May 25, 2008


By Rowan Scarborough - When the next president takes office in January, he or she will likely receive an intelligence brief warning that Islamic terrorists will attempt to exploit the transition in power by planning an attack on America, intelligence experts say.

After all, that is what happened to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at a time when their national security teams and their counterterrorism plans were in flux.

Islamic terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in February 1993, in Mr. Clinton's second month as president. Al Qaeda's Sept. 11 attacks came in the Bush presidency's first year. The strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon happened as the White House national security director was formulating a comprehensive plan for combating Osama bin Laden's terror network, which had declared war on the United States.

The pattern is clear to some national security experts. Terrorists pay particular attention to a government in transition as the most opportune window to launch an attack.

"If I were asked by the newly elected president, I would strongly encourage him to be extremely vigilant during the transition period and within the first six months of his administration against an attack by al Qaeda on American interests at home or abroad," said Bart Bechtel, a retired CIA operations officer and assistant chief academic officer at Henley-Putnam University.

Mr. Bechtel said he thinks al Qaeda operatives will debate a future course based on who is elected.

Both Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot, have had extensive exposure to military security issues.

Both have attacked first-term Sen. Barack Obama's ability to handle national security.

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, has focused on Mr. Obama's stated willingness to meet with any world leader, including Iran's, without preconditions. Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, ran TV ads implying Mr. Obama is not qualified to manage an international crisis.

"I could see al Qaeda waiting to determine who was going to be the president and depending on which it is, taking an initial measure," Mr. Bechtel said. "For instance, Obama may be viewed as someone who will accomplish what al Qaeda would like him to do, which is get out of the Middle East, and give him an opportunity to move in that direction. Failing that, they may decide to test him with a substantial attack on America or some American interest and see how he reacts."

A U.S. intelligence official declined to comment on how the next president will be briefed.

Mr. Obama, Illinois Democrat, has vowed to remove all combat troops from Iraq within 16 months. He regularly has referred to the war against terror as centered in Afghanistan, while the Bush administration takes a broader view and sees Iraq as an opportunity to inflict a battlefield loss on al Qaeda. The White House has trumpeted the fact that the county has suffered no homeland terror strikes since Sept. 11, 2001.

Retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, a former Air Force chief of staff and an Obama campaign co-chairman, told The Washington Times that Mr. Obama's rivals are underestimating his ability to meet a challenge. Gen. McPeak likened him to Abraham Lincoln.

"I think people are only now beginning to realize that Barack is not your run-of-the-mill, ordinary Illinois politician," he said. "He's more like another Illinois politician who everybody underestimated."

Gen. McPeak added, "I feel bad about giving Barack advice because every time I do, I know that he's thought about it already. So I would draw him aside and say, 'The minute you're inaugurated, you will be tested.' He'll say, 'Oh, you mean like Kennedy was with the Bay of Pigs?' He'll show me some way that he's thought about that some time ago. The guy is absolutely scary smart. The real mistake al Qaeda can make is the one everybody else makes of underestimating the man."

Mr. Bechtel said bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders are likely weighing their next step right now.

"They are in a wait-and-see situation right now," he said. "They run the risk, if they attack before the election, of really influencing the way the election goes, to their detriment. If there's an attack, I really believe McCain is going to run away with the election, and I don't think they want that. I think they really would like Obama as their first choice and Clinton as their second."

Kenneth Katzman, a terrorism specialist at the Congressional Research Service, said "Al Qaeda has a pattern of testing new American leaders."

"Even now, al Qaeda is probably trying to plan something for after the U.S. inauguration," he said. "I think to a certain extent, al Qaeda tested President Clinton's administration several times. The response was ineffective. I think al Qaeda concluded it could attempt something as ambitious as 9/11, but concluded the time was better after a new president, who would not have time to review his strategy on al Qaeda. The time settled on was the summer or early fall, after a new president was inaugurated. They chose September because they wanted all the officials to be back at their desks from summer vacations."

A Congressional Research Service report last month noted that January will mark the first change in administrations since the 2001 al Qaeda attacks.

"Whether an incident of national security significance occurs just before or soon after the presidential transition, the actions or inactions of the outgoing administration may have a long-lasting effect on the new president's ability to effectively safeguard U.S. interests and may affect the legacy of the outgoing president," the report states.

The report urges the Bush administration to deliver extensive threat briefings to the president-elect's national security team.

Congress foresaw such a need when it wrote the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The law allows for presidential candidates to obtain pre-election security clearances for its chosen transition officials so they can immediately be briefed on security threats by the outgoing administration.

On al Qaeda's ability to attack America again, Mr. Bechtel said, "I think they are still somewhat fractured. If you want to look at it as a piece of window glass, it's broken, but there are lots of sharp pieces out there. I think within the tribal areas of Pakistan, they feel pretty darn comfortable."
10806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Memorial Day on: May 25, 2008, 03:00:07 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-daily16feb16,1,3514744.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Deeds, not words.
10807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Memorial Day on: May 25, 2008, 09:22:48 AM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/05/25/remembrance-gratitude-fortitude/

Freedom isn't free.
10808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 24, 2008, 04:27:05 PM
An Atomic Assist   
By Amir Taheri
New York Post | Friday, May 23, 2008

BUOYED by their modest electoral success last month, critics of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's provocative foreign policy were preparing to launch a series of attacks on him in the Islamic Majlis, Iran's ersatz parliament. But then Ahmadinejad got an unexpected boost from Barack Obama.
Ali Larijani, Iran's former nuclear negotiator and now a Majlis member, was arguing that the Islamic Republic would pay a heavy price for Ahmadinejad's rejection of three UN Security Council resolutions on nukes. Then the likely Democratic presidential nominee stepped in.

Obama announced that, if elected, he wouldn't ask Iran to comply with UN resolutions as a precondition for direct talks with Ahmadinejad: "Preconditions, as it applies to a country like Iran, for example, was a term of art. Because this administration has been very clear that it will not have direct negotiations with Iran until Iran has met preconditions that are essentially what Iran views, and many other observers would view, as the subject of the negotiations; for example, their nuclear program."

"Talking without preconditions" would require America to ignore three unanimous Security Council resolutions. Before starting his unconditional talks, would Obama present a new resolution at the Security Council to cancel the three that Ahmadinejad doesn't like? Or would the new US president act in defiance of the United Nations - further weakening the Security Council's authority?

President Bush didn't set the preconditions that Obama promises to ignore. They were agreed upon after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran was in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Acting in accordance with its charter, the IAEA referred the issue to the Security Council.

Dismissing the preconditions as irrelevant would mean snubbing America's European allies plus Russia and China, all of whom participated in drafting and approving the resolutions that Ahmadinejad doesn't like.

Such a move would make a mockery of multilateral diplomacy - indeed, would ignore such diplomacy in exactly the way that critics claim the Bush administration has.

Obama clearly hasn't asked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy what they think of the United States' suddenly changing course and granting Ahmadinejad's key demand in advance.

Maybe Obama hasn't been properly briefed about the "preconditions" he gets so worked up about. He cites Iran's "nuclear program" as a precondition. Wrong: No one has asked, or could ask, Iran to stop its nuclear program - period. On the contrary, Iran's participation in in the Non-Proliferation Treaty gives it the right to seek help from other signatories, including the US, to access the latest technology in developing its nuclear industry - for peaceful purposes.

The Security Council isn't asking the Islamic Republic to do something dishonorable, humiliating or illegal. All it's asking Ahmadinejad to do is to stop cheating - something the Islamic Republic itself has admitted it has done for 18 years. The Security Council has invited Iran to "suspend" - not even to scrap - a uranium-enrichment program clearly destined for making bombs, in violation of the NPT.

Iran has not a single nuclear-power station and thus doesn't need enriched uranium - except for making bombs. Its sole nuclear plant is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2009. But that can't use the type of uranium that Iran is enriching; the station requires fuel of a different "formula," supplied by Russia, which is building the project, for the next 10 years. (And the Russians have offered to provide fuel for the plant's entire lifetime of 37 years.)

Another precondition asks Tehran to explain why it is building a heavy-water plant at Arak - when it has absolutely no plans for plutonium-based nuclear-power stations. The Arak plant's only imaginable use is to produce material for nuclear warheads.

Finally, the IAEA and the Security Council are asking Tehran to allow international inspectors access to all sites related to the nuclear project - access that Iran is obliged to provide under the NPT.

In short, the minimum show of goodwill on Ahmadinejad's part would be to comply with the UN resolutions before he goes to the White House for talks with President Obama on other issues.

Obama's words on "preconditions" have helped ease domestic pressure on Ahmadinejad to comply with the United Nations and the IAEA. The Iranian president is telling his domestic critics to shut up until after the US election. Why, after all, should he make concessions that a putative President Obama has already dismissed as unnecessary?
10809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 24, 2008, 04:09:12 PM
In a statement of almost incredible stupidity, the New York Times stated:

“Everybody knew President Bush was aiming at Senator Barack Obama last week when he likened those who endorse talks with `terrorists and radicals’ to appeasers of the Nazis.”

During the Cold War, I remember that it was said that if a Soviet official or supporter began a statement like that—everyone knows—what followed invariably is a lie. So it is in this case. For several years, the main criticism of Bush has been his strategy of pressure and isolation on Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, and assorted terrorists. There have been hundreds of op-eds, eds, speeches, reports, and other formats on this point. It is the administration’s number-one problem. Suddenly, it applies only to Senator Barack Obama. What rubbish.

Equally, the principle issue is not just one of contacts with extremist forces but how much toughness, pressure and isolation as opposed to concessions (of which negotiations are one) and compromises are offered. For example, there have been numerous ongoing contacts with Iran over the nuclear issue for years, supported by the Bush administration. They have all failed. For someone to come and say that negotiations have not been tried is pretty ridiculous. The hidden element there is really as follows:

--The real fault is with us, not them.
--You haven’t offered enough.
--And the assessment that no agreement is possible because of the other side’s aims and behavior is always unacceptable. This implies that even if you talk with them and get nowhere, you just have to keep listening to grievances, avoiding giving offense, trying, conceding, and apologizing.

In this context, what better example could there be of this dangerous malady than Obama, the apparent Democratic nominee and possible future president of the United States?

According to Obama at an Oregon rally, Iran does not “pose a serious threat” to the United States. His reasoning is as disturbing—or more so—than his conclusion. Obama explained that Iran has less to spend on defense and if it “tried to pose a serious threat to us they wouldn’t . . . stand a chance.”

We can now feel secure that the Iranians won’t load their soldiers onto landing craft and storm the New Jersey beaches. Unfortunately, that isn’t their military strategy. Perhaps Obama doesn’t understand that the average B-1 bomber costs less than a suicide bomber. Has he heard about asymmetric warfare?

Forget that. Has he heard of terrorism, the Marine barracks’ bombing, or September 11?

According to Obama:

"Iran, they spend one one-hundredth of what we spend on the military. I mean if Iran tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. That doesn't mean we agree with them on everything. That doesn't, we might not compromise with them on any issues. But, at least we should find out are there areas of potential common interest and we can reduce some of the tension that have caused us so many problems around the world."

One cannot pretend away the implications of this paragraph. Let’s list them:

--No understanding that Iran follows strategies designed to circumvent that problem of unequal power including terrorism, guerrilla war, deniable attacks, long wars of attrition, the use of surrogates, and so on.

--The only way Obama sees for using the U.S. “position of strength” is to listen to their grievances, as if we are not familiar with them. In short, the only thing you can do when stronger is to get weaker. Presumably the same applies when you are the weaker party.

--Why is he so totally unaware that dialogue has been tried? A decade with the PLO, longer with Hizballah by other Lebanese, four straight years of European engagement with Tehran over the nuclear issue, multiple U.S. delegations to talk with the Syrians, and so on. Was nothing learned from this experience?

--And what happens afterward if Obama’s dialogue doesn’t work? What cards would he have left? What readiness to try another course? Perhaps by then the Iranians will have nuclear weapons and other gains negating that “position of strength” so fecklessly frittered away.

--What possible issues can the United States find to compromise with Iran? Let’s say: give them Lebanon (oh, we already did that); ignore their sponsorship of terrorism; give them Iraq; give them Israel; withdraw U.S. forces from the region, accept their having nuclear arms. What?

--Why should the United States be able to reduce tensions through negotiations when Iran wants tensions? There is an important hint here: if the United States makes concessions it might buy off tensions. Since Iran and the others know about Obama’s all-carrots-no-sticks worldview, they will make him pay a lot to get the illusion of peace and quiet.

--There is no hint, not the slightest, of his understanding the option of using power to intimidate or defeat Iran, or as a way to muster allies. If Obama had the most minimal comprehension of these issues, he would fake it with some blah-blah about how America would combine toughness with flexibility, deterrence with compromise, steadfastness in order to gain more from the other side in negotiations. A critical element in peace-keeping, peace-making, and negotiations is to act tough and be strong in order to have leverage. Even in responding to criticisms, Obama has only talked about whether negotiations are conditional or unconditional and at what level they should be conducted. He is oblivious to the fact that the chief executive does things other than negotiations.

--If this is Obama’s strategy while Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons what would he do in dealing with a Tehran owning them?

Make no mistake, Obama is channelling Neville Chamberlain—precisely because what he says shows his parallel thinking. Many people may get a chill listening to Obama but it certainly isn’t a Churchill. Apologists, sympathizers, and wishful-thinkers keep endowing this would-be emperor with beautiful suits of clothes. He doesn’t have any.

And at present, even more if Obama wins, the threat is of an Iran that’s aggressive precisely because it knows that it will not have to confront U.S. forces. Tehran knows that it can sponsor terrorism directly against U.S. forces in Iraq, and also against Israel and Lebanon, because that level of assault will not trigger American reaction.

Yet anyone who doesn’t want to get into war with Iran should be all the more eager to talk about sanctions, pressures, deterrence, building alliances and backing allies; in short, combating Iran indirectly to avoid having to confront it directly.

All the more so now, however, Syria won’t split away from Iran; Iran won’t give up on its nuclear program; Hamas won’t moderate; Hizballah won’t relent. Why should they when they not only believe their own ideologies but also think they are winning? In each case, too, they are banking on an Obama victory—whether accurately or otherwise-- to bring them even more.

A lot of positive factors could be cited to show why Iran and its allies will ultimately lose. But it can happen in an easier way or a harder, longer way. There are too many Chamberlains and not enough Churchills, perhaps none at all. Things are bad, very bad, for the West right now. The beginning of repairing those strategic fortunes is to recognize that fact.

All quotes taken from the full text at http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1189.
10810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 24, 2008, 04:07:30 PM
May 24, 2008

Barry Rubin: The Fall of Lebanon
Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, explains why May 21, 2008 is a date that should live in infamy.

“If you have tears, prepare to shed them now…. Oh, what a fall was there… Then I, and you, and all of us fell down.” .--William Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar,” Act 3, Scene 1 May 21, 2008, is a date—like December 7 (1941) and September 11 (2001)—that should now live in infamy. Yet who will notice, mourn, or act the wiser for it?
On that day, the Beirut spring was buried under the reign of Hizballah.

Speaking on October 5, 1938, after Britain and France effectively turned Czechoslovakia over to Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill said, “What everybody would like to ignore or forget must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat….”

In contrast, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch said that the agreement over Lebanon was, "A necessary and positive step." At least when one sells out a country one should recognize this has happened rather than pretend otherwise. But this is precisely what took place at Munich, when the deal made was proclaimed as a concession that brought peace and resolved Germany’s last territorial demand in the region.

Churchill knew better and his words perfectly suit the situation in Lebanon today:

“The utmost [Western diplomacy] has been able to gain for Czechoslovakia…has been that the German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course.”

Yes, that’s it exactly. On every point, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria, got all they wanted from Lebanon’s government: its surrender of sovereignty. They have veto power over the government; one-third of the cabinet; election changes to ensure victory in the next balloting; and they will have their candidate installed as president.

The majority side is not giving up but is trying to comfort itself on small mercies. The best arguments it can come up with are that now everyone knows Hizballah is not patriotic, treats other Lebanese as enemies, and cannot seize areas held by Christian and Druze militias. It isn’t much to cheer about.
Nevertheless, as in 1938, a lot of the media is proclaiming it as a victory of some kind, securing peace and stability in Lebanon.

Not so. If Syria murders more Lebanese journalists, judges, or politicians, no one will investigate. No one dare diminish Hizballah’s de facto rule over large parts of the country. No one dare stop weapons pouring over the border from Syria and Iran. In fact, why should they continue to be smuggled in secretly? No one dare interfere if and when Hizballah, under Syrian and Iranian guidance, decide it is time for another war with Israel.

This defeat was not only total, it was totally predictable. Just as Churchill said:
“If only Great Britain. France and Italy [today we would add the United States, of course,] had pledged themselves two or three years ago to work in association for maintaining peace and collective security, how different might have been our position…. But the world and the parliaments and public opinion would have none of that in those days. When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have affected a cure.”

Instead there was a lack “of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong….” Actually, though, as Churchill knew, when he spoke these faults were still not corrected. The folly continued.

And so is what comes next? Back to Churchill:

“All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, Czechoslovakia recedes into the darkness.” That country suffered because it put its faith in the Western democracies and the League of Nations (now the United Nations). In particular, she was betrayed by France whom the Czechs then, and the Lebanese today, trusted to help them.

The UN Security Council on May 22 endorsed the Lebanon agreement even though it totally contradicted the Council’s own resolution ending the Hizballah-Israel war, thus betraying the commitments made to Israel about stopping arms smuggling, disarming Hizballah, and keeping that group from returning to south Lebanon. The UN’s total reversal of its demands from two years ago—constituting a total victory for Hizballah—did not bring a flicker of shame or even recognition that this in fact had happened.

All this is a victory for terrorism. It is quite true that the Lebanese Shia—like the German minority in Czechoslovakia which Hitler promoted—has genuine grievances and that Hizballah has real support in its own community. But how did it overcome the other communities, the other political forces in Lebanon? Through assassination and bombing (albeit done by Syria’s surrogates rather than directly), by intimidation and fear, by demagoguery and war.

Iran and Syria help their allies; the West doesn’t. And so the message was: We can kill you; your friends cannot save you. Look at their indifference! Despair and die.

And here, regarding the future, we can only quote Churchill’s speech extensively:

“In future the Czechoslovak State cannot be maintained as an independent entity. I think you will find that in a period of time which may be measured by years, but may be measured only by months, Czechoslovakia will be engulfed in the Nazi regime. Perhaps they may join it in despair or in revenge. At any rate, that story is over and told. But we cannot consider the abandonment and ruin of Czechoslovakia in the light only of what happened only last month. It is the most grievous consequence of what we have done and of what we have left undone in the last five years - five years of futile good intentions, five years of eager search for the line of least resistance….”

Lebanon will not disappear as a country on the map, of course—contrary to the Iranian alliance’s intentions toward Israel—but it is now going to be part of the Iranian bloc. This is not only bad for Lebanon itself but also terrifying for other Arab regimes. The Saudis deserve credit for trying to save Lebanon. But what will happen now as the balance of power shifts? They are less inclined to resist and more likely to follow the West’s course and adopt an appeasement policy.

Again, Churchill in 1938:

“Do not let us blind ourselves to that. It must now be accepted that all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe will make the best terms they can with the triumphant Nazi power. The system of alliances in Central Europe upon which France has relied for her safety has been swept away, and I can see no means by which it can be reconstituted. The road down the Danube Valley to the Black Sea, the road which leads as far as Turkey, has been opened.

In less than four years, that is where German armies were marching, thankfully a situation far worse than we can expect in the Middle East. Yet the trend toward appeasement and surrender could well be similar. Churchill said:

“In fact, if not in form, it seems to me that all those countries of Middle Europe… will, one after another, be drawn into this vast system of power politics--not only power military politics but power economic politics--radiating from Berlin, and I believe this can be achieved quite smoothly and swiftly and will not necessarily entail the firing of a single shot.”

His specific example was Yugoslavia whose government within three years was ready to join Germany’s bloc. (It was prevented from doing so only by a British-organized coup but was then invaded and overrun by the German army.)

Only the names of the countries need be changed to make Churchill’s point apply to the present:

“You will see, day after day, week after week [that]…many of those countries, in fear of the rise of the Nazi power,” will give in. There had been forces “which looked to the Western democracies and loathed the idea of having this arbitrary rule of the totalitarian system thrust upon them, and hoped that a stand would be made.” But they would now be demoralized. But they would now be demoralized, at best less active in resisting; at worst. going over to the other side.

Churchill knew that his country’s leader had good intentions but that wasn’t enough. His analysis of British thinking applies well both to Europe, to President George Bush’s current policy, and very well to the thinking of Senator Barack Obama:

“The prime minister desires to see cordial relations between this country and Germany. There is no difficulty at all in having cordial relations between the peoples. Our hearts go out to them. But they have no power. But never will you have friendship with the present German government. You must have diplomatic and correct relations, but there can never be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi power, that power which…vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force. That power cannot ever be the trusted friend of the British democracy.”

Churchill understood that his nation’s enemies took their ideology seriously and that their ambitions and methods were incompatible with his country.

And finally, Churchill understood the trend: things will get worse and would even make it politically incorrect to criticize the enemy:

“In a very few years, perhaps in a very few months, we shall be confronted with demands with which we shall no doubt be invited to comply. Those demands may affect the surrender of territory or the surrender of liberty. I foresee and foretell that the policy of submission will carry with it restrictions upon the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, on public platforms, and discussions in the press, for it will be said--indeed, I hear it said sometimes now - that we cannot allow the Nazi system of dictatorship to be criticized by ordinary, common English politicians. Then, with a press under control, in part direct but more potently indirect, with every organ of public opinion doped and chloroformed into acquiescence, we shall be conducted along further stages of our journey.”

In short, what could be called “Germanophobia” or seen as war-mongering in resisting German demands and aggression would be…verboten, something often seen in contemporary debates when political correctness trumps democratic society and pimps for dictatorial regimes and totalitarian ideology..

Churchill predicted victory but only if the free countries—and even some not so free whose interests pushed them to oppose the threat—were strong and cooperated:

“Do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”

Wow. Well if you don’t see yet the parallelism with the current time let me continue on my own. Lebanon's brief period of independence has ended. Lebanon is now incorporated--at least in part and probably more in the future--into the Iranian bloc.

Only three years ago, after the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, almost certainly ordered at the highest level of the Syrian government, a popular mass movement called the Beirut spring helped push out the Syrian military. The resulting government was called "pro-Western" in the newscasts, but it might have well been called pro-Lebanon.

Forget about the Israel-Palestinian (and now Israel-Syrian) negotiations or the latest reports from Iraq or Afghanistan. What has happened in Lebanon is far more significant. When all these other developments are long forgotten, the expansion of the Syrian-Iranian zone of influence to Lebanon will be the most important and lasting event.

Basically, the supporters of the Lebanese government--the leadership of the majority of the Sunni Muslim, Christian, and Druze communities--capitulated to the demands of Hizballah. And who can blame them? With a steady drumbeat of terrorist acts and assassinations, with the Hizballah offensive seizing Sunni west Beirut, with the lack of support from the West, they concluded that the battle was unwinnable.

Politicians, intellectuals, academics, and officials in the West live comfortable lives. Their careers prosper often in direct relationship to their misunderstanding, misexplaining, and misacting in the Middle East.

Then, too, all too many of them have lived up to every negative stereotype the Islamists hold of them: greedy for oil and trade; cowardly in confronting aggression, easily fooled, very easily divided, and losing confidence in their own societies and civilization.

10811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 24, 2008, 03:26:12 PM
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/30072_CAIR_Sabotaging_Anti-Terror_Training_in_Seattle

CAIR Sabotaging Anti-Terror Training in Seattle
Sat, May 24, 2008 at 9:53:52 am PST

In Seattle, the Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations is doing what it always does—sabotaging efforts to educate law enforcers about Islamic terrorism: Does course on Islam give law enforcers wrong idea?

And again, the Seattle Times quotes representatives of CAIR without a single word about their ties to terrorist groups or their status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial.

Some local Muslim community members are upset about a training course for local law enforcement, saying it could promote stereotypes and ethnic and religious profiling.

The program, called “The Threat of Islamic Jihadists to the World” and conducted by a Miami-based company, began Thursday and continues today at the Port of Seattle. It is billed as providing insight into the formative phases of Islam, the religion’s different branches, radical Islam and how to respond to terrorist acts.

But Arsalan Bukhari, president of the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the program appears to be linking an entire religion to terrorism.

“Most police officers don’t have a basic grounding in Islam, so before you teach them about Islam, how can you teach them about radical Islam?” he asked. “It just makes you nervous because when a law-enforcement person pulls someone over, when they see a Muslim person or someone who appears Muslim to them — all this information they just learned kicks in.”

Bukhari believes the need for police training on issues of profiling and bias was highlighted by an incident last summer in which the FBI launched an international search for two men who took photos below deck on a Washington state ferry. The FBI announced earlier this month that the men were tourists, not terrorists. Bukhari said law-enforcement agencies need to learn about Islam, but not just in the context of terrorism.

But Solomon Bradman, CEO of Security Solutions International, which is conducting the program, said, “I can’t take the responsibility of my course linking their religion to terrorism. I think their religion got linked to terrorism a long time ago.”

And the police chief of the Port of Seattle is embracing the terror-linked Saudi-funded front group.

Port Police Chief Colleen Wilson met with local CAIR representatives and offered to have them come in to do additional training. Bukhari said CAIR intends to do so.
10812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: May 23, 2008, 08:10:55 PM
More than anything, my biggest objection to so-called "gay marriage" is that it's been rejected by the voting public and must be forced upon them by judicial fiat.

One of the roles of US Government and particularly judges has always been protection of minority rights.

The Federalist #10 and #51 #78 etc

"This independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community"

 The quote is harsh and does not totally fit this situation. I am not accusing anyone of having ill humors etc---

**Where in the constitution might I find the right to "gay marriage" ? Do you believe the intent of the founding fathers of this nation was to have "gay marriage" as a right in this nation?**
10813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why oil is expensive on: May 23, 2008, 10:45:04 AM
Luft: Since we all seem to agree that fuel flexibility in our cars is the lowest hanging fruit, let's talk about how to make this happen. In the past two sessions of Congress there was strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House for flex fuel legislation. More than 30 senators from Sam Brownback on the right to Ted Kennedy on the left co-sponsored a bill including a requirement that at least 50 percent of new cars be flex fuel.

Presidential candidates are also in agreement. Both Barack Obama's and John McCain's energy platform include strong flex fuel provisions. Obama campaign pledged that an Obama Administration would ensure that all new vehicles have FFV capability by the end of his first term in office.

Less clear is how the automakers would respond. While it is true that the Big Three previously pledged to make 50 percent of their cars flex fuel by 2012, no industry likes to be told what to do and we should not expect the automakers, to embrace a full mandate without a fight, particularly after their recent defeat in the battle over mandatory fuel efficiency standards. (The Big Three also resisted other mandated low cost features like seat belts and airbags.) The Japanese automakers who don't have experience with this technology are likely to be even less enthusiastic.

But considering the low cost of fuel flexibility and the simplicity of retooling the production lines, this is certainly something they can live with.

So it’s basically in the hands of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to make this vision of fuel choice come true. Instead of complaining about the "insane" profits of oil companies the Democratic leadership in Congress could serve America best by pushing a flex fuel legislation and bringing it to a vote before the elections.

It is important to ensure that the legislation doesn't enable automakers to get away with making E-85 cars that can only accommodate ethanol. True fuel flexibility is one that enables all alcohols to compete. The cars should therefore be warranted to run on both ethanol and methanol. With such legislation presented before the Senate all three senators who are running for president would be forced to endorse it, which means that the next president would be on board.

Extra $100 per car is less than the price of one barrel of oil, and equipping every car in the US with the feature would cost roughly $20 billion over the next two decades, much less than what the Fed forked over one weekend to save Bear Sterns. The same Congress that spent billions on regulating an open standard for high definition TV should be able to give us an open fuel standard for our cars.

Korin: The Arab oil embargo in the Seventies led to massive Japanese automaker entry into the US market. While US automakers were building huge cars, the Japanese had the more efficient vehicles that appealed to consumers at a time of high gas prices. Today, other competitors waits in the wings should US autos stall on the road to fuel choice. Not so long ago a Chinese automaker showed an under $10,000 family sedan at the Detroit auto show. Take that car, make it a flex fuel plug in hybrid, and you have an under $20,000 fuel choice enabling family sedan. Coming soon to a Walmart near you.

The Chinese are not waiting for us to move toward alcohol fuels or electrification of transportation. We can lead the train or we can run after it, and absent the policies discussed above and summarized below, the latter is more likely every day.

To summarize, the three key policies for breaking oil's monopoly in the transportation sector, the sector from which oil's strategic value is derived, are: an Open Fuel Standard so most new cars sold in the US will be gasoline-ethanol-methanol FFVs; repeal of the 54 cent a gallon tariff on ethanol imports; consumer tax credits for plug in hybrids (this is the policy that helped hybrids move past the early adopter hump.)


Gartenstein-Ross: There is broad agreement on this panel about the significance of the energy security problem that we face, as well as the steps that the government needs to take to address this critical issue; thus, I will keep my remarks atypically short. I offer an apology to Jamie if he’s disappointed that this symposium lacks the fireworks of some of the previous symposia in which I have participated—but I don’t think that’s a terribly bad thing in this case, since energy security is an issue where acting in the near-term is more important than lengthy debate.

I will follow Luft’s suggestion that we discuss how to make the fuel flexibility mandate happen. I agree with him that automakers are likely to fight against a full mandate, and also think it likely that iterations of this legislation will be offered that involve E-85 cars rather than true fuel flexibility. So it is critical to ensure that any legislation on fuel flexibility that is signed into law not be watered down through the legislative process or subjected to the kind of bureaucratic capture that too frequently occurs in this country. I know that a large number of conservative activists read FPM (although I do not see energy security as an issue that should break along partisan lines). Informed members of the public should serve as energy security watchdogs, demanding of our politicians the full implementation of policies necessary to counter our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.


McFarlane: Gal and Anne often make the point that we ought to be realistic politically in structuring our approach to new legislation -- as is required to mandate Flex-Fuel vehicles. It does not good to be doctrinaire -- and lose. Or as President Reagan once told me, "Bud, if you go over the cliff, flags flying, you still go over the cliff." Specifically it does no good to take on the major oil companies. Indeed our point is not anti-oil, we will need oil for a long time and it is in all our interests for American oil companies to produce as much oil as they can for as long as they can.

Rather, our approach to the public and to members of both parties ought to be cast in terms of the political, economic and security costs of doing nothing -- losses which are measured in trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and the gradual control of American industries by foreign sovereigns.

We must also stress that the global war against Islamism -- especially as its financial support grows in proportion to oil revenues flowing to the Persian Gulf -- will someday go nuclear. Unless we get serious toward moving our four-part agenda, we may run out of time.


FP: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Robert Zubrin, Gal Luft, Anne Korin and Bud McFarlane, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium.

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left and the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2002) and 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.
10814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why oil is expensive on: May 23, 2008, 10:44:17 AM
Korin: The goal is indeed independence, not in the sense of autarky (not importing any oil) but in the sense of regaining ability to act independently, without need to kowtow or defer to petrodictators chief among them the Saudi royal family, a family which controls a quarter of the world's oil reserves and essentially all swing capacity on the global oil market (the mafia never had it so good.) To regain our independence we must strip oil of its strategic value. Salt presents a compelling historical parallel. Salt was once a strategic commodity, control of which determined geopolitical power and ability to sway world affairs. With the advent of electricity and refrigeration salt lost its strategic status as it was no longer the only option for preserving meat. Oil's strategic value derives from its domination of the transportation sector, which in turn accounts for two thirds of oil consumption - as Gal noted, we essentially no longer use oil to generate electricity (an inconvenient fact that renders bizarre the protestations of many politicians that solar, wind, or nuclear can reduce oil demand.)

Stripping oil of its strategic value will require fuel competition in the transportation sector. Flexible fuel vehicles, as Robert noted, provide a platform on which fuels can compete. For a very modest premium, they enable a driver to choose amongst a variety of liquid fuels, made from a variety of feedstocks, from coal to agricultural material. It costs 50 cents a gallon to make methanol from coal. Methanol has about half the energy of gasoline, so that's one dollar per gasoline equivalent gallon. The US is the Saudi Arabia of coal. China and India also have a lot of coal, and indeed China is rapidly expanding its coal to methanol capacity.

We need to remove the ridiculous 54 cent a gallon import tariff on sugarcane ethanol - we don't tax oil imports, so why are we taxing imports of an alternative fuel? It's not because of the oil industry, it's because of corn ethanol protectionists who'd rather be big fish in a small pond than open the dam and turn the pond into a sea. As Gal notes, it is also critical to get electricity into the transportation fuel market. Flex fuel plug in hybrids will mean the Saudis will need to figure out how to monetize sand. Perhaps they can learn to blow glass.


Gartenstein-Ross: I am of the opinion that energy security is the most pressing challenge we face. It should be the top issue in the current presidential campaigns because our oil dependence is without a doubt our Achilles’ heel, yet no candidate has been seriously pushing the issue. This comes on top of the systemic failure of our political leaders, including the Bush administration and the presidential administrations that preceded it, to curtail our dangerous dependence on oil. (Interestingly, the one real exception was the Carter administration’s Fuel Use Act, which is a major reason that, as Luft and Korin note, only 2 percent of our electricity comes from oil today.) Energy security has a cognizable impact on virtually all the other major issues that our country now faces.

There is the economy. Today, more than three out of four Americans believe that the country is in recession—and it is not difficult to recognize that high energy prices are a primary driver. Oil prices have more than doubled in the past fifteen months, rising from around $50 a barrel in early 2007 to about $110 a barrel today. Such a dramatic rise in energy prices will of course harm the U.S. economy. As Zubrin stated, this equates to a $500 billion per year tax on the U.S. economy, affecting all sectors. We depend on long supply lines to transport agriculture to consumers, as well as the vast majority of products that you can buy off store shelves. All prices—the price of food, the price of consumer goods—are pushed upward by the rising price of oil.

There is terrorism and our international political adversaries. One distinctive characteristic of Islamic terror movements is that they explicitly find religious sanction for their actions. Their interpretation obviously is not shared by all Muslims, as the world would look much different if we were at war with over a billion people. What helps extremist interpretations of Islam gain a foothold? One clear answer is petrodollars. Numerous analysts have connected radicalization in various regions to extremist charities, mosques, and madrasas funded by oil money. Some of the charities funded by petro-dollars are “dual-use,” not only propagating an extreme interpretation of Islam but also directly funding terrorist groups. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez famously declared in his opening address to an OPEC conference in 2006 that “the American empire will be destroyed.” Do we want to be dependent on political leaders like that because of their oil resources?

The Bush administration has had more than seven years to steer the country’s energy policy, yet its combined policies amount to slapping a few Band-Aids on a hemorrhaging wound. (This is of course not just the Bush administration’s fault: as a country, we have had more than forty years to address this issue since the dangers of our oil dependence became crystal clear.) For example, the primary strategy of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 is a new national mandatory fuel economy standard that, in President Bush’s words, “will save billions of gallons of gasoline.” But as Zubrin shows in his commendable book Energy Victory, conservation-based strategies are not, and will not be, sufficient. If we could duplicate the technical success that Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards achieved from 1975 through 1990, Zubrin writes, we would not cut our oil consumption at all. Instead, it would reduce our expected rate of increase of oil usage by only 2.2 million barrels a day, during a period when the world as a whole is likely to raise its consumption another 30 million barrels per day. Whatever demand we eliminate would be replaced fifteen times over.

President Bush has also congratulated himself on the ethanol policies that his administration has undertaken, but they are a far cry from the large market for ethanol that Zubrin’s policy recommendations would spur. (By Bush’s account, we produced 6.4 billion gallons of ethanol in 2007 versus the approximately 200 billion gallons of gasoline and petroleum diesel that we use annually.)

But fortunately, while our oil dependence is currently causing great harm, I don’t think the immediate solutions are mysterious. I agree strongly with the recommendations put forward by Zubrin and Luft in this symposium. Fuel flexibility should be the first major policy we push for because it provides immediate relief from this grave problem, but we should also move toward electrification of the transportation sector. The bottom line is that we are worse off, and our enemies in a better position, for each day that action is delayed.

McFarlane: As the panel has made clear, we have the means at hand to overcome the vulnerability of our economy and the challenge to our very way of life that is posed by our reliance on foreign oil. It starts with mandating that all cars and trucks sold in the US be flex-fuel, and then that we accelerate the production of plug-in hybrid-electric and all-electric cars and trucks, and that we build them out of carbon composite materials as Boeing is doing today in its new 787 Dreamliner.

We cannot consider this as nice-to-have, P-C, green "someday" matter. This is a matter of grave urgency. Today if an attack on any of a dozen very vulnerable Saudi oil processing facilities were successful, we would be facing oil at $200/barrel overnight. That would lead within weeks (not months) to the collapse of the Japanese economy, and before long to those of our European allies and ultimately of our own.

And even if such an attack does not occur, consider the price we are paying for our reliance on foreign oil. Last year we spent over $300 billion on foreign oil. Think for a moment of what $300 billion could buy in terms of better schools, health care, highways and bridges, law enforcement, a partial solution to our sub-prime mortgage problems, and a dozen other domestic priorities. But that's just the beginning.

Think about the half trillion dollars we spend every year -- yes, 'trillion' every year -- on the defense budget, and that doesn't count the supplemental appropriations for the war in Iraq. At least $200 of that $500 billion pays for forces that are deployed in the Middle East or to protect lines of communication between here and there and to our allies in Europe and Japan. Add it up -- $500 billion for defense, another $300 billion to pay for foreign oil, and with the price now above $100/bbl, the total from now on will be at least 1 trillion every year -- yes every year -- until we start changing our ways.

Of course the foregoing costs are just the financial dimension. Far more important are the costs in human lives, families shattered by separation, and the loss of loved ones. This is truly an intolerable condition -- one that is all the more unconscionable considering that we have the means at hand to overcome it.

Zubrin: I would like to make an additional point. As bad as $100 per barrel oil is for us, it is much worse for the poorer nations of the world. It is one thing to pay $100 per barrel for oil when you live in a country where the average person makes $40,000 per year. It is quite another if you live in a country where the average person makes $1,000 per year. To many third world countries, particularly in Africa, the effects of OPEC looting are not merely recessionary, but genocidal. Indeed, the jacked up oil price is nothing else than a huge regressive tax levied by the world’s richest people on the world’s poorest people.

Consider this: This year, Saudi Arabia’s high-priced oil business will reap that nation’s rulers over $300 billion. Much of this bounty will be wasted on a wild assortment of narcissistic luxuries. The rest go towards funding of network of over twenty thousand Wahhabi madrassas worldwide. There, millions of young boys will be instructed that the way to salvation is to kill Christians, Jews, Buddhists, animists, and Hindus, all as part of a global campaign to create reactionary theocratic states that totally degrade women and deny all political, religious, intellectual, scientific, artistic, or personal freedom to everyone.

Simultaneously, Kenya, a nation whose population of 36 million is half again as great as that of Saudi Arabia, will scrape up around $3 billion in export earnings, and use these funds to buy badly needed fuel, farm machinery, and replacement parts for equipment. (Kenya, incidentally, is not one of the world’s fifty poorest nations. There are many others much worse off.)

Distributed elsewhere, the loot garnered by the Saudi terror bankers could triple the foreign exchange of 50 counties comparable to Kenya. Distributed elsewhere, the $1.3 trillion per year taxed out of the world economy by the all the OPEC tyrannies could lift the entire third world out of poverty.

By shifting to alcohol fuels, we can shift a very substantial amount of capital flows in precisely such a direction. Many third world countries are tropical nations with very high agricultural potential. Within a few years of the establishment of a flex fuel mandate, we will have a much larger domestic market for agricultural produce to make ethanol than American farmers can deliver to. That is a very GOOD thing. It means that we will be able to give them all the business they can handle, and still have market share left over, which we could open to Latin American and Caribbean ethanol, but dropping the current tariff. So countries like Haiti, which desperately needs an export income source, will be able to get it by growing sugar ethanol for export to the USA. In the same way, Europe would be able to drop its agricultural trade barriers, and open itself up to ethanol exported from Africa, and Japan likewise from south Asia. Effectively, we would be able to redirect about a trillion dollars a year that is now going to OPEC and send it to the global agricultural sector instead, with about half going to advanced sector farmers and half going to the third world. This would create an enormous engine for world development.

Ethanol has been criticized by certain opponents who have alleged that its production from corn takes away from the food supply, and that large irrigation requirements draw power that exceeds that provided by the ethanol. Such analyses, however, are false. When ethanol is made from corn, all of the protein in the corn is preserved for use as animal feeds, and virtually no ethanol corn grown in the USA is irrigated. In fact, for the expenditure of a given amount of petroleum, nearly ten times as much ethanol can be produced as gasoline.

World food prices have been rising recently, at a rate of 4 percent a year, and oil cartel propaganda organs have been quick to place the blame on bio-fuel programs. But these are false accusations. Despite the corn ethanol program, US corn exports have not declined at all in recent years, and our overall agricultural exports this year are up over 23 percent. So its not corn ethanol that is driving up global food prices, including those for fish, fruit, and every kind of crop. Rather it is high fuel costs, which have risen 40 percent over the past year due to vicious OPEC price rigging. Not only that, these high fuel costs are driving up the cost of not just food, but nearly every product that needs to be transported anywhere in the world. And again, the hardest hit victims are the world's poor.

For the sake of social justice, OPEC must be destroyed.


10815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why oil is expensive on: May 23, 2008, 10:42:50 AM
Symposium: Energy Independence and the Terror War   
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 02, 2008
What is the best way for us to achieve energy independence? What is the urgency for us to do so in terms of our conflict with Islamo-Fascism? To discuss this issue with us today, Frontpage Symposium has assembled a distinguished panel. Our guests are:

Robert “Bud” McFarlane, Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor. Currently, he serves as Chairman and CEO of McFarlane Associates Inc., developing energy projects in third world countries and working to develop alternative fuels so as to reduce US reliance on foreign oil.




Robert Zubrin, the president of Pioneer Astronautics and also president of the Mars Society. For many years he worked as a senior engineer for Lockheed Martin. In addition, he is the author of the critically acclaimed nonfiction books The Case for Mars, Entering Space, Mars on Earth; the science fiction novels The Holy Land and First Landing; and articles in Scientific American, The New Atlantis, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mechanical Engineering, and The American Enterprise. He has appeared on major media including CNN, CSPAN, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, NBC, ABC, and NPR. He is the author of the new book, Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil.




Gal Luft, one of America 's most influential energy independence advocates. He is executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) a Washington based energy policy think tank and co-founder of the Set America Free Coalition, an alliance of national security, environmental, labor and religious groups promoting ways to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. He specializes in strategy, geopolitics, terrorism, energy security and economic warfare.



Anne Korin, Chair of Set America Free Coalition.




and


Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, the vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of My Year Inside Radical Islam, which documents his time working for the extremist Al Haramain Islamic Foundation.




FP: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Robert Zubrin, Gal Luft, Anne Korin and Bud McFarlane, welcome to Frontpage Symposium.

Robert Zubrin, let’s begin with you.

What kind of policy do you favor to create energy security?


Zubrin: I'm glad you used the words "energy security," not "energy independence." While admittedly, being energy independent would be an improvement on our current position, it is not good enough, because if the oil cartel still controlled the world market, they could still collapse our economy by collapsing that of our allies and trading partners like Japan and Europe, and they would still be harvesting trillions that they could use to finance jihad and the takeover of our corporations and media organizations.

So even if it were possible, walling ourselves in a defensive "energy independent" position would not suffice. Rather, we have to take the offensive and destroy the power of the oil cartel internationally. The key to doing that is to destroy the vertical monopoly that they have on the world's vehicle fuel supplies. The US Congress could strike a devastating blow in this direction simply by passing a law requiring that all new cars sold in the United States be flex fueled -- that is able to run on any combination of gasoline, methanol, or ethanol. Such cars are existing technology and only cost about $100 more than the same vehicle in non-flex fuel form.

If such a law were passed, it would make flex fuel the international standard for cars, as not only the Detroit Big 3, but all the foreign manufacturers would shift their lines over immediately in response. This would put 50 million cars on the road in the USA within 3 years capable of running on alcohol fuels, and hundreds of millions more worldwide. With such a market available, alcohol production and distribution facilities would multiply rapidly, and gasoline would be forced to compete at the pump against alcohol fuels produced in any number of ways from any number of sources everywhere in the world. (Methanol, for example, can be produced from any kind of biomass, without exception, as well as from coal, natural gas, and recycled urban trash. There are many starchy or sweet crops that can be used to make ethanol, with cellulosic options increasingly viable as well.)

This opening of the fuel market would put a permanent constraint on OPEC's ability to raise fuel prices. Instead of being able to raise oil prices to $200/barrel, which they are already discussing, prices would be forced back down to $50/barrel, because that is where alcohol fuels become competitive. Then, once such an alcohol fuel infrastructure is well in place, we can proceed to roll the oil cartel right off the map by instituting tax and tariff policies that favor alcohols over petroleum. That's how we beat the Islamists.

If we don't do that, with our current imports of 5 billion barrels per year, they will use a $100/barrel price to tax us $500 billion per year (and rob the world at a rate of $1.2 trillion/year). The NY Times today had a front page article quoting leading economists as saying that this huge tax (more than triple the size of the current economic stimulus treasury give-back) is grinding our economy into recession. So it is, but it is worse than that. If they are allowed to keep taxing us in this way, they will use that enormous monetary power to not only massively grow their jihadi movement, but to take over most of the major corporations and media organizations in the US, Europe, and Japan within a decade.

So not only our economy, but our independence is at stake. We need to break the oil cartel, and forceful action to create fuel choice internationally is the way to do it.

Luft: I share Robert's sense of urgency about reducing the strategic value of oil by opening the transportation sector to healthy competition, and fuel flexibility should indeed be the first item on our agenda. There is no reason why the $100 addition which allows cars to burn alcohol should not be - just like seat belts, air bags or rear view mirrors - a standard feature in every car sold worldwide. This would be a low premium insurance policy against future supply disruptions and a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding of our economy. But flex fuel alone would not be sufficient to solve our energy problem. In the U.S. today we use annually roughly 140 billion gallons of gasoline and additional 60 billion gallons of petroleum diesel. We simply don't have the resource base to replace all of this with alcohol and bio-diesel, even if we tapped into our vast coal reserves and diverted all of our food crops into fuel production. So we need solutions beyond liquid
fuels.

In order to achieve significant petroleum displacement we must begin to electrify the transportation sector by speeding the commercialization of plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars. Unlike in the 1970s, today only 2 percent of our electricity is made from oil. Almost all of our electricity is made from domestic energy resources like coal, nuclear power, natural gas and hydro. In other words, on the electricity front, unlike the Europeans who rely on imported natural gas for their light and heating, Americans are already energy independent. Using electrons for transportation, instead of gasoline, essentially means shifting from an imported resource which poses a national security threat to an array of abundant domestic energy sources. In addition, electricity is cheaper and cleaner than gasoline. It costs about 3 cents per mile to run a car on electricity--roughly one fifth of the cost of driving the same mile on gasoline. This cost differential protects us from a counterattack by OPEC.


The oil cartel will surely respond to the emerging alcohol economy by dropping crude prices to a level that would make ethanol and methanol economically unatractive. This is exactly what they did in the 1980s in response to a massive effort by Western countries to wean themselves from oil. Oil dropped to $8 a barrel and alternative fuels producers lost their shirts. If cars had full fuel flexibility, allowing them, in addition to burning alcohols, to also tap into the grid, OPEC would have to drop prices to $5 a barrel to compete with 3 cents per mile of electric drive. This is way below where they can afford to go considering their youth bulges and domestic economic conditions. This is why the commercialization of plug in hybrid electric vehicles, which allow us to drive the first chunk of our daily driving on electricity after which the car begins to burn liquid fuel, is so critical. Congress should therefore provide tax incentives to early adopters of plug in hubrids--just as it did in the case of regular hybrids--while facilitating the emergence of a viable battery industry in the U.S. A flex fuel plug-in hybrid will run approximately 500 miles on a gallon of gasoline. This could really pull the plug on OPEC.


10816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Lebanon on: May 23, 2008, 10:34:15 AM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/05/print/millions_in_criminal_proceeds.php

Counterterrorism Blog

Millions in Criminal Proceeds + Iran's Oil Millions = Hearts, Minds, Votes for Hezbollah

By Andrew Cochran

Our future national counterinsurgency or asymmetric threat strategy must take into consideration the success which Hamas, Hezbollah, and other segments of the jihadist community have had in building and operating a social services network which influences the local populace. Matthew Levitt has written extensively on that success; see his post here on November 21, 2007, "Zakat-Jihad Activism," in which he discusses an excellent "Military Review" article, "S.W.E.T. and Blood: Essential Services in the Battle Between Insurgents and Counterinsurgents." Matt noted, "(t)his tactic (sometimes also described as dawa activities) not only produces significant grassroots support, it also creates an ideal means to launder and transfer funds as well as a means of providing activists day jobs and a veneer of legitimacy. It many cases, it also serves as a logistical support network for less altruistic activities."

Hezbollah already has such a network in Lebanon, as Matt pointed out in a Washington Institute article. Nothing the U.S. has done has prevented Hezbollah from providing such services outside of Lebanese government channels. For instance, despite the Treasury Department's designation in 2007 of Jihad al-Bina, Hezbollah's construction company in Lebanon, that company is operating with little hindrance; David Schenker tells me that the company's subsidiary is rebuilding much of Dahyia. Hezbollah's diplomatic victory this week will enable further development of that network.

Hezbollah has two sources for hundreds of millions of dollars. First, it has a long history of using criminal activities around the world, including inside the U.S., to raise funds, as Matt wrote on November 8, 2007 and as Dennis Lormel wrote on July 16, 2006. I was told this week by two experts that recent estimates of the funds raised through such activity run from $100 to 300 million. Second, of course, it is the ward of the Iranian regime; Walid Phares recently put that support level at upwards of $1 billion, thanks to the extraordinary price of oil. And we should have no doubt that Hezbollah will use a considerable portion of those funds to buy popular support inside Lebanon. No other group there has that type of financial muscle, and in my opinion, it will enable Hezbollah to maintain and expand its power through the 2009 parliamentary elections and beyond.

By Andrew Cochran on May 22, 2008 4:37 PM
10817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 23, 2008, 09:04:30 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/23/vets-for-freedom-obama-will-go-to-iran-but-not-iraq/

Obama's priorities.
10818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: May 22, 2008, 10:30:58 PM
More than anything, my biggest objection to so-called "gay marriage" is that it's been rejected by the voting public and must be forced upon them by judicial fiat.
10819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 20, 2008, 03:57:00 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/20/on-budgeting-and-asymmetrical-threats/

More on Barry-O's cluelessness.....
10820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 19, 2008, 08:40:31 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/19/iran-not-a-serious-threat/

Iran not a “serious threat”?
POSTED AT 9:15 AM ON MAY 19, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Barack Obama gave an interesting description of Iran and the threat it poses to the United States and our national interests at an appearance in Oregon last night. “They don’t pose a serious threat to us in the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” Obama told a cheering audience, explaining why he doesn’t think we need to worry about “tiny” countries like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. Obama also displays a weird sense of history when he suggests that the Berlin Wall fell because we engaged Mikhail Gorbachev:


Wow. Where to begin with this silliness?

Let’s start with the Soviet Union. We talked with the Soviet Union because they also had nuclear weapons. Obama seems to forget that the entire point of our Iran policy is to prevent being put in the position of having to cut deals with a terrorist-supporting, radical Islamist non-rational state. When the enemy already has the capability of destroying you several times over, negotiations are needed to keep one side from initiating a war. Only an idiot would think that the negotiations intended on disarming the Soviets, or they us. The same dynamic applies to our engagement with Mao Zedong and Red China; Mao was smart enough to hold himself out as a potential partner in a power balance against the Soviets.

The Soviet Union collapsed economically; they did not just decide to capitulate. The Berlin Wall did not fall as a result of negotiations, but because the regime propping it up ceased to exist. Why did the Soviet Union collapse? Because Ronald Reagan won an economic war with Moscow, forcing it to spend more and more and falling further and further behind. The Strategic Defense Initiative provided the coup de grace to the Soviets, who knew they could never match us in missile defense, and tried negotiating an end to the economic war instead, with disastrous results.

That would be the same SDI that Democrats staunchly opposed, sneeringly called “Star Wars” and proclaiming it a threat to peaceful coexistence. They wanted a decades-long series of summits instead of the end of communism, which sounds strikingly familiar in Obama’s speech. Reagan had to fight the Democrats to beat the Soviets, not through presidential-level diplomacy but through economic isolation and military strength.

Listen to Obama talk about the “common interests” supposedly shared between the US and the Iranian mullahcracy. What interests would those be? The destruction of Israel, the denial of the Holocaust, the financial and military support of Hamas and Hezbollah, or the killing of American soldiers in Iraq? And please point out the presidential-level, unconditional contacts that brought down the Berlin Wall. Our “common interests” didn’t exist between the East German and American governments; they existed between the people of East Germany and America in the promise of real freedom. When the Soviet power structure imploded, it was the people of East Germany who tore down the wall, not Mikhail Gorbachev, who watched it happen impotently.

Furthermore, the danger in Iranian nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the capacity of its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. Iran’s sponsorship of terrorist organizations will allow them to partner with any small group of lunatics who want to smuggle a nuclear weapon into any Western city — London, Rome, Washington DC, Los Angeles, take your pick. That’s the problem with nuclear proliferation; it doesn’t take a large army to threaten annihilation any longer, which is why we work so hard to keep those weapons out of the hands of non-rational actors like Iran. The Soviets may have been evil, but they were rational, and we could count on their desire to survive to rely on the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Iranians believe that a worldwide conflagration will have Allah deliver the world to Islam, so a nuclear exchange may fall within their policy, and that’s assuming we could establish their culpability for a sneak nuclear attack to the extent where a President Obama would order a nuclear reprisal.

This speech reveals Obama to have no grasp of history, no grasp of strategic implications of a nuclear Iran, and no clue how to secure the nation and handle foreign policy.
10821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 09:44:14 PM
http://www.city-journal.org/printable.php?id=2574

Steven Malanga
Illegal in More Ways than One
Identity theft in America goes hand and hand with illegal immigration.
Spring 2008


As everyone knows, America is experiencing an epidemic of identity theft. In the last five years alone, complaints to the Federal Trade Commission from U.S. residents who have had their identity stolen have skyrocketed 60 percent, to 258,427 in 2007—one-third of all consumer fraud complaints that the commission receives. What’s less well understood, however, is how illegal immigration is helping to fuel this rash of crime. Seeking access to jobs, credit, and driver’s licenses, many undocumented aliens are using the personal data of real Americans on forged documents. The immigrants’ identity theft has become so pervasive that the need to combat it is “a disturbing front in the war against illegal immigration,” according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The FTC’s latest statistics help show why. The top five states in terms of reported identity theft in 2007 all have large immigrant populations—the border states of Arizona, California, and Texas, as well as Florida and Nevada. People who pilfer legitimate identities in these states are much more likely than in other parts of the country to use them to gain employment unlawfully—the most common reason that illegal aliens steal personal information. In Arizona, for instance, 36 percent of all identity theft is for employment purposes, compared with only 5 percent in Maine, a state with far fewer illegal aliens. “To many law enforcement leaders in Arizona, this suggests that Arizona’s identity-theft epidemic is directly linked to the problem of illegal immigration,” says a recent report by Identity Theft 911, an Arizona company that helps businesses and individuals protect themselves.

Government investigations have only begun to uncover the extent of the crime wave. When ICE agents raided six Swift meat-processing plants in December 2006, they found widespread evidence of fraud involving the use of real people’s identities; the feds eventually charged 148 illegal aliens in the case with crimes related to identity theft. In the first year and a half after Arizona created a special unit to deal with identity theft, investigators said that they were able to purchase more than 1,000 phony documents that made use of real people’s identities. A so-called three-pack—a Social Security card, a driver’s license, and a permanent-resident card—costs on average just $160 in the state.

Government statistics probably grossly underestimate the size of the problem. Many local police departments don’t track identity theft accurately, and the FTC only reports complaints that it receives. By combining data on complaints with FTC consumer surveys—which show that far more people have had their identity stolen than report it—Identity Theft 911 estimates that in Arizona alone, some 1.57 million people, or a quarter of the state’s population, have been victims over the last six years. About one-fifth are children—whose Social Security numbers are especially valuable targets, since the kids usually aren’t employed, making discovery of the fraud less likely. “We just don’t know how they’re getting all this information on minors,” says Maryann McKessy, bureau chief for fraud and identity-theft enforcement in the Maricopa County attorney general’s office.

One disturbing theory: health-care employees with access to children’s files are working for organized gangs that trade in illegal documents and are willing to pay richly for the data. “We have a major problem with workers in medical offices stealing patients’ identities, selling them and making a direct profit,” Sergeant James Bracke of the Phoenix Police Department told authors of the Arizona report. The gangs can afford these bribes because identity theft has become such a big business. In Phoenix, “coyotes,” the smugglers who lead illegal immigrants over our borders, have created a network of phony-document producers and safe houses where undocumented workers can wait until they get their fraudulent papers.

Americans who have their identity stolen by these gangs are in for major headaches. Among the complaints filed with the FTC is that of a Texas man arrested for a crime committed by an illegal alien who had filched his identity. In another case, highlighted by Nevada senator John Ensign in last year’s immigration-reform debate in Congress, the Internal Revenue Service hit a woman with a $1 million back-tax bill, even though she was a stay-at-home mom. An investigation later found that 218 illegal aliens were using her Social Security number. A Los Angeles police detective—who, ironically, worked in the department’s fraud bureau—was unable to buy a home because of bills piled up by an illegal immigrant who stole his Social Security number to gain employment at a processing plant. Then the IRS served the cop with a bill for $40,000 in back taxes; when he protested, the agency threatened to send his case to collection. Other legal residents have had their unemployment claims or workers’ compensation cases rejected after government records showed that someone with their Social Security number was working.

Despite all this, efforts to crack down on identity theft have proved controversial. Ensign offered an amendment to last year’s immigration-reform bill that would have barred illegals from Social Security benefits if they obtained work using stolen identities, but the amendment went down to defeat after critics complained that it was unfair to refuse benefit payments to those who had contributed to the Social Security system, even if they did so under a false identity. Ultimately, the immigration bill itself was defeated, in part because of controversy over its provisions to offer amnesty to illegal aliens, including those who might have stolen identities.

Frustrated by what some see as a tepid federal response, local officials in the hardest-hit areas have stepped up antitheft efforts. In Arizona, a new law makes it a felony to use the identity of another person to obtain a job. Local law enforcement agencies, like the Maricopa County attorney general’s office and the Phoenix Police Department, have expanded their fraud units. Even private businesses have gotten into the fight. Last year, the Arizona offices of A. G. Edwards, the national brokerage firm, held “community shred-a-thons” to give people a chance to destroy outdated financial records and other documents that might provide information to identity-theft gangs.

But many local law enforcement agencies still don’t treat the theft as a serious crime. Until they do, Americans who have had their identity stolen will pay the price in time, stress, and expensive legal bills.

Steven Malanga is senior editor of City Journal and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is the author of The New New Left, a collection of his City Journal essays.
10822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: May 17, 2008, 07:00:12 PM
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/003764print.html

Debbie Schlussel: The Company He Keeps: Obama Hangs With Hezbollah's Iranian Agent Imam

By Debbie Schlussel

Barack Obama claims he's against HAMAS and Hezbollah and is offended by President Bush's speech in Israel about Obama's ethos of "appeasement." So why is he meeting with one of Hezbollah's most important imams and agents in America, Imam Hassan Qazwini? And why is this open anti-Semite and supporter of Israel's annihilation getting to discuss "the Arab-Israeli conflict" in a private one-on-one meeting with Obama? What was said? I think we can do the math.

I've written about Qazwini and his mosque for almost a decade. He is tight with the Government of Iran, and he is an agent of the Iranian government, spreading its propaganda. He was sent to the U.S. by Iran to help radicalize his mosque, the Islamic Center of America, which--at the time--was becoming moderate with women not covering their hair and mixing with men. All that has changed, under Qazwini.


Extremist Imam Hassan Qazwini w/ Obama
AND w/ Hezbollah Spiritual Leader Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah
Qazwini is very open about his support for Palestinian homicide bombings, HAMAS, and Hezbollah. And he's a good friend of Hezbollah spiritual leader, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah--the man who issued the fatwa to Hezbollah terrorists to murder over 300 U.S. Marines and U.S. Embassy civilians in cold blood. Qazwini's mosque has held rallies and celebrations in support of Hezbollah, and many of Hezbollah's biggest money-launderers and agents in America are his congregants.

When I went undercover to his mosque in 1998, he and others welcomed Nation of Islam chief racist Louis Farrakhan as "our dear brother" and "a freedom fighter." Qazwini applauded Farrakhan's anti-Semitic statements saying that Jews were the "forces of Satan" and that there needed to be a "jihad" on the American people.

Above is a photo of Qazwini hanging out with Hezbollah's Fadlallah--who is on the State Department Terrorist List--in South Lebanon, where he went to visit him and pay tribute. Juxtapose that with the photo of Qazwini and Barack Obama. It says a lot about the company Obama keeps . . . and why he shouldn't be President:

A Muslim leader from Dearborn met privately with Sen. Barack Obama during his Wednesday visit to Michigan.
Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America, said in an email that he met with Obama at Macomb Community College. A mosque spokesman, Eide Alawan, confirmed that the meeting took place. During the meeting, the two discussed the Presidential election, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Iraq war, according to Qazwini.

At the end of the meeting, Qazwini said he gave Obama a copy of new book, "American Crescent," and invited Obama to visit his center.

The meeting with Obama came about after Qazwini had asked David Bonior, the former U.S. Rep. from Michigan, if he could meet with Obama during his visit. Qazwini was not selected to be part of a group of 20 people who met with Obama, but Qazwini later got a private meeting with Obama, Alawan said.

"They gave him an opportunity for a one-on-one," Alawan said. . . .

Born in Iraq into a long line of Shi'ite clerics, Qazwini and his family left for Iran to escape persecution under the regime of Saddam Hussein. He later moved to the U.S. and become head of the Dearborn mosque, one of the largest Shi'ite Muslim centers in the U.S.

Um, Saddam wasn't off the mark regarding Qazwini and his family. They were agents of Iran who were trying to overthrow him on behalf of the Khomeini'ists. And the fundamentalist Islamic form of government Qazwini espouses is far worse Saddam Hussein's killing fields (though it's far less secular than Saddam was). The only other difference is that in his view those bloody fields should be dominated by victorious Shi'ites, not Saddam's Sunnis.

Well, Obama has the support of HAMAS . . . and now, Hezbollah. And we should send him to the White House because . . .?


Posted by Debbie on May 16, 2008 12:18 PM to Debbie Schlussel
10823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 17, 2008, 05:30:05 PM
Israel: A bit over 7 million

Egypt: 80,335,036, per the CIA world factbook

Lebanon: 3,925,502

Syria: 18.6 million per the US State Dept.

Iran: 65,875,223

Saudi Arabia: 28,161,417

Iraq: 27,499,638

Though outnumbered, thus far Israel hasn't been outgunned....
10824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 04:53:55 PM
That is an intresting relation between Nazi's and Jihadis....Seems to make sense...not sure they could live well together....but anyway, it is understood.
Is the hatred for America related to our freedom or our alliance with Israel...or both?

**Both. Just as Israel is a target for the jihadis because they exist on what was muslim conquered land, the jihadis speak the same way about Spain eventually being returned to "Dar al-islam" from "Dar al-harb" as part of the return of the Caliphate that will eventually span the world.**

Quote
however the Shia side of the global jihad is surging forward with little to stop them at this time.

Expound please? I'am thinking Sadr and Iran/Iraq....but see little threat to the U.S. with the exception of our being on their playing field in Iraq.......which was not their playing field until we made it that way.

**Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power, if not already one and has been waging a war against us since 1979. Until 9/11, hezbollah (A wholly owned subsidiary of Iran's Revolutionary Guard) had killed more Americans than any other group. Hezbollah has demonstrated a global reach. This capacity, with nukes really does threaten the future of the United States.**

Are they intrested in Terrorism on a global scale?

**Yes. They have been ever since the Iranian revolution. Only Israel has really stepped up and bled them. Sadly, despite all the losses they've inflicted on us, we've never held them accountable. Our weakness emboldens them.**
10825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 04:04:17 PM
Both are militaristic totalitarians with a deep seated hatred of jews and freedom.

Patience is an asset the jihadis have that we don't, however AQ has been needing a followup to 9/11 for years now to prove their relevance. We've rolled up every big plot and forced them to cower in Pakistan's caves, however the Shia side of the global jihad is surging forward with little to stop them at this time.
10826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 03:33:48 PM
Here are two top notch books on the topic of homeland security:

http://www.amazon.com/Terrorist-Watch-Inside-Desperate-Attack/dp/0307382133

http://www.amazon.com/Crush-Cell-Terrorism-Terrorizing-Ourselves/dp/0307382176/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211056343&sr=1-1
10827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: May 17, 2008, 02:34:49 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/17/barack-obama-neocon/

Barack "Neocon" Obama
10828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 01:34:26 PM
Woof GM, I agree with you on this and find this really hard to prevent.
I personally would like to see more reasources being spent at home than abroad....but anyway....

Would you include Timothy Mcvie(sp) the Oklahoma city fed bldg. bomber in this group of possible terrorists?
                                                           TG

Terrorists motivated by left/right radicalism are threats, though not at the same level as the global jihad, which presents a long term existential threat to the US/Western world. Regarding McVeigh, there are those that claim a McVeigh-al-qaeda link. There is a historical alliance between the nazis and jihadis that still thrives today.
10829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 01:14:13 PM
Tom,

A huge amount of resources is being spent here, but the biggest factor in AQ not being able to top 9/11 in the last 7 years has been our offensives against AQ's global infastructure. Taking out training camps, interdicting their flow of money and killing their members does a lot to impair their ability to wage an offensive.
10830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 17, 2008, 01:06:06 PM
"Peoplehood" Based on a Big Lie   
By Eli E. Hertz
MythsandFacts.com | Friday, May 16, 2008

The Palestinians claim that they are an ancient and indigenous people fails to stand up to historical scrutiny. Most Palestinian Arabs were newcomers to British Mandate Palestine. Until the 1967 Six-Day War made it expedient for Arabs to create a Palestinian peoplehood, local Arabs simply considered themselves part of the ‘great Arab nation’ or ‘southern Syrians.’

“Repeat a lie often enough and people will begin to believe it.”
Nazi propaganda master Joseph Goebbels

“All [that Palestinians] can agree on as a community is what they
want to destroy, not what they want to build.”
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman

There is no age-old Palestinian people. Most so-called Palestinians are relative newcomers to the Land of Israel

Like a mantra, Arabs repeatedly claim that the Palestinians are a native people. The concept of a ‘Stateless Palestinian people’ is not based on fact. It is a fabrication.

Palestinian Arabs cast themselves as a native people in “Palestine” – like the Aborigines in Australia or Native Americans in America. They portray the Jews as European imperialists and colonizers. This is simply untrue.

Until the Jews began returning to the Land of Israel in increasing numbers from the late 19th century to the turn of the 20th, the area called Palestine was a God-forsaken backwash that belonged to the Ottoman Empire, based in Turkey.

The land’s fragile ecology had been laid waste in the wake of the Arabs’ 7th-century conquest. In 1799, the population was at it lowest and estimated to be no more than 250,000 to 300,000 inhabitants in all the land.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Arab population west of the Jordan River (today, Israel and the West Bank) was about half a million inhabitants and east of the Jordan River perhaps 200,000.

The collapse of the agricultural system with the influx of nomadic tribes after the Arab conquest that created malarial swamps and denuded the ancient terrace system eroding the soil, was coupled by a tyrannous regime, a crippling tax system and absentee landowners that further decimated the population. Much of the indigenous population had long since migrated or disappeared. Very few Jews or Arabs lived in the region before the arrival of the first Zionists in the 1880s and most of those that did lived in abject poverty.

Most Arabs living west of the Jordan River in Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza are newcomers who came from surrounding Arab lands after the turn of the 20th century because they were attracted to the relative economic prosperity brought about by the Zionist Movement and the British in the 1920s and 1930s.

This is substantiated by eyewitness reports of a deserted country – including 18th-century reports from the British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, French author and historian Count Constantine Volney (Travels through Syria and Egypt, 1798); the mid-19th-century writings of Alphonse de Lamartine (Recollections of the East, 1835); Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad, 1867); and reports from the British Consul in Jerusalem (1857) that were sent back to London.

The Ottoman Turks’ census (1882) recorded only 141,000 Muslims in the Land of Israel. The real number is probably closer to 350,000 to 425,000, since many hid to avoid taxes. The British census in 1922 reported 650,000 Muslims.

Aerial photographs taken by German aviators during World War I show an underdeveloped country composed mainly of primitive hamlets. Ashdod, for instance, was a cluster of mud dwellings, Haifa a fishing village. In 1934 alone, 30,000 Syrian Arabs from the Hauran moved across the northern frontier into Mandate Palestine, attracted by work in and around the newly built British port and the construction of other infrastructure projects. They even dubbed Haifa Um el-Amal (‘the city of work’).

The fallacy of Arab claims that most Palestinians were indigenous to Palestine – not newcomers - is also bolstered by a 1909 vintage photograph of Nablus, today an Arab city on the West Bank with over 121,000 residents. Based on the number of buildings in the photo taken from the base of Mount Gerizim, the population in 1909 – Muslim Arabs and Jewish Samaritans – could not have been greater than 2,000 residents.

Family names of many Palestinians attest to their non-Palestinian origins. Just as Jews bear names like Berliner, Warsaw and Toledano, modern phone books in the Territories are filled with families named Elmisri (Egyptian), Chalabi (Syrian), Mugrabi (North Africa). Even George Habash – the arch-terrorist and head of Black September – bears a name with origins in Abyssinia or Ethiopia, Habash in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Palestinian nationality is an entity defined by its opposition to Zionism, and not its national aspirations.

What unites Palestinians has been their opposition to Jewish nationalism and the desire to stamp it out, not aspirations for their own state. Local patriotic feelings are generated only when a non-Islamic entity takes charge – such as Israel did after the 1967 Six-Day War. It dissipates under Arab rule, no matter how distant or despotic.

A Palestinian identity did not exist until an opposing force created it – primarily anti-Zionism. Opposition to a non-Muslim nationalism on what local Arabs, and the entire Arab world, view as their own turf, was the only expression of ‘Palestinian peoplehood.’

The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a charismatic religious leader and radical anti-Zionist was the moving force behind opposition to Jewish immigration in the 1920s and 1930s. The two-pronged approach of the “Diplomacy of Rejection” (of Zionism) and the violence the Mufti incited occurred at the same time Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq became countries in the post-Ottoman reshuffling of territories established by the British and the French under the League of Nation’s mandate system.

The tiny educated class among the Arabs of Palestine was more politically aware than the rest of Arab society, with the inklings of a separate national identity. However, for decades, the primary frame of reference for most local Arabs was the clan or tribe, religion and sect, and village of origin. If Arabs in Palestine defined themselves politically, it was as “southern Syrians.” Under Ottoman rule, Syria referred to a region much larger than the Syrian Arab Republic of today, with borders established by France and England in 1920.

In his book Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition, Daniel Pipes explains:

“Syria was a region that stretched from the borders of Anatolia to those of Egypt, from the edge of Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea. In terms of today’s states, the Syria of old comprised Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, plus the Gaza Strip and Alexandria.”

Syrian maps in the 21st century still co-opt most of Greater Syria, including Israel.

The Grand Mufti Al-Husseini’s aspirations slowly shifted from pan-Arabism – the dream of uniting all Arabs into one polity, whereby Arabs in Palestine would unite with their brethren in Syria - to winning a separate Palestinian entity, with himself at the helm. Al-Husseini was the moving force behind the 1929 riots against the Jews and the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt against two non-Muslim entities in Palestine – the British and the Jews. He gathered a large following by playing on fears that the Jews had come to dispossess, or at least dominate the Arabs. 

Much like Yasser Arafat, the Grand Mufti’s ingrained all-or-nothing extremism, fanaticism and even an inability to cooperate with his own compatriots made him totally ineffective. He led the Palestinian Arabs nowhere.

The ‘Palestinian’ cause became a key rallying point for Arab nationalism throughout the Middle East, according to Oxford historian Avi Shlaim. The countries the British and French created in 1918-1922 were based largely on meridians on the map, as is evident in the borders that delineate the Arab states today. Because these states lack ethnic logic or a sense of community, their opposition to the national aspirations of the Jews has come to fuel that fires Arab nationalism as the ‘glue’ of national identity. (see details on the ramifications of British and French policy, which plague the Middle East to this day in the chapter “The European Union.”)

From the 1920s, rejection of Jewish nationalism, attempts to prevent the establishment of a Jewish homeland by violence, and rejection of any form of Jewish political power, including any plans to share stewardship with Arabs, crystallized into the expression of Palestinianism. No other positive definition of an Arab-Palestinian people has surfaced. This point is admirably illustrated in the following historic incident:

“In 1926, Lord Plumer was appointed as the second High Commissioner of Palestine. The Arabs within the Mandate were infuriated when Plumer stood up for the Zionists’ national anthem Hatikva during ceremonies held in his honor when Plumer first visited Tel Aviv. When a delegation of Palestinian Arabs protested Plumer’s ‘Zionist bias,’ the High Commissioner asked the Arabs if he remained seated when their national anthem was played, ‘wouldn’t you regard my behavior as most unmannerly?’ Met by silence, Plumer asked: ‘By the way, have you got a national anthem?’ When the delegation replied with chagrin that they did not, he snapped back, “I think you had better get one as soon as possible.”

But it took the Palestinians more than 60 years to heed Plumer’s advice, adopting Anthem of the Intifada two decades after Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 – at the beginning of the 1987 Intifada.

Under the Mandate, local Arabs also refused to establish an ‘Arab Agency’ to develop the Arab sector, parallel to the Jewish Agency that directed development of the Jewish sector (see the Chapter “Rejectionism”).

In fact, the so-called patriotism of indigenous Muslims has flourished only when non-Muslim entities (the Crusaders, the British, the Jews) have taken charge of the Holy Land. When political control returns to Muslim hands, the ardent patriotism of the Arabs of Palestine magically wanes, no matter how distant or how despotic the government. One Turkish pasha who ruled Acco (Acre) between 1775 and 1804 was labeled Al Jazzar, The Butcher, by locals.

Why hasn’t Arab representative government ever been established in Palestine, either in 1948 or during the next 19 years of Arab rule? Because other Arabs co-opted the Palestinian cause as a rallying point that would advance the concept that the territory was up for grabs. “The Arab invasion of Palestine was not a means for achieving an independent Palestine, but rather the result of a lack of consensus on the part of the Arab states regarding such independence,” summed up one historian. Adherents to a separate Palestinian identity were a mute minority on the West Bank and Gaza during the 19 years of Jordanian and Egyptian rule - until Israel took control from the Jordanians and the Egyptians in 1967. Suddenly a separate Palestinian peoplehood appeared and claimed it deserved nationhood - and 21 other Arab states went along with it.

Palestinianism in and of itself lacks any substance of its own. Arab society on the West Bank and Gaza suffers from deep social cleavages created by a host of rivalries based on divergent geographic, historical, geographical, sociological and familial allegiances. What glues Palestinians together is a carefully nurtured hatred of Israel and the rejection of Jewish nationhood.
10831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 17, 2008, 01:00:51 PM
Enabling Hezbollah   
By Ralph Peters
New York Post | Friday, May 16, 2008

AS Hezbollah's terror army dismantles Lebanon, the world whistles "Ain't That a Shame."
With its heavily funded proxies marching through an Arab democracy's ruins, Iran has arrived on the Mediterranean, outflanking Israel.

Syria's surrogates punish Beirut. Lebanon's crippled government cringes at the whims of Hassan Nasrullah, Hezbollah's strongman. Terror rules.

And not one civilized country lifts a finger.

This doesn't mean that war will be avoided at the "negligible" cost of Lebanese lives and freedom. It just means that the inevitable showdown with Hezbollah will be a bloodier mess when it finally comes.

When will we face reality? Hezbollah can't be appeased. Hezbollah can't be integrated into a democratic government and domesticated. And Hezbollah, whose cadres believe that death is a promotion, can't be deterred by wagging fingers and flyovers.

Hezbollah, our mortal enemy, must be destroyed. But we - Israel, the United States, Europe - lack the will. And will is one thing Hezbollah and its backers in Iran and Syria don't lack: They'll kill anyone and destroy anything to win.

We won't. We still think we can talk our way out of a hit job. Not only are we reluctant to kill those bent on killing us - we don't even want to offend them.

Hezbollah's shocking defeat of Israel in 2006 (when will Western leaders learn that you can't measure out war in teaspoons?) highlighted the key military question of our time: How can humane, law-abiding states defeat merciless postnational organizations that obey only the "laws" of bloodthirsty gods?

The answer, as Iraq and Afghanistan should have taught us, is that you have to gut the organization and kill the hardcore cadres. (Exactly how many al Qaeda members have we converted to secular humanism?).

Entranced by the military vogue of the season, we don't even get our terminology right. Defeating Hezbollah has nothing to do with counterinsurgency warfare - the situation's gone far beyond that. We're facing a new form of "non-state state" built around a fanatical killing machine that rejects all of our constraints.

No one is going to win Hezbollah's hearts and minds. Its fighters and their families have already shifted into full-speed fanaticism, and there's no reverse gear. Hezbollah has to be destroyed.

But we're not going to do it. And Israel's not going to do it. We both lack the vision, the guts, the strength of will. Hezbollah has all three. In spades.

As for Europe stepping in, it's got just enough UN peacekeepers in Lebanon to serve as hostages, but not enough to set up a convincing roadblock. (All the United Nations has done has been to direct traffic for Hezbollah arms smugglers.)

And Europeans won't fight to protect Jews. Even now, Europeans, high and low, wish they could find an excuse to pile on against Israel. The continent's shamelessly anti-Israeli media is doing all it can to give its audiences that excuse - witness the pro-Hezbollah propaganda reported as ground truth in 2006 - but Europe's still a bit too embarrassed by its recent past to actively aid in Israel's destruction.

Meanwhile, Israel's bumbling Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his government remain focused on the chaos in Gaza generated by Hamas - another Iranian tool - while trying to ignore the existential threat metastasizing on its northern border. The "world community" wrings its hands about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but does nothing - as Iran methodically sets the stage to launch volleys of medium-range missiles into Israel when the hour of reckoning comes.

The extremists running Iran today would destroy Israel. No matter the cost. And Hezbollah's happy to help.

Until that day comes, Tehran and Damascus are convinced that no one will stand up for Lebanon. They're savvier strategically than we are.

Before Israel squandered its credibility in the 2006 war, it briefly looked as though its Sunni Arab neighbors might rouse themselves to action to help thwart Tehran's ambitions. Those hopes have dissolved. Meanwhile, Jordan's rulers seem blithely unaware that they're next: Once Lebanon is under Hezbollah's thumb, Iran and Syria's next step will be to destabilize Jordan, surrounding Israel with active enemies.

Is there a good solution? No. Is there any solution? Yes. Backed by US air and naval power, Israel must strike remorselessly, destroying Hezbollah without compromise and ignoring the global save-the-terrorists outcry.

It's not going to happen. We lack the strength of will to do this right.

Israel or even the United States may feel compelled to intervene at some point. But we'll do too little too late and stop too soon.

Hezbollah would sacrifice women and children by the thousands to win. We rely on that fatal narcotic, diplomacy, as Lebanon shatters and our enemies pick up the pieces.

We're not Hezbollah's enemies. We're its enablers.
10832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: May 17, 2008, 12:55:54 PM
Top Ten Skeletons in the Left's Closet   
By Daniel J. Flynn
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 16, 2008

When the Left writes its own history, the past gets rewritten to suit the needs of the present. This is why I wrote A Conservative History of the American Left, to conserve not only fascinating figures now forgotten but to retrieve from the memory hole all that the Left has tossed down it. What is the history of the American Left that leftists want you to forget?

10. Ayatollah Khomeini, Leftist Hero

Reflexive anti-Americanism initially moved the Left to embrace the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Mother Jones, for instance, in 1979 predicted that “if Khomeini or his followers take power” then “democratic reforms, freedom for political prisoners, an end to the astronomical waste of huge arms purchases, and a constitutional government” would follow. The Nation, Michel Foucault, and other pillars of the Left similarly projected their ideals upon Khomeini and company.

9. Manson Family Values

“I fell in love with Charlie Manson the first time I saw his cherub face and sparkling eyes on TV,” hippie guru Jerry Rubin professed. “His words and courage inspired us.” Weatherman hoisted “Charles Manson Power” banners, adopted a spread-fingered greeting to symbolize the fork with which the Manson murderers impaled a victim’s stomach, and even boasted a cell nicknamed “The Fork.” Weatherman matriarch Bernardine Dohrn infamously proclaimed: “Dig it: first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

8. Gay Activists Sue to Block AIDS Test

Today, homosexual activists blame Ronald Reagan and the clergy for the spread of AIDS. But in the mid-1980s, the National Gay Task Force and the Lambda Legal Defense, citing civil-liberties concerns, actually sued the federal government to stop the AIDS test. Thankfully, they lost and scores of lives have been saved as a result.

7. Murder Chic

The easiest way to become a hero on the Left is to kill another human being. John Brown, the Molly Maguires, the Haymarket Square Bombers, Joe Hill, Huey Newton, and Mumia Abu-Jamal—murderers all—have been venerated by the Left in song and on screen. The people they murdered are not even an afterthought.

6. Jonestown Kool-Aid

Before orchestrating the murder/suicides 900+ people in Guyana, Jim Jones was the darling of the San Francisco Left. Huey Newton, Angela Davis, and Willie Brown embraced a man who killed more blacks than the KKK. Democrats Rosalynn Carter, Walter Mondale, and Gerry Brown made campaign visits to the Peoples Temple’s “comrade leader.” The mayor of San Francisco even rewarded Jones for his activism by appointing him chairman of the city’s housing commission. “The temple was as much a left-wing political crusade as a church,” The Nation reported in 1978. Unfortunately, as the years progressed, more Americans gulped down the Left’s Kool-Aid that Jones was of the religious Right and not an atheist leftist. 

5. Concentration Camps, American Style

A year before Hitler came to power in Germany, Margaret Sanger called for a vast system of concentration camps for the United States. The Planned Parenthood founder demanded “a stern and rigid policy of segregation or sterilization” for “dysgenic” Americans who “would be taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives.” The 1932 speech concluded that “fifteen or twenty millions of our population would then be organized into soldiers of defense—defending the unborn against their own disabilities.”

4. Heaven on Earth

American intellectuals looked upon the hell on earth that was post-revolutionary Russia and saw a heaven on earth. The New Republic credited the Russian Revolution with providing “the most democratic franchise yet devised in our world,” while The Nation found that “the franchise is more democratic in Russia than in England or in the United States.” Lincoln Steffens marveled after a visit to the Soviet Union, “The revolution in Russia is to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.”

3. Eugenics

Even before the progressive era when most states instituted eugenics laws, the American Left had agitated for state controls over procreation. John Humphrey Noyes’ Bible Communists lamented that freedom of marital choice “leaves mating to be determined by a general scramble, without attempt at scientific direction” and devised the first eugenic experiment in the U.S.—“stirpiculture”—that produced dozens of children and prevented hundreds more. In Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy dreamed of “race purification” to “preserve and transmit the better types of the race, and let the inferior types drop out.” Other proponents included Margaret Sanger, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who famously decreed in Buck v. Bell, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” State governments ultimately sterilized upwards of 60,000.

2. Assassinating Presidents

Three of the four presidential assassins have been left-wing radicals. Bible Communist Charles Guiteau murdered President Garfield, anarcho-communist Leon Czolgosz murdered President McKinley, and Soviet Communist Lee Harvey Oswald murdered John F. Kennedy. Rather than own that history, the Left has invented conspiracy theories that absolve leftists from responsibility.

1. Nazi-Soviet Pact

The Left switched from pacifists to warmongers overnight once the Nazi attack upon the Communists dissolved the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Communist Party USA chief Earl Browder, who had dubbed WWII “the second imperialist war” during the pact, so thoroughly switched course when the Nazis attacked the Communists that he embraced conscription (after his opposition to it led to jail in WWI), endorsed a ‘no-strike’ pledge for labor unions (after encouraging strikes to impede the war effort), and kicked out Japanese Americans from the CP (after ostensibly championing civil rights). The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League ceased operations during the pact. The Communists’ New Masses panned the anti-Nazi Watch on the Rhine when it appeared as a play during the pact only to praise it when it appeared as a movie when Hitler and Stalin were again enemies.

Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas and A Conservative History of the American Left. He is also the editor of www.flynnfiles.com.
10833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 17, 2008, 12:54:08 PM
Counterfeit passports are an issue, though what i'm talking about is citizens of the west waging jihad against their own nations. The 7/7 London bombers, or Rodney Hampton-el, a US born and raised black muslim that was part of the original NYC/NJ al qaeda cell that first bombed the WTC as examples.
10834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: May 17, 2008, 12:09:11 PM
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/president-obama-words-2044703-bush-talking#

Saturday, May 17, 2008
Mark Steyn: Obama an appeaser? How dare you
By MARK STEYN
Syndicated columnist

"That's enough. That – that's a show of disrespect to me."
That was Barack Obama, a couple of weeks back, explaining why he was casting the Rev. Jeremiah Wright into outer darkness. It's one thing to wallow in "adolescent grandiosity" (as Scott Johnson of the Powerline Web site called it) when it's a family dispute between you and your pastor of 20 years. It's quite another to do so when it's the 60th anniversary celebrations of one of America's closest allies.
President Bush was in Israel the other day and gave a speech to the Knesset. Its perspective was summed up by his closing anecdote – a departing British officer in May 1948 handing the iron bar to the Zion Gate to a trembling rabbi and telling him it was the first time in 18 centuries that a key to the gates of the Jerusalem was in the hands of a Jew. In other words, it was a big-picture speech, referencing the Holocaust, the pogroms, Masada – and the challenges that lie ahead. Sen. Obama was not mentioned in the text. No Democrat was mentioned, save for President Truman, in the context of his recognition of the new state of Israel when it was a mere 11 minutes old.
Nonetheless, Barack Obama decided that the president's speech was really about him, and he didn't care for it. He didn't put it quite as bluntly as he did with the Rev. Wright, but the message was the same: "That's enough. That's a show of disrespect to me." And, taking their cue from the soon-to-be nominee's weirdly petty narcissism, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Co. piled on to deplore Bush's outrageous, unacceptable, unpresidential, outrageously unacceptable and unacceptably unpresidential behavior.
Honestly. What a bunch of self-absorbed ninnies. Here's what the president said:
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
It says something for Democrat touchiness that the minute a guy makes a generalized observation about folks who appease terrorists and dictators the Dems assume: Hey, they're talking about me. Actually, he wasn't – or, to be more precise, he wasn't talking onlyabout you.
Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too – President Bush's pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else. But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair's former Cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans. It's not a Democrat election policy, it's an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can't be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here]concept is an original idea.
Increasingly, the Western world has attitudes rather than policies. It's one thing to talk as a means to an end. But these days, for most midlevel powers, talks arethe end, talks without end. Because that's what civilized nations like doing – chit-chatting, shooting the breeze, having tea and crumpets, talking talking talking. Uncivilized nations like torturing dissidents, killing civilians, bombing villages, doing doing doing. It's easier to get the doers to pass themselves off as talkers then to get the talkers to rouse themselves to do anything.
And, as the Iranians understand, talks provide a splendid cover for getting on with anything you want to do. If, say, you want to get on with your nuclear program relatively undisturbed, the easiest way to do it is to enter years of endless talks with the Europeans over said nuclear program. That's why that Hamas honcho endorsed Obama: They know he's their best shot at getting a European foreign minister installed as president of the United States.
Mo Mowlam was Britain's Northern Ireland secretary and oversaw the process by which the IRA's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness became ministers of a Crown they decline to recognize. By 2004, she was calling for Osama bin Laden to be invited to "the negotiating table," having concluded he was no different from Adams: Stern fellow, lots of blood on his hands, but no sense getting on your high horse about all that; let's find out what he wants and give him part of it.
In his 2002 letter to the United States, bin Laden has a lot of grievances, from America's refusal to implement Sharia law to Jew-controlled usury to the lack of punishment for "President Clinton's immoral acts." Like Barack Obama's pastor, bin Laden shares the view that AIDS is a "Satanic American invention." Obviously, there are items on the agenda that the free world can never concede on – "President Clinton's immoral acts" – but who's to say most of the rest isn't worth chewing over?
This will be the fault line in the post-Bush war debate over the next few years. Are the political ambitions of the broader jihad totalitarian, genocidal, millenarian – in a word, nuts? Or are they negotiable? President Bush knows where he stands. Just before the words that Barack Obama took umbrage at, he said:
"There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously."
Here are some words of Hussein Massawi, the former leader of Hezbollah:
"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."
Are his actions consistent with those words? Amazingly so. So, too, are those of Hezbollah's patrons in Tehran.
President Reagan talked with the Soviets while pushing ahead with the deployment of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe. He spoke softly – after getting himself a bigger stick. Sen. Obama is proposing to reward a man who pledges to wipe Israel off the map with a presidential photo-op to which he will bring not even a twig. No wonder he's so twitchy about it.

10835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 17, 2008, 02:00:31 AM
    - Obama said "If there is an Arab American family [in the US] being
rounded up without benefit of an attorney, those are my civil liberties!"

**I'd like to know when and where any American citizens of arab ancestry were "rounded up" and not given legal representation. Sounds like typical CAIR propaganda.**  rolleyes
10836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: May 16, 2008, 10:10:10 PM
IMHO, the next major terror attack CONUS will be, at least in part from jihadis holding US/UK/EU passports.
10837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: May 16, 2008, 07:43:40 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/16/video-new-rnc-ad-hammers-obama-on-second-amendment/

Bittergate!
10838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 10, 2008, 10:14:20 PM
Until the left starts seeing their own friends and families die at the hands of these savages, they'll continue to wage their war to undercut the war against the global jihad. Of course, after suffering terrorism firsthand, i'm sure they'll try to sue the USG, and law enforcement for failing to protect them.  rolleyes
10839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 10, 2008, 10:06:53 PM




May 10, 2008, 8:30 a.m.

Be Careful What You Wish For
Israel’s doom would be bad news for Europe.

By Mark Steyn

Almost everywhere I went last week — TV, radio, speeches — I was asked about the 60th anniversary of the Israeli state. I don’t recall being asked about Israel quite so much on its 50th anniversary, which as a general rule is a much bigger deal than the 60th. But these days friends and enemies alike smell weakness at the heart of the Zionist Entity. Assuming President Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic fancies don’t come to pass, Israel will surely make it to its 70th birthday. But a lot of folks don’t fancy its prospects for its 80th and beyond. See the Atlantic Monthly cover story: “Is Israel Finished?” Also the cover story in Canada’s leading news magazine, Maclean’s, which dispenses with the question mark: “Why Israel Can’t Survive.”

Why? By most measures, the Jewish state is a great success story. The modern Middle East is the misbegotten progeny of the British and French colonial map-makers of 1922. All the nation states in that neck of the woods date back a mere 60 or 70 years — Iraq to the Thirties, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel to the Forties. The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it. Would I rather there were more countries like Israel, or more like Syria? I don’t find that a hard question to answer. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East (Iraq may yet prove a second) and its Arab citizens enjoy more rights than they would living under any of the kleptocrat kings and psychotic dictators who otherwise infest the region. On a tiny strip of land narrower at its narrowest point than many American townships, Israel has built a modern economy with a GDP per capita just shy of $30,000 — and within striking distance of the European Union average. If you object that that’s because it’s uniquely blessed by Uncle Sam, well, for the past 30 years the second largest recipient of U.S. aid has been Egypt: Their GDP per capita is $5,000, and America has nothing to show for its investment other than one-time pilot Mohammed Atta coming at you through the office window.

Jewish success against the odds is nothing new. “Aaron Lazarus the Jew,” wrote Anthony Hope in his all but unknown prequel to The Prisoner Of Zenda, “had made a great business of it, and had spent his savings in buying up the better part of the street; but” — and for Jews there’s always a ‘but’
— “since Jews then might hold no property…”

Ah, right. Like the Jewish merchants in old Europe who were tolerated as leaseholders but could never be full property owners, the Israelis are regarded as operating a uniquely conditional sovereignty. Jimmy Carter, just returned from his squalid suck-up junket to Hamas, is merely the latest Western sophisticate to pronounce triumphantly that he has secured the usual (off-the-record, highly qualified, never to be translated into Arabic, and instantly denied) commitment from the Jews’ enemies acknowledging Israel’s “right to exist.” Well, whoop-de-doo. Would you enter negotiations on such a basis?

Since Israel marked its half-century, the “right to exist” is now routinely denied not just in Gaza and Ramallah and the region’s presidential palaces but on every European and Canadian college campus. During the Lebanese incursion of 2006, Matthew Parris wrote in the Times of London: “The past 40 years have been a catastrophe, gradual and incremental, for world Jewry. Seldom in history have the name and reputation of a human grouping lost so vast a store of support and sympathy so fast. My opinion - held not passionately but with little personal doubt — is that there is no point in arguing about whether the state of Israel should have been established where and when it was” — which lets you know how he would argue it if minded to. Richard Cohen in The Washington Post was more straightforward: “Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.” Cohen and Parris, two famously moderate voices in the leading newspapers of two of the least anti-Israeli capital cities in the West, have nevertheless internalized the same logic as Ahmadinejad: Israel should not be where it is. Whether it’s a “stain of shame” or just a “mistake” is the merest detail.

Aaron Lazarus and every other “European Jew” of his time would have had a mirthless chuckle over Cohen’s designation. The Jews lived in Europe for centuries, but without ever being accepted as “European”: To enjoy their belated acceptance as Europeans, they had to move to the Middle East. Reviled on the Continent as sinister rootless cosmopolitans with no conventional national allegiance, they built a conventional nation state, and now they’re reviled for that, too. The “oldest hatred” didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt.

The Western intellectuals who promote “Israeli Apartheid Week” at this time each year are laying the groundwork for the next stage of Zionist delegitimization. The talk of a “two-state solution” will fade. In the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, Jews are barely a majority. Gaza has one of the highest birth rates on the planet: The median age is 15.8 years. Its population is not just literally exploding, at Israeli checkpoints, but also doing so in the less incendiary but demographically decisive sense.

Arabs will soon be demanding one democratic state — Jews and Muslims — from Jordan to the sea. And even those who understand that this will mean the death of Israel will find themselves so confounded by the multicultural pieties of their own lands they’ll be unable to argue against it. Contemporary Europeans are not exactly known for their moral courage: The reports one hears of schools quietly dropping the Holocaust from their classrooms because it offends their growing numbers of Muslim students suggest that even the pretense of “evenhandedness” in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” will be long gone a decade hence.

The joke, of course, is that Israel, despite its demographic challenge, still enjoys a birth rate twice that of the European average. All the reasons for Israel’s doom apply to Europe with bells on. And, unlike much of the rest of the west, Israel has the advantage of living on the front line of the existential challenge. “I have a premonition that will not leave me,” wrote Eric Hoffer, America’s great longshoreman philosopher, after the ’67 war. “As it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.”

Indeed. So happy 60th birthday. And here’s to many more.

© 2008 Mark Steyn

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGM4M2M5YWRhYWY4YzgwYjdkYWI2NTViMmM5MTc2MTM=
10840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 04, 2008, 11:04:54 PM
October 25, 2005, 8:27 a.m.
Moore Hypocrites Than True Believers?
Exposing the Do As I Say (Not As I Do) Left.

Q&A by Kathryn Jean Lopez

The mother of Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer is lucky that her son is an hypocrite. Her son is a leading proponent of excising the undesirable — the imperfect via abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. The disabled would fall under there, also, sometimes, the elderly.

Peter Singer's mother has Alzheimer's.

Peter Schweizer reports in his new book Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy that "far from embracing his own moral ethic, Singer hired a group of health care workers to look after her."

Good for him, he can't even buy his own poison. (When your ideas are destructive, at least a little hypocrisy saves a life here and there, despite the widespread damage you may be doing.)

Singer isn't the only hypocrite on the Left. Hoover Institution fellow Schweizer exposes a handful of popular Lefty hypocrites in his new book. He recently talked to National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez about his latest book and the Left's deficiencies.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Michael Moore makes money off oil and war? Why would he bother lying about owning stock? Is Peter Schweizer the only person who bothered checking?

PETER SCHWEIZER:Michael Moore is constantly trying to prove his and the Left's moral superiority, so he says things about himself that are patently not true. He's pathological about it. How else to explain that he's loudly proclaimed no less than three times that he doesn't invest in the stock market because it's morally wrong while quietly picking up shares in a whole host of companies. A portfolio that includes Halliburton, Boeing, and HMOs doesn't fit the bill so he lies about it. I think he assumed that no one would poke around and investigate. When it comes to the MSM he was correct in making that assumption. He never responded to my questions. I'm dying to know how he explains away this one.

LOPEZ: Where did you get the idea for Do As I Say...? Did you just know the line of inquiry would be productive or did something fall into your lap?

SCHWEIZER: I got tired of having discussions and arguments with people on the Left who operate on the assumption that they possess the moral high ground. They're not greedy, they're the only ones who truly care about the poor, minorities, you name it. Knowing quite a few people on the Left I knew that wasn't true. So I started poking around — looking at tax returns, IRS filings, court documents, etc. Frankly, it's amazing how easy it was to find examples of lefties being completely hypocritical.

LOPEZ: Given the hypocrisy you expose on this front, please tell me Nancy Pelosi at least isn't a Wal-Mart basher.

SCHWEIZER: Nancy Pelosi bashes everyone who doesn't allow unions to call the shots. Everyone that is except herself. It's takes an amazing amount of gall to accept the Cesar Chavez Award from the United Farmworkers Unions while using non-UFW workers on your Napa Valley Vineyard. It takes the same to praise the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union and take massive sums of money from them all the while keeping them out of your Hotel and chain of restaurants. But again, I think Pelosi correctly assumes that no one in the media will challenge her on this.

LOPEZ: I'm all for having a little legitimate fun with liberals. But doesn't revealing Barbra Streisand's water bill feel a little like going through her garbage? Actually: Did you have to go through her or anyone else's garbage? Where did you get this stuff?

SCHWEIZER: I didn't go through Bab's trash. All the info in the book was obtained legally and ethically. Streisand's annual water bill of $22,000 to keep her lawn green is relevant because she made it relevant: She's constantly lecturing ordinary Americans about the need to cut back on our consumerist culture. Maybe if she turns off the taps she'll have some legitimate grounds for making the claims she does. As Kermit the Frog said, it's not easy being green.

LOPEZ: Um and the Clinton's underwear? Though the Clinton's claiming $4 per pair of used underwear among their charitable contributions does seem like it is begging for a New York Post cover.

I suppose there was not blue dresses. Something like that would make a lot more on ebay.

SCHWEIZER: Ah, yes, the Clintons, who profess to pay the maximum amount on their taxes every year because it's the right thing to do. The Clintons are simply amazing in their ability to lecture Americans about their need to pay more taxes while at the same time finding lucrative tax shelters and taking outrageous tax deductions. Again, the media gives them a free pass.

LOPEZ: What else about the Clintons do you want to hand over to RNC op research before 2008?

SCHWEIZER: I think their record of greed, jilting poor people out of their money, and their avarice are a sight to behold. Let people see how they have made their money over the last couple of decades and it speaks for itself.

LOPEZ: Tell me the great hypocrisy of that greatest of all public intellectuals according to one recent depressing survey: Noam Chomsky.

SCHWEIZER: Noam Chomsky thinks he's the Moses of this age and even those on the Left who don't agree with him on everything accept his moral authority. But Chomsky is a socialist who practices capitalism, and an anti-militarist who has made millions off of Pentagon contracts. Wonder what his followers would think of that? Then there is his constant lecturing about "tax gimmicks" and "tax shelters" that "the rich" use to avoid paying their "fair share." He must have forgotten about that when he set up his tax shelter.

LOPEZ: And he wasn't a lot of fun when you got in touch with him, was he?

SCHWEIZER: I give credit to Chomsky for responding to my questions. His excuses were something to behold. No wonder he teaches linguistics. It's amazing how he twists his words. By the way, he said it was okay to criticize other rich people for setting up trusts and setting one up himself. After all, he explained, he's been fighting for poor people his whole life.

LOPEZ: Did anyone ever take Al Franken seriously anyway? Why shouldn't anyone?

SCHWEIZER: I'm not sure that most people take Franken seriously, but the media most assuredly does. He professes to be more than a comedian. He claims to be a political analyst and apparently wants to be a U.S. senator. (His former writing partner says he really wants to be president. Yikes!) His vicious attacks against conservatives as racists are not meant to be funny. He really does think that we're bigots. So questions about his absolutely abysmal record when it comes to hiring minorities should be exposed. (For those who want a hint, less than one percent of his employees have been black. That's a worse record than Bob Jones University, which Franken claims is "racist.")

LOPEZ: So he lies you say? At heart, he's a comedian. Does it really matter?

SCHWEIZER: Yes it does matter. Among the liberal/Left base, they see Franken as some sort of prophet who speaks the truth. And again, the media gives him a free pass. I caught him on The Late Show with David Letterman last Friday. They chuckled a bit and Franken went on to explain his twisted and distorted view of the world. He wasn't challenged on anything he said.

LOPEZ: About Franken, he wanted to fight our Rich Lowry. You nervous now that your book is out?

SCHWEIZER: I tried to get Franken to answer my questions. I wanted him to explain some of the outrageous comments he made a few years ago about disliking homosexuals and the fact that he was glad one had been killed. (Imagine if a conservative had said that?) And I wanted to ask him why he considered conservatives and Republicans racist because they hired so few blacks when he had such a horrible record himself. Alas, he never responded.

About the Lowry-Franken fight: Rich is too classy to take him up on it but I wish he had. He could have taken him easy.

LOPEZ: Any Lefties you checked into who came out with flying non-hypocritical colors worth lauding for at least practicing what they preach?

SCHWEIZER: I really thought that Ralph Nader would be that man. He lives a monk-like existence and tends to shun the material things in life. But then I discovered that he fired some of his employees for trying to form a union and I realized he wouldn't fit the bill. I'm still looking....

LOPEZ: Another say-something-nice question: Is there anyone on the Left you admire? Or are you a hater?

SCHWEIZER: I don't admire the ideas of the Left but there are some individuals that I think demonstrated integrity and honesty. Senator Paul Wellstone — say what you will about him, but he seemed to at least try to live a life somewhat consistent with his principles.

LOPEZ: Were you depressed or invigorated by the big wigs of the Left's hypocrisy?

SCHWEIZER: Invigorated. It's another reminder that the ideas the left want to impose on the rest of us are so fundamentally bad that they don't even try to live by them. At the end of the day, when all the fun is done, I hope people view this as a book about ideas and the failure of liberal/Left ideas. They don't work for the leading lights of the Left. How could they possibly work for our country?

LOPEZ: One overarching kinda question: We all have our moments of hypocrisy. That we don't practice what we preach doesn't make what we preach any less valid. People are human, etc. Is there something about your book that is somewhat fundamentally unfair?

SCHWEIZER: Yes, we are all hypocrites and I talk about that in the book. But liberal hypocrisy and conservative hypocrisy are quite different on two accounts. First, you hear about conservative hypocrisy all the time. A pro-family congressman caught in an extramarital affair, a minister caught in the same. This stuff is exposed by the media all the time. The leaders of the liberal-Left get a complete pass on their hypocrisy. Second, and this is even more important, the consequences of liberal hypocrisy are different than for the conservative variety. When conservatives abandon their principles and become hypocrites, they end up hurting themselves and their families. Conservative principles are like guard rails on a winding road. They are irritating but fundamentally good for you. Liberal hypocrisy is the opposite. When the liberal-left abandon their principles and become hypocrites, they actually improve their lives. Their kids end up in better schools, they have more money, and their families are more content. Their ideas are truly that bad.

LOPEZ: Is there something about the book that sums something up philosophically about the Left?

SCHWEIZER: After researching the book I really truly believe that the leading lights of the Left — Moore, Franken, Clinton, Pelosi, Kennedy, etc. — really honestly don't believe what they are selling us. Their own experiences teach them that their ideas don't work.

LOPEZ: So I can't stand Michael Moore anyway. I really don't need any more anger aimed in his direction. Ditto with some others who get chapters in your book. Why should I read your book anyway? How might a Michael Moore fan get something out of Do As I Say...?

SCHWEIZER: All I would ask a Michael Moore fan do is look at the facts. Moore professes to hate capitalism ("the last evil empire" he's called it) but practices it in spades. Moore condemns people for their racism and claims to support and practice affirmative action, but has a lousy record of hiring minorities. He outsources post-production film work to Canada so he can pay non-union wages. I could go on and on. I would ask his fans: is this really a sincere person?

LOPEZ: You always seem to have projects going on. What's next for you?

SCHWEIZER: Right now I'm working to promote the book. I have some ideas for future projects but nothing set in stone. I wrote a novel with Cap Weinberger that came out a couple of months ago called Chain of Command. Cap is a class act and I enjoyed writing fiction. Maybe another novel at some point. We'll see.

LOPEZ: What's the funniest story you learned while compiling the book?

SCHWEIZER: It has to be one about Michael Moore. In his books Michael Moore goes on and on about the fact that Americans are racist because they live in white neighborhoods. It's an example of latent segregationist attitudes in his mind. When I checked the demographics on Michael Moore's residence I burst out laughing. Michael Moore lives in a town of 2,500 in Michigan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is not a single black person in the entire town.

LOPEZ: Do you like any Streisand songs?

I've lately been partial to "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." It makes me think of the president's relationship with conservatives of late. (Don't judge me for my weirdness.)

SCHWEIZER: Yes, that song does seem fitting these days. Streisand has a pretty voice but I don't really listen to her. Not because of politics, but I like something with a strong beat.

LOPEZ: One more before we go: Can't you just be happy for Gloria Steinem, man?

SCHWEIZER: I am happy for Gloria Steinem. She finally found her man. My question is why couldn't she just be happy for other women who got married? A classic example of Do As I Say, Not As I Do.


   
   
 


    
http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/schweizer200510250827.asp
10841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 04, 2008, 09:59:36 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-orourke4-2008may04,0,6913702.story
From the Los Angeles Times
Fairness, idealism and other atrocities
Commencement advice you're unlikely to hear elsewhere.
By P.J. O'Rourke

May 4, 2008

Well, here you are at your college graduation. And I know what you're thinking: "Gimme the sheepskin and get me outta here!" But not so fast. First you have to listen to a commencement speech.

Don't moan. I'm not going to "pass the wisdom of one generation down to the next." I'm a member of the 1960s generation. We didn't have any wisdom.

We were the moron generation. We were the generation that believed we could stop the Vietnam War by growing our hair long and dressing like circus clowns. We believed drugs would change everything -- which they did, for John Belushi. We believed in free love. Yes, the love was free, but we paid a high price for the sex.

My generation spoiled everything for you. It has always been the special prerogative of young people to look and act weird and shock grown-ups. But my generation exhausted the Earth's resources of the weird. Weird clothes -- we wore them. Weird beards -- we grew them. Weird words and phrases -- we said them. So, when it came your turn to be original and look and act weird, all you had left was to tattoo your faces and pierce your tongues. Ouch. That must have hurt. I apologize.

So now, it's my job to give you advice. But I'm thinking: You're finishing 16 years of education, and you've heard all the conventional good advice you can stand. So, let me offer some relief:

1. Go out and make a bunch of money!

Here we are living in the world's most prosperous country, surrounded by all the comforts, conveniences and security that money can provide. Yet no American political, intellectual or cultural leader ever says to young people, "Go out and make a bunch of money." Instead, they tell you that money can't buy happiness. Maybe, but money can rent it.

There's nothing the matter with honest moneymaking. Wealth is not a pizza, where if I have too many slices you have to eat the Domino's box. In a free society, with the rule of law and property rights, no one loses when someone else gets rich.

2. Don't be an idealist!

Don't chain yourself to a redwood tree. Instead, be a corporate lawyer and make $500,000 a year. No matter how much you cheat the IRS, you'll still end up paying $100,000 in property, sales and excise taxes. That's $100,000 to schools, sewers, roads, firefighters and police. You'll be doing good for society. Does chaining yourself to a redwood tree do society $100,000 worth of good?

Idealists are also bullies. The idealist says, "I care more about the redwood trees than you do. I care so much I can't eat. I can't sleep. It broke up my marriage. And because I care more than you do, I'm a better person. And because I'm the better person, I have the right to boss you around."

Get a pair of bolt cutters and liberate that tree.

Who does more for the redwoods and society anyway -- the guy chained to a tree or the guy who founds the "Green Travel Redwood Tree-Hug Tour Company" and makes a million by turning redwoods into a tourist destination, a valuable resource that people will pay just to go look at?

So make your contribution by getting rich. Don't be an idealist.

3. Get politically uninvolved!

All politics stink. Even democracy stinks. Imagine if our clothes were selected by the majority of shoppers, which would be teenage girls. I'd be standing here with my bellybutton exposed. Imagine deciding the dinner menu by family secret ballot. I've got three kids and three dogs in my family. We'd be eating Froot Loops and rotten meat.

But let me make a distinction between politics and politicians. Some people are under the misapprehension that all politicians stink. Impeach George W. Bush, and everything will be fine. Nab Ted Kennedy on a DUI, and the nation's problems will be solved.

But the problem isn't politicians -- it's politics. Politics won't allow for the truth. And we can't blame the politicians for that. Imagine what even a little truth would sound like on today's campaign trail:

"No, I can't fix public education. The problem isn't the teachers unions or a lack of funding for salaries, vouchers or more computer equipment The problem is your kids!"

4. Forget about fairness!

We all get confused about the contradictory messages that life and politics send.

Life sends the message, "I'd better not be poor. I'd better get rich. I'd better make more money than other people." Meanwhile, politics sends us the message, "Some people make more money than others. Some are rich while others are poor. We'd better close that 'income disparity gap.' It's not fair!"

Well, I am here to advocate for unfairness. I've got a 10-year-old at home. She's always saying, "That's not fair." When she says this, I say, "Honey, you're cute. That's not fair. Your family is pretty well off. That's not fair. You were born in America. That's not fair. Darling, you had better pray to God that things don't start getting fair for you." What we need is more income, even if it means a bigger income disparity gap.

5. Be a religious extremist!

So, avoid politics if you can. But if you absolutely cannot resist, read the Bible for political advice -- even if you're a Buddhist, atheist or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those people who believes that God is involved in politics. On the contrary. Observe politics in this country. Observe politics around the world. Observe politics through history. Does it look like God's involved?

The Bible is very clear about one thing: Using politics to create fairness is a sin. Observe the Tenth Commandment. The first nine commandments concern theological principles and social law: Thou shalt not make graven images, steal, kill, et cetera. Fair enough. But then there's the tenth: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's."

Here are God's basic rules about how we should live, a brief list of sacred obligations and solemn moral precepts. And, right at the end of it we read, "Don't envy your buddy because he has an ox or a donkey." Why did that make the top 10? Why would God, with just 10 things to tell Moses, include jealousy about livestock?

Well, think about how important this commandment is to a community, to a nation, to a democracy. If you want a mule, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don't whine about what the people across the street have. Get rich and get your own.

Now, one last thing:

6. Don't listen to your elders!

After all, if the old person standing up here actually knew anything worth telling, he'd be charging you for it.

P.J. O'Rourke, a correspondent for the Weekly Standard and the Atlantic, is the author, most recently, of "On The Wealth of Nations." A longer version of this article appears in Change magazine, which reports on trends and issues in higher education.
10842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: May 04, 2008, 09:21:21 AM
al-Ijma and Quranic Warfare

That is why Brigadier S K Malik's Quranic Concept of War described jihad in terms of "grand strategy" and "total war" because it applies every element of force and suasion, every stratagem, every inducement and every coercion to submit the world to Islam. The "philosophy of war ... is an integral part of the total Quranic ideology" Malik stated. Note too, Malik was no Wahhabi or Salafist, he was a Pakistani general in 1979.

Importantly, Khadduri before is not merely waxing historical platitudes because he follows by saying:

"Jurists who came afterward, up unto the very decline of Muslim power, merely introduced refinements and elaborations of these basic principals.  No essential difference among the leading jurist is to be found on this fundamental duty [of jihad], whether in orthodox or heterodox doctrine."(p.58 and 16 )


Do these wordsmiths understand the implication of what Khadduri is describing?

It means the jurists agree.

It means ulemic consensus.

It means al-ijma and that means that this legal obligation of jihad is "unquestionable truth" it cannot be ignored, abrogated, or contravened and for a Muslim to willingly deny the truth of jihad or of the religion "thereby becomes an unbeliever (kafir) and is executed for his unbelief. (Umdat al-Salik p. 109)

It means this applies today, now, tomorrow.

Do not doubt the jihadists of al-Qaida, and the al Qaida “movement” and the Muslim Brotherhood “movement” and Hizb ut-Tahrir, Lakshar e-Taiba, Jamaat-e-Islami,
 and Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Salah Sultan and Abdurahman Alamoudi,  Sami al-Arian,  Esam Omeish and Niwad Awad and all the rest of the affiliated Ikhwan front groups in America and mujtahid of the “global Islamic movement” fully understand this. Do not doubt that any schooled Muslim does not understand these tenets of jihad as well whether they adhere to them or not.

The Homeland Security policy stated:
U.S. officials may be "unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims," says a Homeland Security report.

This cannot be documented as fact.

Can the drafter and the approval authority of that Homeland Security report cite where the terrorists "lack moral and religious legitimacy?" Can they cite their incontrovertible sourcing? If so I want to see it; I have searched for it.

The closest I can come would be the Spanish fatwa, whose import in the rest of the Islamic world was questioned, while most readers would not understand the legal nuance of "innocence" in Islamic law. The fiqh council of North America, itself tainted as a Muslim Brotherhood entity, also issued its own fatwa that was in fact challenged as non-specific and fraudulent,

Can the memo-writers point to any universal ulemic denunciations against al-Qaida or denouncement from the major Islamic centers or key muftis across the Middle East?

Shmuel Bar noted its absence in his "Jihadist Ideology in Light of Current Fatwas":

"[This] is a one-sided battle; the radicals are on the offensive, whereas counter-attacks of moderates are few and far between. Fatwas commanding terror can only be countered by a clear opposing consensus (ijma') of mainstream ‘ulama. Such a consensus does not exist. This is due, inter alia, to the deference that mainstream ‘ulama feel towards the radicals as the quintessential believers, and the sense that they are competing with the radicals over the same constituency. Such deference is strengthened in Islam by orthodox Islam's aversion to declarations of heresy (takfir) and the fear of igniting internal conflict (fitnah). It is in the home field of this presumed silent majority that the main battle is taking place, and as long as it does not enter the fray, the battle cannot be won."

It is the silence that is the consent and legitimacy.

No Jihad means No War of Ideas

From the NCTC guidelines:

"We suggest you avoid the term 'al-Qaida movement,' which implies a degree of political legitimacy (e.g., 'labor movement,' 'civil rights movement,' 'women's movement:'. . .). There is no legitimacy to al-Qaida's activities."

This is ahistorical.

First the roots of al-Qaida lie in the in the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the international "global Islamic movement." See the Holy Land Foundation documents at the NEFA Foundation and even Dr. Marc Sageman's first book, Understanding Terrorist Networks. The al-Qaida ideology and jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood constitute a movement, and it is moving right past the competency of the drafters of this claptrap.

Secondly, the recommendation begs the question by claiming "there is no legitimacy to al-Qaida's activities." Who says so? Produce the quantitative demographic analysis and ulemic rulings to substantiate that claim.

But maybe this is how we win the war of ideas; declare there is no ideological movement and it all goes away sort of like calling "gangs" a "crew".

So, considering last year's anniversary 9-11 Senate hearing on global threats, one can imagine this year's carrying on the same thinking:

Senator Lieberman- "What is your strategy for the war of ideas?"   FBI Director Mueller- "Sir, there is no war of ideas."

Lieberman- "No? What do you mean?"  Mueller- "I'm not sure how to express it; because we can't use the words therefore I have no ideas."

Again the NCTC:

"Do not use 'ummah' to mean 'the Muslim world.' It is not a sociological term, rather, it is a theological construct not used in everyday life."

Wrong.

"[We] should recall that Islam is not merely a set of religious ideas and practices but also a political community (the umma)," Dr. Majid Khadduri reminds us. "The umma, composed of all those who profess the Islamic faith, is the immediate point of reference for every believer."  It seems our "experts" disagree about the concept of umma in everyday Muslim life.

From the NCTC Memo:

"Don't Take the Bait: When Osama bin Ladin or others try to draw the USG into a debate, we should offer only minimal, if any, response to their messages. When we respond loudly, we raise their prestige in the Muslim world."

Osama bin Ladin is not debating us. If he is debating anyone it is his fellow Muslims over the mandate of jihad and the doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity.

And another:

"In Arabic, jihad means "striving in the path of God" and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions."

That is a non-sequitur; it presumes a cause and effect based on our word choices in the West.  Again, al-Qaida is legitimate or illegitimate based on what the Muslim ulema say about al-Qaida not us; but more importantly, in any language and in Islamic law jihad means "warfare to establish the faith."

And this:

"Avoid the term 'caliphate,' which has positive connotations for Muslims, to describe the goal of al-Qaida and associated groups. The best description of what they really want to create is a 'global totalitarian state.'"

You say "caliphate" I say a "global totalitarian state." Maybe the crafters of nuance don't realize how loaded their rejoinder is.

Finally this analysis from Jeffrey Imm  Writing in the Counter Terrorism Blog, he notes the 9-11 Commission Report on the topic of jihad:

"The 9/11 Commission Report uses the term "jihad" in referencing the enemy 79 times and specifically defines "jihad" as a "holy war" executed by Osama Bin Laden and his compatriots (Section 2.3, Paragraph #302 on page 55), as well as defining "mujahideen" as "holy warriors" (Paragraph #302, same page). The 9/11 Commission Report refers to such "mujahideen" 22 times.

The 9/11 Commission Report refers to the term "jihadist" 31 times, including the references to the "worldwide jihadist community" (Section 5.1, Paragraph #691 on page 148), to "Islamist Jihadists" (Section 5.3, Paragraph #741 on page 158), to "Islamist and jihadist movements" (Section 6.3, Paragraph #887 on page 191), and multiple references to an NSC memo on "Jihadist Networks".

Most importantly, the 9/11 Commission Report provides the definition of "Islamist terrorism" as being based on the ideology of "Islamism" (Notes, Part 12, Note 3: "Islamism", page 562)."

In light of the NCTC and State Department GWOT lexicon guidelines one must surmise that the 9-11 Commission Report should now be withdrawn from public consumption and all must stop referencing it.

I submit the people advocating this line of argument are either unstudied as to what they are saying, or if the sourcing for these lines of argument can be traced to their original roots, then I would wager those roots are in the strategic disinformation of the "global Islamic movement."

One must also question if those recommending and making these decisions have a doctrinal understanding of any of the original lexicon, much less intellectual preparation to change it to something else.  Has anyone considered that maybe our perceptions are being shaped by the jihadists as much as we think we are shaping foreign perceptions?

Caution reminds us that to the extent we outsource our knowledge base we outsource our decisions. To the extent we do this with our knowledge of Islam and Islamic jihad we do so at risk.

This lexicon change represents systemic organizational failure: a professional failure and the failure to know is a failure of leadership.

As Dr. Bernard Lewis asked last week, "where does ignorance end and falsehood begin."

Joseph C. Myers writes and speaks on terrorism and homeland security issues and is completing his PhD in public policy.  He recently presented a paper for the Association of scholars for the Study of Middle East and Africa.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/05/strategic_collapse_in_the_war.html at May 04, 2008 - 10:11:27 AM EDT
10843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: May 04, 2008, 09:19:54 AM
May 04, 2008
Strategic Collapse in the War on Terror

By Joseph Myers
Words matter, and in the global war on terror we are losing the battle of words, in a self-inflicted defeat. The consequences could not be more profound.

Recent government policy memoranda, circulating through the national counter-terrorism and diplomatic community, establishes a new "speech code" for the lexicon in the war on terror, as reported by the Associated Press and now available in the public domain .

These new "speech codes" recommended that analysts and policy makers avoid the terms jihad or jihadist or mujhadid or "al-Qaida movement" and replace them with "extremists" and by extension other non-specific terms.

The use of these "new words" and rejection of the "old words" is ostensibly designed to avoid legitimating al-Qaida and its followers while mollifying the sensitivities of the larger Muslim community.

This culmination of previous trends does not surprise me at all.

This is more than simply dancing on the pinhead of cultural sensitivity-words have meaning, ideas have consequences.

This policy is a strategic collapse.

It does nothing to improve our strategic comprehension of the threat or improve our foreign strategic communications; in fact it reinforces existing conceptual problems and risks confusing our messaging with our own actual knowledge of the jihadist threat.

It is a failure of commission, a collapse of competency and reason. It is a collapse of precision and possibly the most profound setback in the war on terror since 9-11, when the global jihad brought itself to our attention.  

Clausewitz noted that in war the moral factors are perhaps the most important, and we have just demonstrated we neither have the moral clarity or moral fortitude to comprehend the nature of the war we are in.  Dr. Antulio Echevarria of the Army's Strategic Studies Institute stated once that the "US military does not have a doctrine for war as much as it has a doctrine for operations and battles" and we have just demonstrated we don't have the comprehension of this war as much as we can comprehend its operations and battles.

The AP report highlights a level of ignorance and hubris by the functionaries speaking to this topic so grave that is raises my concern about the actual extent that our government is in fact co-opted by our enemies.

War is a complex endeavor, there are no silver-bullet weapons, theories, words or phrases that will disarm our enemies or shape the cultural attitudes of the jihadists or other fellow Muslims.  Only how the Islamic world doctrinally perceives and receives the claims of legitimacy of al-Qaida and the rest of the global Islamic movement will determine that outcome -- not any mincing of words by the West.

But it is important that we use the right words so that the West and the American people can understand the nature of our global challenge in this war as much as anyone else.

No Global Threat Model

Over the last several years, there have been numerous examples of incredible malfeasance and lack of due diligence in homeland security, prediction and investigations evidenced by the reporting of, for example, Patrick Poole in his Hometown Jihad series.  

Also the schizophrenic activities of our government in dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood in America that has declared itself engaged in "civilizational jihadist process"  to destroy our way of life and replace it with an Islamic model, and repeated examples of one arm of the government attempting to prosecute elements of the Brotherhood while the other half  vets their actions and cultural sensitivity programs against the same organizations. Or recall the DHS booth placed next to the Islamic revolutionary organization of Hizb ut-Tahrir at another Islamic conference.

National security strategy is policy and policy implies a theory -- a theory for action.  To date we have no concrete theory of action because we have no fully articulated global threat model. We are seven years into a global war with armed combat and many dead and wounded, and yet still lack a common analytic paradigm to describe and model the enemy.  It is a stunning failure to propel the country to war without a fully elaborated threat model that clarifies and specifies the enemy and makes clear our true objectives.

The lack of a threat model and a theory for action explains our schizophrenia, our failures and homeland security shortcomings.

Understanding the enemy -- "the threat," his threat doctrine and the authoritative statements, sources and philosophy undergirding that doctrine is a primary duty. That is the first step in developing a threat model. It is the vital step in the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield
process, to template enemy doctrine by laying it over the terrain: the physical, human and cultural terrain to understand its manifestations in reality. These are the first relevant questions to be answered for US national security analysis.

Our enemy says he is fighting jihad warfare to extend the Islamic faith; the basis of that claim rests on his exegesis of Quranic and Islamic Law injunctions.  Irrespective of whether we or other Muslims accept or deny the legitimacy of his claim, if that is his stated doctrine, then that is the doctrine we must study and comprehend. That is the doctrine that will provide the indicators and warnings of future threats, that is the basis of our threat model.

That fact that other Muslims do not engage in violent jihad bears no relevance to our problem set or the analysis of those who do; it is a distraction and ancillary information that does not contribute to the threat model or understanding the enemy.

The fact is we have already so nuanced this war that we have failed to complete those required analyses. Our national security strategies and plans are so nuanced now as to be useless in terms of understanding the threat, defining it, clarifying it, modeling it.  Read them, see if you can distill the enemy and orient on a clear objective. Even in our own strategic planning documents we admit to ourselves that we don't agree on the threat.

This completely contrasts with our well-developed threat model in the Cold War, beginning with NSC-68 and the containment policy, national security courses that taught Soviet ideology and world-view, the Soviet threat doctrine series published by DIA, and then wargaming against it at our military schools.. We understood them intellectually, philosophically, doctrinally from the very top down to the tactical bottom.

Seven years into this war we cannot say the same for the global jihad and have failed the same analytic and policy rigor. That is a serious error of omission.

Submission to Multiculturalism

Dr. Bernard Lewis, speaking recently at a luncheon and conference in Washington DC, noted that the two greatest shortcomings to understanding the Middle East are the "orthodoxy" of "political correctness and multiculturalism" and the reality that in the face of those driving ideologies, too many sworn to defend have proven themselves wilting lilies.

This new "no jihad policy" is the greatest of example.

Let's dissect the government message to show not only its folly, but factual errors that point to a lack of strategic comprehension and due diligence amounting to the level of an ethical failing.

An MSNBC article discussing this policy said this on the meaning of Jihad:

"For example, while Americans may understand "jihad" to mean "holy war," it is in fact a broader Islamic concept of the struggle to do good, says the guidance prepared for diplomats and other officials tasked with explaining the war on terror to the public."

That is wrong; it is in error. It is incompetently derived information.

Recall Patton famous exclamation:  "Rommel I read your damn book".

This is the book our counter-terrorism communicators need to read. This is what sacred Islamic Law says on jihad:


"o9.0 - Jihad. Jihad means to wage war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. [italic emphasis in original]"... The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus (def: b7) is such Koranic verses as: (1) "Fighting is prescribed for you" (Koran 2:216); (2) "Slay them wherever you find them" (Koran 4:89); (3) "Fight the idolators utterly" (Koran 9:36); ... I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no  god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for rights of Islam over them. (Umdat al-Salik p.599)"

Irrespective of the polemics, this is the only definition of jihad in Islamic law, this is the only controlling and binding definition of jihad for any Muslim.

So are we now to deduce from the media reporting that the US government, expects for example, those in military service to accept that waging "war against non-Muslims ...to establish the religion" is a "struggle to do good."  Does our government consider jihad a "good" thing.  Am I to accept that jihad is good for America?

Is this how far we have come with multiculturalism?

The Islamic Law of Nations

Al-Shaybani's Siyar, known as The Islamic Law of Nations, was drafted in the 9th century.  It is described by Rudolf Peters as the first major Muslim work "devoted exclusively to Islamic law dealing with relations with non-Muslims." It is a body of law that Dr. Majid Khadduri noted,

"Muslims declared to be binding upon themselves, regardless of whether non-Muslims accept it."

Khadduri adds for context:

"The Islamic Law of Nations, however, is not a system separate from Islamic law. It is merely an extension of the sacred law."

And with respect to jihad, after discussing that the world is divided into two camps the dar-al Islam [house of submission] and the dar al-harb [the house of war] Khadduri elaborates the Siyar:

"The territory of war was the object, not the subject of the Islamic legal system and it was the duty of Muslim rulers to bring it under Islamic sovereignty whenever the strength was theirs to do so."  The state of war existing between the dar al Islam and the dar al harb, however, does not necessarily means that actual hostilities must occur. The instrument which would transform the dar al-harb into the dar al Islam was the jihad. The jihad was not merely a duty to be fulfilled by each individual; it was also above all a political obligation imposed collectively on the subject of the states so as to achieve Islam's ultimate aim-the universalization of the faith and the establishment of God's sovereignty over the world. Thus the jihad was an individual duty, especially in the defense of Islam, as well as the collective duty on the community as a whole, and failure to fulfill it would constitute a gross error.


 The jihad, in the broad sense of the term, did not necessarily call for violence or fighting, even though a state of war existed between Islamic and non-Islamic territories since Islam might achieve its ultimate goal by peaceful as well as by violent means. This participation might be fulfilled by the heart, the tongue or the hands, as well as by the sword. The jihad was accordingly a form of religious propaganda carried out by spiritual as well as by material means. (pp. 12-16)


Peace does not supersede the state of war, for the jihad is a legal duty prescribed by the law; peace means the grant of security or protection to the non-Muslims for certain specified purposes...Muslim authorities concluded peace treaties with the enemy only when it was to the advantage of Islam." (p. 54)

Additionally,

"It was Shafi'i  [founder of the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence]  who first formulated the doctrine that the jihad had for its intent the waging of war on unbelievers for their disbelief and not merely when they entered into conflict with Islam's. The jihad was thereby transformed into a collective duty enjoined on Muslim to fight the unbelievers "wherever you may find them."(p. 58)

So does the United States government also now considers [fighting] the unbelievers "wherever you may find them"(Quran 9.5) to be more "broadly" a "struggle to do good"?

"In Islamic legal theory, the jihad was a permanent obligation upon the believers to carried out by continuous process of warfare, psychological and political, if not strictly military. (p.16)

It is interesting to consider the "continuous process" of "psychological warfare": what better way to prosecute a war against your adversary than convincing those with whom you are at war with that you are not at war with them; to convince them not to use the language and the logic of the war.

No America they are not "jihadist" you face but "extremists".... miscreants, "evil-doers," murderers, "cultists," just really bad people.

Do the speech code writers understand the concept of "masking terrain" in war?

Finally Khadduri makes two additional points:

"If a Muslim entered the dar al-harb... he was under obligation to respect [and] observe its laws...but if conflicts arose between his own law and that of the territory, no doubt existed where his choice would lie."(p.14)
"The jihad is the Islamic bellum justum and [is] the very basis of Islam's relations with other nations." (p. xi)

If you appreciate the above concepts then you understand their strategic ramifications and our challenge with respect to the "extremists."

10844  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense Law on: April 29, 2008, 10:43:26 PM
Medicmatt,

You were a cop in Delaware for 4 years? Exactly what "trigger-happy" shooting did you see firsthand? I work in a different part of the US as a cop, and i'm not aware of the wild west atmosphere in Delaware.
10845  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense Law on: April 27, 2008, 05:41:50 PM
Mas Ayoob did a lot to improve the legal aspects of firearms training for both civilians and law enforcement. He moved the dialog away from "Shoot the bad guy, then put a steak knife in his hand" to a realistic understanding of the legal/ethical/moral dynamic of deadly force for many gun owners in this country. He is a prolific writer and nationally recognized police trainer. His books are a must read for those interested in self defense.
10846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance on: April 27, 2008, 05:07:52 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/09/national/printable3153497.shtml

Feds: 49% Of Murder Victims Are Black Men
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2007
(AP) Nearly half of the nation's murder victims in 2005 were black, and the number of black men who were slain is on the rise.

A majority of the black murder victims were relatively young — between 17 and 29, the Justice Department said in a study released Thursday.

The department's Bureau of Justice Statistics report offers a snapshot of racial disparities among violent crime victims. Black people represented an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, the latest data available, but were the victims of 49 percent of all murders and 15 percent of rapes, assaults and other nonfatal violent crimes nationwide.

Most of the black murder victims — 93 percent — were killed by other black people, the study found. About 85 percent of white victims were slain by other white people.

National Urban League President Marc Morial, a former mayor of New Orleans, said the data reflect a trend that cannot be reversed by law enforcement alone. It will require changes in public education and a revival of federal summer jobs programs for economically disadvantaged young people, he said.

"The mixture of illegal drugs, easy access to handguns and young men who feel locked out of economic opportunity is what these statistics reflect," Morial said.

An estimated 16,400 people were murdered in the United States in 2005, down from a peak of 21,400 a decade ago. Similarly, the number of black people slain dropped over the last 10 years, from 10,400 in 1995 to almost 8,000 in 2005.

But the murder rate among black men rose slightly between 2004 and 2005, continuing several years of dips and increases.

Two years ago, 6,783 black men were murdered, up from 6,342 in 2004, the study shows. The murder rate among white men also rose, but less dramatically: 5,850 were slain in 2005, compared with 5,769 the year before.

Murders of women, white and black, remained relatively unchanged between the two years.

Additionally, more than half of black murder victims — 51 percent — were in their late teens and twenties. Comparatively, just over a third — 37 percent — of white people murdered were between 17 and 29, the study shows.

The study did not take a detailed look at violent crime victims who are Hispanic or Latino, or other races. However, it concluded that violent crime victims were more often black than any other race except American Indians.

Among the study's other findings:

Never-married black people were more likely than all other blacks to be victims of violence.

Poorer black people were at a greater risk of violence than households with higher annual incomes.

Black people living in cities were more likely to be violent crime victims than people living in suburban or rural areas.
10847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance on: April 27, 2008, 04:57:23 PM
http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_2_sndgs01.html

Time for the Truth About Black Crime Rates
Heather Mac Donald

The lessons of the Sean Bell case

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has the chance to transform not just New York, but all American cities, by breaking the taboo on talking about the connection between race and crime. Doing so would take courage that no politician has yet mustered. But after the manslaughter and assault indictments of three New York police officers for fatally shooting Sean Bell last November, Bloomberg has an opening: acknowledge that police officers may react too precipitously to perceived threats in charged urban settings, in exchange for a wide-open discussion about the sky-high black crime rates that encourage that reaction. Crime, not police racism, drives negative police-community relations in black neighborhoods. And until the crime rate comes down, tragedies like the Sean Bell shooting may reoccur.

After the Bell shooting, which occurred outside a Queens strip joint, critics of the NYPD followed the usual script: increasingly ugly charges of police bigotry (despite the fact that several of the officers involved were black); deployment of the threat-of-black-riots weapon; calls for convictions of the officers on the most severe murder charges; and the transformation of the highly aberrant Bell shooting into the very symbol of the NYPD. To his discredit, Mayor Bloomberg joined the rush to prejudge the officers. The day after the shooting, he declared: “It sounds to me like excessive force was used.” Even more irresponsibly, he deemed the incident “inexplicable,” thus fueling the belief that the officers could not possibly have perceived a deadly threat and all but guaranteeing that any acquittal of them would be viewed as proof that the criminal-justice system was antiblack.

Carefully omitted from the swirl of media coverage and the denunciations of the NYPD was any discussion of black crime rates. The New York Times did its usual best to shroud the issue. A March article, for instance, devoted itself to charges that the police were preying on the black community. After noting that more than half the people whom cops stop and frisk are black, Times reporter Diane Cardwell added: “City officials maintained that those stopped and searched roughly parallel the race of people mentioned in reports from crime victims.” No, actually, there is no “rough parallel” between the proportion of stops and the proportion of alleged assailants: blacks aren’t stopped enough, considering the rate at which they commit crimes. Though blacks, 24 percent of New York City’s population, committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in the city last year, according to victims and witnesses, they were only 55 percent of all stop-and-frisks. Of course, the Times didn’t give the actual crime figures. Even a spate of vicious assaults on police officers in the week before the indictments didn’t change the predominant story line that officers were trigger-happy racists.

But the context of the Bell shooting suggests a different picture. The undercover officers and detectives involved had been deployed to Club Kahlua in Jamaica, Queens, because of the club’s history of lawlessness. Club patrons and neighbors had made dozens of calls to the NYPD, reporting guns, drug sales, and prostitution, and the police had recently made eight arrests there.

The night of November 24, undercover officer Gescard Isnora, who fired the first shots at Bell, had observed a man put a stripper’s hand on his belt to reassure her that he had a gun and would protect her from an aggressive customer. Outside the club, Isnora (who is African-American) and his colleagues witnessed a heated exchange between Bell’s entourage and an apparent pimp over the services of a prostitute, during which the pimp kept his hand inside his jacket, as if holding a gun. After the hooker refused to have sex with more than two of the group’s eight members, Bell—presumably referring to the pimp—said, “Let’s fuck him up,” and Bell’s companion, Joseph Guzman, said, “Yo, get my gun, get my gun.” Isnora reported these exchanges over his cell phone to his colleagues in the area.

Feeling the danger level mounting, Isnora retrieved his gun from his unmarked car. When he returned to the scene, Bell and his two companions had gotten into their car, ready to drive away. Isnora thought that a drive-by shooting of the pimp could be imminent, and so moved to question the car’s occupants. He held out his badge (by his account), identified himself as a police officer, and told the car to stop. Instead, Bell drove forward and hit Isnora and a police minivan, backed up, and then slammed into the minivan again, nearly hitting Isnora a second time.

Isnora, who was standing on the passenger side of Bell’s car, claims that he saw Guzman reach for his waistband. Believing that he faced a deadly threat, Isnora opened fire. The four other undercovers and detectives at the scene also started shooting, killing Bell and wounding Guzman and Bell’s other companion in the car, Trent Benefield. No gun turned up in Bell’s car. (Benefield alleges that Isnora began shooting before the car started moving, which is absurd. The barrage of 50 bullets was so fast that no witness at the scene remembers hearing more than eight rounds fired off. Bell was undoubtedly killed as soon as the shooting started, and so wouldn’t have been able to move the car forward and back and forward again, as he did. None of the officers had ever used their guns before, moreover, despite making hundreds of arrests, including for gun possession. These were not trigger-happy cops.)

Without question, the results of this episode are horrific. And the tactics stank—Isnora should never have left himself as exposed as he was. But was the officers’ perception of a deadly threat so unreasonable as to make their shooting a criminal homicide? If a judge or jury finds that they did not reasonably believe that they faced an imminent use of deadly force, then, according to the woefully inappropriate criminal code, their actions fall within the literal definition of manslaughter. (Showing what appears to be arbitrariness, the grand jury indicted two of the officers for manslaughter and assault—even though one of them, Isnora, did not even hit Bell—and a third for reckless endangerment, but didn’t indict the remaining two officers, even though all had fired their guns.)

Isnora and his colleagues knew the following, when they saw a car racing toward them whose occupants they believed could have guns: shootings at after-hours joints like Club Kahlua are by no means uncommon. Just the previous month, a patron had been fatally gunned down outside another Queens club, the third lethal shooting there in three years. This March, a club customer in Brooklyn tried to blast an off-duty cop’s head off after the two had unintentionally bumped into each other on a crowded dance floor.

Isnora and his colleagues did not know the following, but it’s a further indication of the reality of crime in New York: Bell, Benefield, and Guzman had all been arrested for gun possession in the past, according to the New York Times. Further, Guzman had a long prison record, including a sentence for an armed robbery during which he shot at his victim. And Bell and his entourage were dealing drugs, an activity highly correlated with violence.

These specific facts about the Bell shooting are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of data points that reveal a hard truth: any given violent crime in New York is 13 times more likely to have a black than a white perpetrator. While most black residents are law-abiding and desperately deserve police protection, the incidence of criminal activity among young black males is off the charts. “A black kid between the ages of 18 and 24 is the scariest thing to cops,” says a police attorney, “because they know how crazy it can get.” And this is true whatever the officer’s race.

The “public doesn’t get how frightened cops are,” says a former NYPD commanding officer. “Cops are reluctant to articulate everything that goes into a shooting incident,” says another former officer, retired assistant chief Jim McShane. “They’re afraid to say: ‘Are you kidding me? I was terrified. The guy was drinking; I told him to stop; I was afraid that someone was going to get shot.’ ” When an officer thinks that he is under deadly threat, he knows that any hesitation could cost him his life. NYPD officer Steven McDonald was staring down the barrel of a small gun in Central Park in the summer of 1986, held by a 15-year-old whom he had stopped to question about a stolen bicycle. Rather than immediately responding with deadly force, he paused—and was shot twice in the head and once in the arm, paralyzing him from the neck down.

Because of these realities, it’s possible that officers are quicker to perceive—and react to—a deadly threat when dealing with young black men than they would be with other demographic groups. (Even so, fatal shootings by the NYPD are extremely rare; fatal shootings of unarmed civilians, even rarer.) And it’s undeniably true that the much greater incidence of crime in black neighborhoods means that the police activity there will be higher, leading to a greater risk of the use of force.

The NYPD’s goal at this point—understandably and rightly—is to do everything it can to prevent the death of another Sean Bell. The department’s recently announced tactical review is more than justified. But the police can only go so far in ensuring that tragic errors, when they inevitably happen, do not happen to black males. Mayor Bloomberg has already pandered enough to antipolice activists. He should now cash in his political chips and speak the truth: the black crime rate is the most important determinant of how the police interact with the black community. Unless black leaders—real or media-created—muster the will to address the crime epidemic among black youth (most of it inflicted on other blacks), the ongoing carnage will almost inevitably include an infinitesimal number of accidental police shootings of unarmed men. Criminal activity among young African-Americans is the poison of cities and of race relations; if Bloomberg can force a conversation about it, he could help reclaim urban America.
10848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance on: April 27, 2008, 04:56:02 PM
Black people are murdered everyday in this country by......black people. Where is the outrage? Where are the protests?
10849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance on: April 27, 2008, 02:02:09 PM
http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/04262008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/justice_served_108171.htm

JUSTICE SERVED
By HEATHER MAC DONALD




April 26, 2008 -- JUSTICE has been served in the Sean Bell case.
However horrific Bell's slaying by police gunfire, Judge Arthur Cooperman yesterday resisted pressure to make the verdict an alleged test of civil rights - a test which, according to the city's race agitators, had only one proper and predetermined outcome - and instead decided the case on the facts before him.

The New York Police Department has already begun scouring its training to try to drive down even further the chance that such a blood-curdling tragedy is repeated. Now it falls on Mayor Bloomberg to explain to the city how rare such tragedies are and to lay out the case that the NYPD is the greatest protector of civil rights in New York - given that the No. 1 civil right is freedom from fear and violence.

THE prosecution's case began falling apart almost from the start. As Judge Cooperman noted, its witnesses contradicted their own prior statements and made claims on the stand that ballistics evidence clearly disproved.

In addition, many of the prosecutions' witnesses corroborated the officers' narrative of that night's events:

* They confirmed that there'd been a tense exchange outside the Club Kalua (a crime-ridden strip joint in Queens) between an apparently armed man and Sean Bell and his companions (who had been celebrating Bell's wedding the next day with a bachelor party at the club).

* Several acknowledged that Bell and his friends had referred to getting a gun.

* Some prosecution witnesses also verified what forensics evidence unambiguously demonstrated: that Sean Bell's car had sped twice into Detective Gerald Isnora and an unmarked police van as Detective Isnora was trying to signal the car to stop.

Isnora had witnessed the threats about guns outside the club and believed that the Bell party was about to pursue the man they had just argued with for a drive-by shooting. When he and his colleagues opened fire on the Bell car, after it had twice hit them, they believed that Bell's passenger Joseph Guzman was reaching for a weapon and was going to shoot them.

TO support its case for a manslaughter verdict, the prosecution needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers did not reasonably believe that they were facing the imminent use of deadly force, that they did not reasonably believe that their own use of deadly fire was necessary to defend themselves.

In other words, the prosecution needed to come up with an alternative explanation for why the officers shot at the car. To that end, Assistant District Attorney Charles Testagrossa preposterously suggested that Isnora opened fire out of "rage" that the car had disobeyed his police commands to stop (a theory that contradicted another prosecution argument - namely, that Isnora had failed to identify himself as an officer) and that detective Michael Oliver hoped to win a combat valor medal.

Nothing in the record supported such allegations.

As Isnora testified to the grand jury: "In my time as an undercover, . . . I had never fired my weapon before. I never had any intention in my career . . . of even thinking of doing that. [But] I felt I had no choice [that night]."

Judge Cooperman rightly concluded that the prosecution failed to prove that the officers did not reasonably believe they were facing a deadly threat.

MOST importantly, the judge has maintained a meaningful barrier between good-faith police action that proves in retrospect to be even horribly and tragically mistaken, and criminal conduct. To convict these defendants would have required an intolerable degree of second-guessing of police decisions taken under circumstances that few civilians have ever had to face.

Tragically, innocent civilian as well as police lives hang in the balance of an officer's split-second decision to use deadly force - but the urgency that Isnora felt that night is hardly fanciful.

Seven months after the Sean Bell shooting, New York Officer Russel Timoshenko was fatally gunned down by the occupant of a car that he had just pulled over in Brooklyn - the 17th NYPD officer to be killed by criminals since 1999. Had Isnora waited a moment longer and had Guzman in fact been reaching for a weapon, he could have met with Timoshenko's fate.

Yes, the Sean Bell shooting was a sickening tactical disaster - but that doesn't make it a crime.

Police mistakes that night included flawed supervision -a proper game plan was apparently lacking. And the tactics undertaken - especially letting Isnora come out of undercover status to make a stop - were needlessly risky.

The NYPD's urgent review of its supervisory and tactical training is well-justified and will be aided by the rigorous firearms-discharge-review-board analysis of the shooting.

The officers themselves have escaped criminal liability, but they could face departmental discipline. Their supervisors should be even more closely scrutinized.

But while the departmental investigation runs its course, Mayor Bloomberg must set the record straight about the NYPD's role in the city.

ANTI-COP agitators and politicians are fond of claiming that the police are a threat to black lives. In fact, no single private or public agency has saved more minority lives than the NYPD.

Had murders stayed at their early 1990s levels, before the NYPD got smart about policing, 13,000-plus more New Yorkers - the overwhelming majority of them black and Hispanic - would be dead today.

In fact, even as the NYPD brought down homicide a remarkable 70 percent, it was driving down its own use of force. In 1973, there were 1.82 fatal police shootings per 1,000 New York officers; in 2006, there were .36 such shootings per 1,000 officers. And the vast majority of those police shootings are against criminals who are threatening the officer with force.

The department is one of the more restrained big-city police outfits in the country. Its fatal shooting rate is a tenth those of the Phoenix and Philadelphia departments, for example. While every mistaken shooting of an unarmed innocent civilian is an unmitigated disaster, the number of such NYPD shootings over the last two decades can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

ABOVE all else, remember this: The risk posed to New Yorkers by the police is negligible compared to the risk posed by criminals - and NYPD New York officers work their hearts out every day to try to protect law-abiding residents from crime.

If Al Sharpton and Charles Barron really cared as much about law-abiding minorities as they say they do, they would join the police in that mission -they'd stigmatize criminals, not the cops. They'd protest outside the jail cells of rapists and robbers who terrorize the elderly and frail; they'd call on crime witnesses to cooperate with investigators.

The sad fact is, had Sean Bell been killed by a fellow club-goer, Al Sharpton and Charles Barron wouldn't have taken the slightest interest in him. The world knows about him only because he was killed by police officers.

Need proof? A week after Bell's death, another groom-to-be was fatally gunned down by some robbers in Brooklyn who had just pistol-whipped three other victims.

His name was Earl Williams - and no one ever protested his death. But New York's police force worked to find his killer - and continue today to risk their own lives to safeguard ours.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal and author of "Are Cops Racist?"
10850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance on: April 27, 2008, 11:50:37 AM
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The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance
April 27, 2008 - by Jack Dunphy

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To anyone who knew the facts of the case and understood the law, Friday’s acquittal of the three New York Police Department detectives charged in the November 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell was entirely predictable.

Just as predictable has been the reaction from Al Sharpton, who owes his notoriety - and, one presumes, his income - to the culture of grievance from which he sprang and which he so tirelessly strives to perpetuate. On Saturday, Sharpton presided over a rally at his Harlem headquarters and exhorted his followers to “close down” the city of New York. “This city,” he said, “is going to deal with the blood of Sean Bell.”

And so it may, but perhaps not in the way Mr. Sharpton would wish.

Regardless of a given criminal trial’s underlying social and political issues - and seldom has there been a trial more heavily freighted with such issues than this one - the burden of proof remains unchanged: the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that the defendant is guilty of the crimes alleged against him. All extraneous questions on crime, the police, race, and their respective places in the great social equation have no rightful place in a criminal courtroom.

But these questions do at times creep silently into the courtroom, more particularly into the jury room of a high-profile trial, where some might wish to see cosmic justice produced therefrom. Some jurors have been known to oblige that wish, engaging in jury nullification in the case of some clearly guilty defendants or, even more disturbing, convicting some clearly innocent ones. The three police detectives on trial in the Sean Bell shooting, Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper, and Michael Oliver, knew this very well when they asked that their case be heard by a judge rather than a jury, placing their fate in the hands of Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman.

Reasonable doubt was to be found everywhere in the case, beginning with the Queens grand jury’s initial indictment handed down in March 2007. Much has been made of the fifty shots fired by the police during the confrontation, twenty of which struck the car Bell was driving, killing him and wounding his two passengers. But of the five officers who fired, only three were indicted and put on trial, suggesting that even the grand jury believed that in the confusion of the encounter on that early morning there was at least some level of justification for the other two to fire their weapons. And if those two had reason to fire, however tragically mistaken it turned out to be, how is it that the defendants’ conduct rose to the level that made it criminal? It didn’t, as Justice Cooperman ruled on Friday.

The prosecution’s efforts were undone by several factors, which Justice Cooperman specified in his verdict. “The court has found,” he said, “that the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt was affected by a combination of the following factors: the prosecution witnesses’ prior inconsistent statements, inconsistencies in testimony among prosecution witnesses, the renunciation of prior statements, criminal convictions, the interest of some witnesses in the outcome of the case, the demeanor on the witness stand of other witnesses and the motive witnesses may have had to lie and the effect it had on the truthfulness of a witness’s testimony. These factors played a significant part in the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and had the effect of eviscerating the credibility of those prosecution witnesses. And, at times, the testimony just didn’t make sense.”

The defendants, Justice Cooperman concluded, reasonably, albeit mistakenly, believed that an armed confrontation was about to take place between Sean Bell and his companions and another group of men that had just left a strip club. “The court has found that the incident lasted just seconds,” Cooperman said. “The officers responded to perceived criminal conduct; the unfortunate consequences of their conduct were tragic.”

Here in Los Angeles there is a term used around the courthouse to describe incidents like the Sean Bell shooting: “awful but lawful.”

Fortunately for some Los Angeles Police Department officers, L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is unburdened by ambition for higher office, has shown a willingness to stand up to the kind of pressure Al Sharpton and others exerted on prosecutors in Queens after the Sean Bell shooting. When, for example, “community activists” demanded that an LAPD officer be prosecuted in the 2005 shooting death of 13-year-old Devin Brown at the end of an early morning car chase, Cooley’s office declined to do so, thoroughly explaining the decision in a lengthy [1] document posted on the agency’s website.

Surely the prosecutors in the Sean Bell case knew the weaknesses of their case, weaknesses that they might easily have detailed for the public had they chosen not to take the case to a grand jury. But the peculiar politics of New York demanded otherwise, and three police detectives were forced to endure a trial that the prosecutors knew - or should have known - they could not win.

And now Mr. Sharpton and his acolytes are threatening to shut down New York City, hoping to portray the NYPD as the biggest threat facing the residents in Queens, Brooklyn, Harlem, and the other less fashionable neighborhoods that lie north of 96th Street or beyond the East River. In those neighborhoods, Mr. Sharpton would have you believe, the only guns and drugs to be found are those that have been planted on innocent people by corrupt, racist police officers.

Sharpton’s antics, blithely acquiesced to by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and the entire New York City political structure, will only inhibit police efforts to improve the quality of life in those neighborhoods most affected by crime. When the next murder victim falls in Queens, Brooklyn, or Harlem, will Al Sharpton be too busy to notice?

Twenty people have been murdered so far this year in the [2] NYPD’s Queens South Patrol Bureau, where the Sean Bell shooting occurred, up from twelve at the same time in 2007. When Mr. Sharpton has finished shutting down the city this week, perhaps he might summon up a similar level of outrage at the fate of even one of those twenty people.

“Jack Dunphy” is the pseudonym of an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-sean-bell-verdict-and-al-sharptons-culture-of-grievance/

URLs in this post:
[1] document: http://da.co.la.ca.us/pdf/garciaois.pdf?zoom_highlight=devin+brown
[2] NYPD’s: http://home2.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/home.shtml
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