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Author Topic: The 2008 Presidential Race  (Read 147748 times)
JDN
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« Reply #700 on: October 15, 2008, 11:25:06 PM »

What's the expression; three strikes and you're out?
It looks like McCain lost again albeit at least this time he went down fighting.

And you got to love it, when asked about Palin, even McCain could not say that his
own running mate is qualified to be president.  Now that's reassuring... And yet McCain did
say Biden is qualified.  He's finally figured out what most of America already knows.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #701 on: October 16, 2008, 12:12:10 AM »

Well, running on Hillary's solution to the Wall Street meltdown of buying up the bad mortgages certainly wasn't a great way to start out the evening , , ,  tongue

============

Obama Hasn't Closed the Sale
Both candidates continue to tinker with their strategies.By KARL ROVEArticle
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In the campaign's final two weeks, voters will take a last serious look at both presidential candidates. The outcome of the race isn't cast in stone yet.

Barack Obama holds a 7.3% lead in the Real Clear Politics average of all polls, but the latest Gallup tracking poll reveals that there are nearly twice as many undecided voters this year than there were in the last presidential election. The Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll (which was closest to the mark in predicting the 2004 outcome -- 0.4% off the actual result) now says this is a three-point race.

 
APThis week also brought a reminder that Sen. Obama hasn't closed the sale. The Washington Post/ABC poll found 45% of voters still don't think he's qualified to be president, about the same number who doubted his qualifications in March.

This is seven points more than George W. Bush's highest reading in 2000 and the worst since Michael Dukakis's 56% unqualified rating in 1988. It explains why Mr. Obama has ignored Democratic giddiness and done two things to keep victory from slipping away.

First, he is using his money to try to keep John McCain from gaining traction. The Obama campaign raised $67 million in September and may be on track to raise $100 million in October. Sen. McCain opted last month for roughly $85 million in public financing, giving him less than half of Mr. Obama's funds for the campaign's final two months. Even with robust Republican National Committee fund raising to augment his spending, Mr. McCain is at a severe financial disadvantage.

So Mr. Obama is spending $35 million on TV this week versus the McCain/RNC total of $17 million. Mr. Obama is outspending Mr. McCain on TV in Virginia by a ratio of 4 to 1, in Florida by 3 to 1, and in Missouri and Nevada by better than 2 to 1. The disparity is likely to grow in the campaign's final weeks.

Money alone, however, won't decide the contest. John Kerry and the Democrats outspent Mr. Bush and the GOP in 2004 by $121 million and still lost.

Mr. Obama's other strategy is to do all he can to look presidential, including buying very expensive half-hour slots to address the country next week. He wants to give a serious, Oval-Office type address. This is smart. People appreciate Mr. Obama's empathy on the economy, but as they take a long look at what he wants to do about it, they will be less impressed, especially if Mr. McCain draws sharp contrasts with clear policy proposals.

Mr. Obama is trying to make the case that his lack of experience or record should not disqualify him. But in doing so, he seems to recognize that the U.S. is still a center-right country. His TV ads promise tax cuts and his radio ads savage Mr. McCain's health-care plan as a tax increase. It's a startling campaign conversion for the most liberal member of the Senate. We'll know on Election Day if he is able to get away with it.

About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy making process.

Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon & Schuster. Email the author at Karl@Rove.com or visit him on the web at Rove.com.
Similarly, Mr. McCain appears to be making three important course corrections. First, he and Gov. Sarah Palin are sharpening their stump speeches so their sound bites come off well on TV. Gone are offhand remarks and awkward comments read from notes perched on a podium. In are teleprompters and carefully crafted arguments. Mr. McCain is also more at ease than before and has an ebullient, come-from-behind underdog optimism that will serve him well in the final weeks.

Second, Mr. McCain is shaping a story line that draws on well-founded concerns about Mr. Obama's lack of record or experience. Mr. McCain is also bowing to reality and devoting most of his time to the economy. His narrative is he's the conservative reformer who'll lead and work hard to get things done, while Mr. Obama is the tax-and-spend liberal who's unprepared to lead and unwilling to act.

Mr. McCain is hitting Mr. Obama for wanting to raise taxes in difficult economic times, especially on small business and for the purpose of redistributing income, and for having lavish spending plans at a time when the economy is faltering. He's criticizing Mr. Obama for lingering on the sidelines while Mr. McCain dove in to help pass a rescue plan, necessary no matter how distasteful. And he's attacking Mr. Obama for not joining the fight in 2005 when reformers like Mr. McCain tried to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Mr. McCain's other adjustment is his schedule. His campaign understands the dire circumstances it faces and is narrowing his travels almost exclusively to Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada. If he carries those states, while losing only Iowa and New Mexico from the GOP's 2004 total, Mr. McCain will carry 274 Electoral College votes and the White House. It's threading the needle, but it's come to that.

This task, while not impossible, will be difficult. By mid-September, the McCain camp was slightly ahead in the polls. Then came the financial crisis. The past month has taken an enormous toll on the McCain campaign.

Whether it can find the right formula in the next 19 days to dig out is a question. If Mr. McCain succeeds, he will have engineered the most impressive and improbable political comeback since Harry Truman in 1948. But having to reach back more than a half-century for inspiration is not the place campaign managers want to be now.

Mr. Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 08:57:25 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Black Grass
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« Reply #702 on: October 16, 2008, 11:30:56 AM »

Is there any examples of International terrorism that was not done in the name of Islam ? I can only think of one Air India 1985, and even that you can conceivable argue was an internal affair Indian Sihk v. Indian Hindu).

anyways back to to election

Vince

Could you define "International Terrorism" please.

Acts of terrorism on foriegn soil to that of the the perpetrators. Basically acts of terrorism outside the conflict area.

For example:
To my knowledge the following well know terrorist groups have have never bombed in a land not in dispute in the name of there religion or cause:

Has ETA ( Basque separatist) ever commit acts of terrorism onside of Spain ?
Has Zapatist ever commit acts of terrorism outside of Mexico ?
Has IRA  ever commit acts of terrorism outside of UK ?
Has the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) ever commit acts of terrorism outside of Sri Langka ?

The only example I can think of is (other than Islamic) is the bombing of Air India 182 (Montreal-London-Deli)in 1985 by Sihk extremist in the name of a Sihk homeland in India. Other than that, all acts of international terrorism are done in the name of Islam.

Vince

Sorry Crafty this response should probable be in another thread.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2008, 11:32:30 AM by Black Grass » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #703 on: October 16, 2008, 12:54:32 PM »

No biggie, but if you want, do an Advanced Search for "Islam" and see what threads pop up-- maybe one of them will suit your purposes better than this one here.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #704 on: October 16, 2008, 01:41:12 PM »

Thursday, October 16, 2008

JOHN MCCAIN, BARACK OBAMA, HORSERACE

Word From Obi Wan, Another Insider, and a Third Sign for Optimism

My mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, checked in, perhaps worried by this post, as a few other readers were. (Folks, I don't like sharing bad news, but what am I supposed to do when I hear it?)

Obi Wan was very positive about last night's debate.

"McCain won every question, looked like a leader and not the law professor that Obama looked like. McCain hit the themes of Joe the Plumber and big government as the basic difference and then hurt Obama's credibility on issue after issue.

The media types will try and take the win away. — they tried in 1980 to say Carter won or that the debate was a draw. But the voters thought otherwise.  It may take more than a couple of days, but as people start making judgments and ending their mood swings, the numbers should really help McCain."

The second bit of good news for McCain is comes from a source in the Midwest, plugged into various GOP operations, who told me that “key metrics” in “bellweather areas” of Ohio are showing very favorable McCain numbers and that these indicators may also signal important metrics for Pennsylvania, esp. western Pennsylvania. This source has no illusions, and is worried about other states — the same ones you and I are worried about when we look at an Electoral College map — but those two states are looking surprisingly strong for McCain, with some evidence that the same folks who were skeptical of Obama in the Democratic primary are still not on board and may not ever be on board.

(Interestingly the Dayton Daily News released its own poll on Sunday showing McCain winning Ohio statewide by 2 percent.)

Finally, my third sign is a bit lighter, but interesting in measuring GOP enthusiasm for McCain, which I think had been waning in the past two weeks or so. I've got a reader who writes in regularity, reminding me that I am a gutless squish, that John McCain is just about indistinguishable from a Democrat, that it's up to real conservatives like him to keep fighting the good fight (which apparently consists mostly sending me e-mails reminding me that I am a gutless squish). He's never had a good word to say about John McCain that I can recall. And then, this morning, he writes:

IF, and that's a big if, McCain stays on the message that he had last night for the next two weeks, next year you won't even remember who "B.O." is.....for two reasons:

1.  [Reagan Democrats] will not vote for a commie, liberal, anti-American, anti-military, anti-guns, baby killing, tax raising, al qaeda sleeper cell member from indonesia who pals around with and accepts $ from terrorists while his con men buddies in congress steal billions from the U.S. taxpayer.

2.  Hillary Democrats do not want "BO" to win because "you know who" has only one more chance to become prez and that has to be in 4 years.

The undecided vote has increased and will break enough for McCain to put him over the top no matter what the [conservatives in name only] and liberals will be saying for the next two weeks.

(Lest there be any doubt, I remain unconvinced that Barack Obama is an al-Qaeda sleeper cell member.)

UPDATE: A fourth sign. Another state-level GOP guy I talk to regularly says that what he is seeing in internal polling lines up with the commentary you see in this RedState post, purportedly from an Obama campaign internal pollster, indicating that they are "very worried about how Palin appears to be energizing whole groups of people who don't typically get energized about politics, precisely because she appeals so strongly to the middle class, as well as women and dissatisfied republicans that stayed home in 2006."

http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NmE1ODQyNWNjZjJkMTI3MzVlNTUzZjA0NTlkMjBmNTM=
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G M
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« Reply #705 on: October 16, 2008, 07:08:01 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq-eeWow_WU

Joe Biden: Ready to count?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #706 on: October 16, 2008, 07:11:34 PM »

Shades of Dan Quayle  rolleyes
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #707 on: October 20, 2008, 09:31:46 PM »

Monday, October 20, 2008

HORSERACE
Obi Wan: 'Believe me, there is someone in the Obama campaign who is deathly afraid of the 'McCain pulls even or goes ahead' poll.'
My mentor - who goes by the nickname Obi Wan Kenobi - has reappeared again, and remains generally optimistic about McCain's chances. He felt the final debate had worked for McCain because he had finally found themes that he kept coming back to in answer after answer.

Obi-Wan particularly noted McCain's observation that Obama keeps saying he wants to "look at" drilling instead of doing it — implicitly raising the question of whether the most eloquent and melodious talker is better than a guy who actually gets things done.  Even more importantly, the candidates spotlighted the clear and fundamental difference between the two on economics. Obama is clear that he will try to tax and spend his way out of a recession; McCain will cut both. Obama spoke to Joe the Plumber as if he was okay with raising taxes on those making $250,000, as if Obama presumed Joe thought he would never make $250,000.

Obi-Wan expected some sort of bump or goose for McCain after the debate, and thought we were seeing it with the Gallup poll's traditional model that had McCain only down by 2 percent. Today, that model now has Obama ahead by 5 percent. But just about every other tracking poll has shown a narrow Obama lead, too. (The RCP average has shrunk from 8.2 percent to 5.3 percent.)

Obi Wan is wondering about the timing of the Colin Powell endorsement, too. I had figured that Powell's nod would have been a bigger help to Obama earlier in the race - recall the rumors of Powell speaking at the Democratic Convention. Obi-Wan figures this was one of the best cards Obama had left to play, and he played it in the next-to-last weekend instead of the final weekend. He wonders if internal polling prompted the Obama camp to roll out Powell a bit earlier than planned.

"McCain had a very good week," he told me. "He looked presidential at Al Smith dinner and he had everybody talking Joe the Plumber and taxes the next few days. And the debate performance may have been as big as Kennedy in '60 — that important, because the undecideds were watching."

"We have just seen the greatest economic scare since the Great Depression and everybody is looking at polls as if they are business as usual. That's crazy."

I wondered aloud whether the media's day by day coverage could push people off those gut reactions - suspicion of "spreading the wealth around," relating to Joe the Plumber, etc.

"If so, the American people aren't the American people anymore," Obi Wan responded. "Believe me, there is someone in the Obama campaign who is deathly afraid of the 'McCain pulls even or goes ahead' poll." (And in Gallup, it was within 2 percent.) "That Obama strategist knows how much depends on the whole Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel approach —.work with the media to demoralize conservatives, and keep the perception of a juggernaut going. But a day or two of a few bad polls, and that strategy backfires. The conservatives know they've still got a shot at this."

10/20 06:10 PM

http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MzU2MDg2MzVhY2EyY2U0NmFmODdmNmE4MTBmMTQ4ZTE=
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #708 on: October 21, 2008, 01:39:55 AM »

Biden's unintentionally candid comments today give McC a tremendous opening-- maybe even to the point of neutralizing or surpassing the foreign affairs credibility implied by the Powell endorsement.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #709 on: October 22, 2008, 08:02:05 AM »

McCain Feingold and his very tepid support of the Second Amendment are two of the reasons I have a very hard time getting behind McCain. With that said, BHO has been turning campaign spending on its ear, with very little notice by the MSM.

Article follows:

October 22, 2008, 8:00 a.m.

Fake Donors, Phony Pledge
On campaign finance, Obama declared independence from his promises.

By David Freddoso

Starting in June, Barack Obama’s website stopped asking for donations. Instead, it began asking for citizens who would “declare their independence from a broken system by supporting the first presidential election truly funded by the people.”

Perhaps the campaign did not expect that among those “declaring their independence would be donors named “Doodad Pro,” “Derty Poiiuy,” and “Jgtj Jfggjjfgj.” (And you thought Barack Obama had a funny name.) They may not have known that at least four Missourians and one Virginian would declare their independence involuntarily and later find fraudulent donations to Obama’s campaign on their credit card statements. The Obama campaign cannot claim ignorance of “Good Will,” whose address is the Goodwill headquarters in Austin, and whose occupation is “Loving You.” The Goodwill office received a letter from Obama last month indicating that Mr. Will had exceeded the legal limit with his $7,000 in contributions, and asking whether part of the money could be directed to Obama’s general election campaign.

Such abuse of the system may just be the inevitable consequence of a political system driven by massive amounts of money — or at least, that’s what Barack Obama used to say, before he figured out how to use that system to his advantage.

Reporters now note dryly that Barack Obama promised to take public matching funds for the presidential election, which would have limited the amount he could spend, and that he then reneged on his promise in June. This narrative understates the case.

Obama actually went much farther than merely giving his word that he would accept matching funds. In February of 2007, he challenged all of the Republican candidates for president to pledge, along with him, that they would take matching funds. It was supposed to be a rare display of political courage on his part, for the sake of principles he believed in.

Sen. John McCain, who has long clashed with conservatives on issues of campaign finance, accepted Obama’s challenge on Obama’s terms. Obama would later write on a November 2007 questionnaire from the Midwest Democracy Network: “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” In February of this year, he wrote an op-ed stating again that he would “aggressively pursue” an agreement with McCain that would set “real spending limits.” He repeated this promise on FOX News on April 27.

Then, all of the sudden, Barack Obama announced in June that the public campaign-financing system was “broken” and so he could not participate in it. Presumably, someone went and broke the public campaign-financing system sometime between April and mid-June of this year.

Who did it? Barack Obama did. He broke the system as soon as it became clear to him that by rejecting public financing, he might be able to raise half a billion dollars and drown his opponent in money, as he is doing now.

It may all seem like a minor point now — just an occasion for a bit of Republican whining as Obama’s attack ads dominate the airwaves thanks to his broken promise. After all, Obama has raised quite a bit of money. But his donations from fake donors evoke the fake promise he made on principle just months ago to restrict campaign spending and limit the influence of special interests.

News reporters often assume, incorrectly, that the numbers in the FEC reports they scour each quarter are put on the Internet by magic. In fact, each one has to be recorded individually by a human being in what is really a painstaking process. This applies not only to the larger amounts contributed by Mr. Will and Mr. Jfggjjfgj, but also to amounts less than $200. A pair of human eyes has to check each one, even if amounts smaller than $200 are not required by law to be disclosed in any report.

Obama’s finance team missed quite a few obviously troubling large donations, from such unsavory individuals as Mr. Jfggjjfgj, “Mong Kong,” “Test Person,” and “Jockim Alberton,” who lives at a fictional address on a street that does not exist in Wilmington, Delaware. How many fictional characters might there be among the $220 million that Obama has collected in small, undisclosed contributions?

Obama’s small donors have all been recorded, and he could easily follow McCain’s lead by disclosing this major source of his campaign’s money. Hopefully the list of donors contains no one with Asdfjkl as a surname, and it bears no resemblance to an ACORN voter-registration list.

— David Freddoso is a staff reporter for National Review Online and author of The Case Against Barack Obama.



National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OTllNTk2MDNmNDk1YmQ0OWEzOTZmMTVmODUwZTQwY2E=
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 12:22:30 PM by Body-by-Guinness » Logged
G M
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« Reply #710 on: October 22, 2008, 08:34:43 AM »

The increasingly erratic, super-gaffetastic Joe Biden
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008

If the prospect of Joe Biden sitting a heartbeat away from the presidency doesn’t give you palpitations, you are not paying attention.
Hysterical Sarah Palin-bashers on the unhinged left and elitist right have dominated campaign press coverage and pop culture. They’ve ridiculed her family, her appearance, and her speech patterns. They’ve derided her character, her parenting skills, her readiness, and her intellect.
Meanwhile, the increasingly erratic, super-gaffetastic Joe Biden gets a pass. What does the guy have to do to earn the relentless scrutiny and merciless mockery he deserves? Answer: Wear high heels, shoot caribou, and change the “D” next to his name to an “R.”
Team Obama is hammering John McCain as “erratic” in the closing days of the election campaign. There are now 615,000 Google hits and counting using the search terms “erratic McCain.” Last week, the New York Times devoted an entire article to the Obama-Biden line of attack, titled “In Friendly Region, Biden Cites McCain as Erratic.”
Who’s erratic? Throughout the primary and general election cycles, Biden has lurched from attacking Obama as not-ready-for-primetime (“The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training,” September 2007) to ready-to-lead (“Barack Obama is ready. This is his time,” August 2008) and back again. This week, Biden warned America that an Obama victory would invite a dangerous global showdown between tyrants and the naïf Obama. “Mark my words,” Biden said Sunday at a Democratic fund-raiser. “It will not be six months [after the inauguration] before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.” In a follow-up appearance, he told followers to brace for the worst and “gird your loins.”
Out of Biden’s mouth, this is called candor. Out of anyone else’s mouth, it would be “fear-mongering,” “negative campaigning,” and a “distraction.”
Tooting his own horn while vandalizing his running mate’s, Biden bragged: “I’ve forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know.” Yeah. Colleagues like that guy who had a mere 143 days of Senate experience before launching his presidential bid and choosing you to shore up his meager credibility, Joe.
In fact, Biden has spent the entire campaign questioning his running mate’s judgment. Last month, he mused out loud: “Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more than I am to be vice president of the United States of America…She is easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America and quite frankly it might have been a better pick than me.” Biden assailed the campaign’s position on clean coal, openly criticized the campaign’s idiotic ad attacking John McCain for not using e-mail, and warned the pro-gun control Obama that “if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem.”
Dan Quayle will have “POTATOE” etched on his gravestone. But how many times have late-night comedians and cable shows replayed the video of senior statesman and six-term Sen. Biden’s own spelling mishap last week while attacking John McCain’s economic plan?
“Look, John’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S.”
No, Joe. “D’-O-H” is a three-letter-word.
Nightly news shows still haven’t tired of replaying Sarah Palin’s infamous interview with Katie Couric. But how many times have they replayed Joe Biden’s botched interview with Couric last month – in which he cluelessly claimed: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’”
Er, here’s what really happened: Roosevelt wasn’t president when the market crashed in 1929. As for appearing on TV, it was still in its infant stages and wasn’t available to the general public until at least ten years later.
During the lone VP debate earlier this month, the increasingly erratic, super-gaffetastic Joe Biden demonstrated more historical ignorance that Sarah Palin would never have been able to get away with: “Vice President Cheney’s been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history,” Biden said. “He has the idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the executive — he works in the executive branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.”
Article 1 of the Constitution defines the role of the legislative branch, not the executive branch. You would think someone who has served 36 years in government – the same someone who is quick to remind others of his high IQ and longtime Senate Judiciary Committee chairmanship – would know better.
Joe Biden’s erratic and gaffe-tastic behavior is the least of America’s worries. He’s worse than a blunderbuss. He’s an incurable narcissist with chronic diarrhea of the mouth. He’s a phony and a pretender who fashions himself a foreign policy expert, constitutional scholar, and wordly wise man. He’s a man who can’t control his impulses.
And he could be a heartbeat away. Now, back to your regularly scheduled Palin-says-“You Betcha” skit.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #711 on: October 22, 2008, 09:12:03 AM »

My  sister lives in Chicago and swoons for BO.  Yesterday she expresssed concern about SP's readiness, especially on foreign affairs.  I told her she was right, we'd much rather have a foreign affairs expert who knew that the US and France had driven the Hezbollah out of Lebanon.   I agreed JB was an expert-- that's how he knew that BO will be tested.  Had her sputtering-- very funny.

The big picture of course is anything but funny. It begins to look like McC is going to lose very badly-- no surprise considering his very badly run campaign and the badly dishonest media.
=========
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama has opened up a double-digit lead in the presidential race, with a growing number of voters saying they're now comfortable with the Democratic nominee's values, background and ability to serve as commander in chief, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

New Poll: Data Drilldown
View Interactive

Review the demographic breakdown of voters backing each candidate.

Poll Results (PDF) | Poll ArchiveQuestion of the Day
Vote: At this point, do you think the presidential race is decided?For months, the race has rested largely on the question of whether voters could get comfortable with Sen. Obama, the first African-American to run on a major party ticket, and one who has been on the national political scene for just a few years. The Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, has worked to stoke concerns about Sen. Obama's past and his qualifications, raising questions about his rival's character and his association with 1960s-era radical William Ayers. "Who is the real Barack Obama?" Sen. McCain has asked at rallies. The new poll suggests that these attacks haven't worked.

Though most voters polled said that Sen. McCain is better prepared for the White House than the first-term senator from Illinois, there are increasing concerns about the readiness of Sen. McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

View Full Image

Reuters
Sen. Obama places an order at a deli during a campaign stop in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday.
Overall, the poll found 52% of voters favor Sen. Obama versus 42% for Sen. McCain. That 10-point lead is up from a six-point Obama edge two weeks ago. The survey of registered voters, conducted from Friday to Monday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

It's the largest lead in the Journal/NBC poll thus far, and represents a steady climb for Sen. Obama since early September, when the political conventions concluded with the candidates in a statistical tie.

"Voters have reached a comfort level with Barack Obama," said Peter D. Hart, a Democratic pollster who conducts the poll with Republican Neil Newhouse.

That comfort is reflected in the ground gained by Sen. Obama among some important voter groups in the weeks since the financial turmoil hit. The poll finds Sen. Obama now holds a 12-percentage-point advantage with independents, a group both sides have fiercely sought. Two weeks ago, Sen. Obama led this group by just four percentage points. In mid-September, independents favored Sen. McCain by 13 points.

 Sen. Obama leads suburban voters by 12 percentage points, up from two points two weeks ago. He leads among older voters, those over 65 years old, by nine points, erasing a one-point McCain advantage from the last poll. And in the Midwest, home to a swath of battleground states, he is now favored by 25 points, up from a one-point advantage.

Some daily tracking polls have found a tighter race between Sens. McCain and Obama in recent days. Real Clear Politics, a Web site that averages major polls, shows Sen. Obama up by 7.2 percentage points. Others have found a larger spread, such as one released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, a nonpartisan research group. That poll found a 14-point advantage for Sen. Obama among registered voters. Many polls also show Sen. McCain lagging in key battleground states, which hold the electoral votes that could decide the race.

Sen. Obama has also eaten into traditional Republican advantages, notably on taxes, despite Sen. McCain's attempts to make the issue a central economic theme of the campaign's closing days. In the mid-September Journal poll, Sen. McCain was favored 41% to 37% when voters were asked which candidate would be "better on taxes." This week's poll found Sen. Obama leading on the issue by 48% to 34%.

That may be partly due to Sen. Obama's argument that Sen. McCain would raise taxes on health-insurance benefits. While Sen. McCain's health plan does raise some taxes, the plan overall represents a net tax cut, according to independent estimates.

More Election Data
Electoral CalculatorNational, State PollsSen. McCain continues to pound Sen. Obama on taxes daily, adopting "Joe the Plumber" as his campaign's new everyman. Ohio voter Joe Wurzelbacher gained fame after challenging Sen. Obama on his tax plans at a campaign appearance earlier this month. Sen. McCain argues that Sen. Obama's willingness to "spread the wealth around" represents a brand of socialism. He suggests that vast numbers of Americans will see higher taxes, despite Sen. Obama's pledge not to raise them for families earning less than $250,000.

So far, voters don't seem to be persuaded by Sen. McCain's argument. A majority now disagree with the statement: "Barack Obama will raise taxes on middle-income people if he becomes president," with just 40% agreeing.

"Everyone knows Obama's only going to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, and Joe the Plumber does not make more than $250,000," said Jeff Howard, a 20-year-old student from Bell, Ky., who told pollsters he was voting for Sen. Obama, and said he leans Democratic, but not strongly.

The Final Stretch
In the final stretch, Sen. McCain is also pressing his independence from President George W. Bush, whose job approval is at a record low in this poll. At last week's debate, Sen. McCain told Sen. Obama that he should have run four years ago if he wanted to challenge President Bush, a line he repeats on the trail. But the poll finds nearly six in 10 voters believe Sen. McCain's direction, agenda and policies would be mostly the same as President Bush's, down just slightly from those who said so a month ago.

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AFP/Getty Images
Sen. Barack Obama has gained with independents, suburbanites and older voters to increase his lead on Sen. John McCain in new polling.
It's a tough year to run as a Republican after eight years of Mr. Bush, said David Axelrod, Sen. Obama's chief strategist. "They're just on the wrong side of history," he said in an interview. "In an election that's all about change he simply doesn't represent it."

Sarah Simmons, the McCain campaign's director of strategy, said, "The environment is challenging, no doubt about it," but added that Sen. Obama has yet to take a lead big enough to ensure a win. Ms. Simmons said Sen. McCain is still viewed favorably by most voters. "That's a good sign for us that this race is far from over," she said.

Sen. Obama appears to be clearing some important thresholds with the electorate. Forty-eight percent of voters now say they would have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence in Sen. Obama as commander in chief. That's up from 39%, in August, and just two points shy of Sen. McCain's standing.

Similarly, in July, 47% of all voters said that Sen. Obama had a background and set of values that they could identify with. That figure is now 55% -- just two points shy of Sen. McCain.

 "At first, I didn't know who he [Obama] was, and I knew who McCain was, and in that respect, I was leaning toward McCain," said Judy Callanan, 58, of Tuscarora, Md., a payroll manager and registered independent, who told the pollsters she was backing Sen. Obama. "But just listening to Obama talk, he was much more down-to-earth and talked more about things I could relate to."

In a Positive Light
Forty-four percent of voters see Sen. McCain in a positive light, about the same as the last poll two weeks ago. But views of Sen. Obama have grown stronger, with 56% now reporting very or somewhat positive feelings about him.

The one candidate whose popularity has fallen is Gov. Palin: 38% see her positively, down from 44% two weeks ago; 47% see her negatively, up 10 points from the last poll. That's the highest negative rating of the four candidates. Fifty-five percent of voters say Gov. Palin is not qualified to be president if the need arises, up from 50% two weeks ago.

For his part, Sen. McCain holds a distinct edge on the question of experience needed to be an effective president. Asked which candidate is better on knowledge and experience needed to handle the job, 49% picked Sen. McCain and just 27% picked Sen. Obama.

The McCain campaign says it plans to continue pressing the experience question. "There is lingering doubt -- is he ready?" Mike DuHaime, the campaign's political director, said Tuesday.

Independent voters still harbor concerns about Sen. Obama's experience and readiness for the job, Mr. Newhouse, the Republican pollster, noted. But he said these voters have reservations about Gov. Palin's readiness, complicating any effort by the McCain campaign to focus on this issue.

 "I don't think Palin is ready to take that office," said Lois Peterson, 83, of St. Peter, Minn., an independent who now favors Sen. Obama. "She doesn't seem very professional."

That point was underscored on Sunday when retired Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Obama, citing, in part, his concerns about Gov. Palin's readiness.

Nineteen percent of voters polled on Sunday and Monday -- halfway through the total polling period -- said the Powell endorsement made them more inclined to support Sen. Obama. The results from this question have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
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« Reply #712 on: October 24, 2008, 09:20:47 AM »

Doylestown, Pa.

The Barack Obama campaign occupies a storefront on N. Main Street across from the county courthouse. A stream of people filters through to pick up buttons or leaflets. The bulletin board lists a dozen staffers in this office and another in Bristol.

 
APNow try to find a John McCain outpost in Bucks County. Armed with an address, you'd get an unmarked, low, stand-alone office building on a four-lane state highway 15 minutes' drive from here. On the front door a small sign directs visitors to the McCain campaign around the corner and down the stairs to the basement. Two volunteers man phones, McCain posters or signs aren't readily available. Three paid staffers direct the Republican's campaign from a single office in this critical battleground.

Mr. McCain probably can't win the election without Pennsylvania. And both campaigns think it will be decided in the four "collar counties" around Philadelphia. Of them, Bucks (pop. 625,000) is a microcosm of the state. Rural northern "upper Bucks" is socially conservative, clinging -- as Mr. Obama famously said this year -- to guns and religion; the center around Doylestown is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, once dominated by Republican "moderates"; and "lower" Bucks around Bristol is blue-collar, formerly industrial, depressed, and tends to vote Democratic.

The "maverick" John McCain was supposed to play well with the independents and middle-of-the-road Democrats and Republicans in places like Bucks County. Hillary Clinton beat Mr. Obama by 34 points here, and carried 60 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. President Bush did miserably in the Philly suburbs in 2004, yet lost the state by a mere 2.5 points. To make this state red, the McCain camp figured: Start with the burbs. "We don't need to turn collar counties. We need to do better than W. did," says Jon Seaton, the McCain campaign manager for Ohio and Pennsylvania.

It hasn't gone Mr. McCain's way. As Wall Street tumbled, Barack Obama expanded a two point lead into double digits -- 10.5 points as of yesterday, according to RealClearPolitics. The one available poll on suburban Philadelphia showed the Democrat up comfortably in all four counties.

McCain strategists insist Pennsylvania votes close and polls will tighten. Mr. McCain appeared at three rallies in the state Tuesday, beginning at a paper mill in Bensalem, down the road from Doylestown. He was in the suburbs twice last week. His wife Cindy campaigned for him in Bucks County on Monday.

Having opted out of public financing, Mr. Obama's money edge (a record $618 million raised so far) enables him to run a better-staffed and more vibrant ground organization as well as dominate the air waves. At rallies McCain surrogates insist that "the state isn't for sale." But the Democrats have registered over 200,000 voters since June 1. Their lead over Republicans statewide is 1.2 million, double the gap in 2004. This election "saw the biggest switch ever" from one party to another in Pennsylvania, says pollster Michael Young.

The political winds were changing before the Obama juggernaut came along. Within living memory, the "collar" counties were rock-solid Republican. No more. In 2006, Chester elected its first Democrat to Congress in 82 years, and Democrats are gaining strength in Delaware County. In the past year Montgomery and Bucks counties flipped, with registered Democrats now outnumbering Republicans.

You see the consequences first at the local level. Five years ago in Doylestown, the mayor and all nine borough councilmen were Republicans. Now the mayor and six councilmen are Democrats. A watershed came in the 2006 elections when Patrick Murphy, who served in Iraq, ended a decade-long reign of moderate Republicans in the 8th Congressional district, which covers all of Bucks County. Doing his campaign rounds in Bristol, Mr. Murphy, 35 and married to a Republican, says, "People here were Rockefeller Republicans, not Bush Republicans. Now they're Blue Dog Democrats," adding, "I'm a veteran, I'm a gun owner."

Some say the Bush era's profligate spending, wars and social conservatism alienated the Republican moderates. Pat Poprik, the Bucks County Republican chairman, offers another explanation: Newcomers from New York and Philadelphia brought their liberal politics.

Whether it is Bucks County or the national Republican Party that's changed, the GOP's problems here predated John McCain and will outlive him. Pollster Terry Madonna and Mr. Young think that 2008 may be "Pennsylvania's last hurrah" as a swing state. If it turns solid blue, "such a shift would have enormous political implications, radically altering future Electoral College maps, thereby making it ever more difficult for the GOP to win national elections," they wrote this month.

Mr. Kaminski is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

Please add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.
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« Reply #713 on: October 24, 2008, 11:59:02 AM »

Quote
"such a shift would have enormous political implications, radically altering future Electoral College maps, thereby making it ever more difficult for the GOP to win national elections,"

A good friend of mine is a professor of American history, and predicted 2 years ago that the party that loses this election is done in American politics. He foresees fractures among their base voters, more politicians turning true "independents", and the formation of two or more viable independent parties.

I'm starting to think he may be right. That's why I find the Obama "CHANGE" slogan to be a bit prophetic. We are going to see a massive change in American politics if he wins or loses.
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« Reply #714 on: October 24, 2008, 01:03:56 PM »

I'm pretty disgusted with the RNC, and I see no other party I can align myself with. I'd like to see a "Let's preserve what's left of western civilization" party.
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« Reply #715 on: October 24, 2008, 01:34:59 PM »

Fred Thompson sums things up:

http://www.fredpac.com/index.aspx
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« Reply #716 on: October 24, 2008, 01:51:29 PM »

Quote
I'd like to see a "Let's preserve what's left of western civilization" party.

 grin
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« Reply #717 on: October 24, 2008, 02:09:34 PM »

Commentary: Candidates should seek votes of Muslim-Americans
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Nafees Syed: Candidates are courting voters like Joe the Plumber
Syed: They should reach out to Muslim-Americans, who feel shunned
Obama may not be Muslim, but he should campaign for their votes, she says
Syed: I applaud Gen. Colin Powell for recognizing we are Americans, too



By Nafees A. Syed
Special to CNN
 
Editor's note: Nafees A. Syed, a junior at Harvard University majoring in government, is an editorial editor at The Harvard Crimson as well as a senior editor and columnist for the Harvard-MIT journal on Islam and society, Ascent. She is chairwoman of the Harvard Institute of Politics Policy Group on Racial Profiling. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia.


Harvard University student Nafees Syed says both candidates should reach out to Muslims in the U.S.

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) -- During this election, we have seen the spectacle of two presidential candidates fighting over one voter while snubbing an entire segment of the American population worthy of their attention.

We in the Muslim-American community look wistfully at people like Joe the Plumber, wishing that we too could be courted for our vote by the presidential candidates.

At the same time, we look gratefully at figures like former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who reassure us that there is hope for greater acceptance of Muslim-Americans.

Over time, we grew to expect standoffish treatment from the Republican Party. Almost a decade ago, many Muslims, my parents included, supported President Bush for his humble foreign policy stances, strong family values and reaching out to the Muslim-American community.

Things have obviously changed since September 11, 2001, and we have grown used to anti-Muslim rhetoric from Republican candidates. We have run like refugees to the Democratic Party, only to find reluctant tolerance and hope that we will go somewhere else.

American civil rights activist and intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, "[The American Negro] simply wishes it possible to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly on his face."

Over a century later, I and many other Muslim-Americans feel the same, hoping that we can be accepted in America as both Muslims and Americans.

As a college student voting in my first presidential election, I have been inspired by Barack Obama's call for change. My campus is full of Obama posters, and several of my classmates have taken time off to work for his campaign.

Don't Miss
Muslim-American voices heard in campaign
Commentary: So what if Obama were a Muslim?
In Depth: Commentaries
There is no doubt Obama has the Harvard vote, but my vote will not be cast as enthusiastically as others.

This campaign means to me what it means for my classmates. In the next few years, the economy and American foreign policy will affect my generation unlike any other, and those concerns are the primary influences on my vote.

However, as a Muslim-American, I see some issues as more personal. I don't blame Obama for clarifying that he isn't a Muslim; if someone misidentified my religion, I would likewise point out the facts, especially if it was part of a larger smear campaign. However, as the first Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison stated, "A lot of us are waiting for him to say that there's nothing wrong with being a Muslim, by the way."

Indeed, Obama's responses to accusations that he is Muslim should be more than just denial; they should be a condemnation of the prejudices that lace such accusations.

When I discuss this issue with fellow Muslim-Americans, especially ones who have dedicated significant time to his campaign, I immediately hear that he's just doing what he needs to do to win.

I respond skeptically to these arguments. Is it really politically necessary for Obama to avoid visiting mosques -- something that President Bush has dared to do -- while rallying support from churches and synagogues? Doesn't his careful distance from the Muslim-American community contradict his message of unity?

Still, others, my parents included, advise that it is best that we as Muslim-Americans avoid marring his campaign with our visible support at a time when any connection with Muslims would jeopardize his chances of winning. They reason that we have to politically isolate ourselves for the better candidate to win, a sacrifice we should make for our country.

I am unwilling to feign political apathy. All I want is for one of the candidates to assure me and the American public that "Muslim" and "American" are not mutually exclusive terms.

Colin Powell's recent interview with Tom Brokaw has left me with some hope. He highlights the flaw in the question of Obama's religion with the answer, "he is not a Muslim; he's a Christian. ... But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America."

To prove his point, Gen. Powell recounted the story of Purple Heart- and Bronze Star-winning Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, an American soldier in Iraq who sacrificed his life for his country. He represents a Muslim-American community that is dedicated to its country and worthy of the presidential candidates' attention and respect.

It is a tribute to Gen. Powell's own dedication to his country that he would take note of the treatment of Muslim-Americans during the elections.

Thanks, Gen. Powell. You said the words that Muslim-Americans around the country were waiting to hear.
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« Reply #718 on: October 24, 2008, 06:17:08 PM »

www.DiscoverTheNetworks.org   Date: 10/24/2008 7:15:47 PM

KEITH ELLISON

Has Ties to Nation of Islam
Swore Oath of Allegiance to Allah on the Koran
 


At this particular time in history, it is a matter of note that Congress is about to receive its first Muslim member. Keith Ellison, currently a Minnesota state representative, is poised to succeed 14-term incumbent Democrat Martin Sabo in the Fifth District, which includes the city of Minneapolis. Ellison's endorsement by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party is tantamount to his election in what is one of the safest Democratic seats in the country. Thus, at age 43, Ellison stands positioned not only to win that office but also to hold it as long as he chooses.

Ellison's Muslim faith has generated no controversy in the campaign. On the contrary, it has served to insulate aspects of his public record from close scrutiny in a city whose dominant news organ, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is a paragon of political correctness. With the exception of columnist Katherine Kersten, the Star Tribune has scrupulously avoided examining Ellison's long train of troubling associations, foremost among them his ties to the Nation of Islam.

Ellison's record also includes a multitude of embarrassments of the traditional kind. He fell afoul of the IRS after failing to pay $25,000 in income taxes; he ignored fines that he had incurred for parking tickets and moving violations so numerous that his driver's license was suspended more times than he can remember; he was fined for willful violation of Minnesota's campaign finance reporting law. It amounts to a striking pattern of lawbreaking since he undertook the practice of law in 1990.

But it was the link to the Nation of Islam that stood as the most serious impediment to Ellison's primary campaign. He addressed it in a letter to the local chapter of the Jewish Community Relations Council following his endorsement by the DFL in May. In the letter, Ellison asserted that his involvement with the Nation of Islam had been limited to an 18-month period around the time of the Million Man March in 1995, that he had been unfamiliar with the Nation of Islam's anti-Semitic views during his in volvement with the group, and that he himself had never expressed such views. The Star Tribune has faithfully parroted these assertions as facts.

As a result, the three assertions have become the cornerstone of Ellison's campaign, securing him the support of prominent Minneapolis Jews and the endorsement of the Minneapolis-based American Jewish World newsweekly. Nevertheless, a little research reveals each one of them to be demonstrably false. Ellison's activities on behalf of the Nation of Islam continued well beyond any 18-month period, he was familiar with the Nation of Islam's anti-Semitic views, and he himself mouthed those views.

Ellison was born Catholic in Detroit. He states that he converted to Islam as an undergraduate at Wayne State University. As a third-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School in 1989-90, he wrote two columns for the Minnesota Daily under the name "Keith Hakim." In the first, Ellison refers to "Minister Louis Farrakhan," defends Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and speaks in the voice of a Nation of Islam advocate. In the second, "Hakim" demands reparations for slavery and throws in a demand for an optional separate homeland for American blacks. In February 1990, Ellison participated in sponsoring Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) to speak at the law school on the subject "Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?" Jewish law students met personally with Ellison and appealed to him not to sponsor the speech at the law school; he rejected their appeal, and, as anticipated, Ture gave a notoriously anti-Semitic speech.

Ellison admits that he worked on behalf of the Nation of Islam in 1995. At a rally for the Million Man March held at the University of Minnesota, Ellison appeared onstage with Khalid Abdul Muhammad, who ran true to form: According to a contemporaneous Star Tribune article, "If words were swords, the chests of Jews, gays and whites would be pierced."

Even in 1995, Ellison's work on behalf of the Nation of Islam extended well beyond his promotion of the Million Man March. That year, he dutifully spouted the Farrakhan line when Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, was indicted for conspiring to murder Farrakhan. Ellison organized a march on the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis demanding that Shabazz be released and alleging that the FBI itself had conspired to kill Farrakhan. In a November 6, 1995, column for the Minneapolis periodical Insight News, Ellison wrote under the name "Keith X Ellison." He condemned a Star Tribune editorial cartoon that was critical of Farrakhan as a role model for blacks because of his anti-Semitism. Ellison argued to the contrary.

Then, in February 1997, Ellison appeared as a local spokesman for the Nation of Islam with the last name "Muhammad." He spoke at a public hearing in connection with a controversy involving Joanne Jackson of the Minnesota Initiative Against Racism (MIAR). Jackson was alleged to have said, "Jews are among the most racist white people I know." Jackson denied making the statement or insisted that it had been taken out of context. Ellison appeared before the MIAR on behalf of the Nation of Islam in defense of Jackson's alleged statement. According to the Star Tribune and the full text of the statement published in the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder, Elli son said:

We stand by the truth contained in the remarks attributed to [Ms. Jackson], and by her right to express her views without sanction. Here is why we support Ms. Jackson: She is correct about Minister Farrakhan. He is not a racist. He is also not an anti-Semite. Minister Farrakhan is a tireless public servant of Black people, who constantly teaches self-reliance and self-examination to the Black community. . . . Also, it is absolutely true that merchants in Black areas generally treat Black customers badly.
The last sentence alluded to another of Jackson's alleged statements, providing a personal basis for characterizing Jews as "the most racist white people" she knew. Ellison's May 28 letter acknowledges only that others supported Jackson's alleged statement in that controversy while falsely denying that he himself did so.

Ellison first emerged as a candidate for public office in 1998, when he ran for the DFL nomination for state representative as "Keith Ellison-Muhammad." In a contemporaneous article on his candidacy in the Insight News, Ellison is reported still defending Louis Farrakhan:

Anticipating possible criticism for his NOI affiliation, Ellison-Muhammad says he is aware that not everyone appreciates what the Nation does and feels there is a propaganda war being launched against its leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Ellison says now that he broke with the Nation of Islam when "it became clear to me that their message of empowerment intertwined with more negative messages." However, Ellison himself was the purveyor of the Nation of Islam's noxious party line in his every public utterance touching on related issues over the course of a decade. Moreover, Ellison's unsavory associations were not limited to the Nation of Islam.

Perhaps the lowest moment in Minneapolis's history was the September 1992 execution-style murder of police officer Jerry Haaf. Haaf was shot in the back as he took a coffee break at a restaurant in south Minneapolis. The murder was a gang hit performed by four members of the city's Vice Lords gang. The leader of the Vice Lords was Sharif Willis, a convicted murderer who had been released from prison and who sought respectability as a responsible gang leader from gullible municipal authorities while operating a gang front called United for Peace.

The four Vice Lords members who murdered Haaf met and planned the murder at Willis's house. Two witnesses at the trial of one of the men convicted of Haaf's murder implicated Willis in the planning. Willis was never charged; law enforcement authorities said they lacked sufficient evidence to convict him.

Within a month of Haaf's murder, Ellison appeared with Willis supporting the United for Peace gang front. In October 1992, Ellison helped organize a demonstration against Minneapolis police that included United for Peace. "The main point of our rally is to support United for Peace [in its fight against] the campaign of slander the police federation has been waging," said Ellison.

Willis was the last speaker at the demonstration. According to a contemporaneous report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Willis told the crowd that Minneapolis police were experiencing the same fear from young black men that blacks had felt from police for many years. "If the police have some fear, I understand that fear," Willis said. "We seem to have an overabundance of bad police. . . . [W]e're going to get rid of them," Willis said. "They've got to go." The Pioneer Press account concludes with Ellison's contribution to the demonstration: "Ellison told the crowd that the police union is systematically frightening whites in order to get more police officers hired. That way, Ellison said, the union can increase its power base."

Ellison publicly supported the Haaf murder defendants. In February 1993, he spoke at a demonstration for one of them during his trial. Ellison led the crowd assembled at the courthouse in a chant that was ominous in the context of Haaf's cold-blooded murder: "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace." Ellison's working relationship with Sharif Willis came to an end in February 1995, when Willis was convicted in federal court on several counts of drug and gun-related crimes and sent back to prison for 20 years.

The various themes of Ellison's public commitments and associations all came together in a February 2000 speech he gave at a fundraising event sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the far-left National Lawyers Guild, on whose steering committee he had served. The event was a fundraiser for former Symbionese Liberation Army member Kathleen Soliah after her apprehension in St. Paul (under the name "Sara Jane Olson") for the attempted murder of Los Angeles police officers in 1975.

Ellison weirdly referred to Soliah/ Olson as a "black gang member" (she is white) and thus a victim of government persecution. He described her as one of those who had been "fighting for freedom in the '60s and '70s" and called for her release. (She subsequently pleaded guilty to charges in Los Angeles and to an additional murder charge in Sacramento; she is serving time in California.) Still toeing the Nation of Islam line, he recalled "Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, [who] was prosecuted in retribution against Minister Farrakhan." He also spoke favorably of cop killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur. (Shakur has been on the lam in Cuba since 1984; last year she was placed on the FBI's domestic terrorists list with a one million dollar reward for her capture.)

Having spoken out over many years as an advocate of the Nation of Islam under guises including Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison, and Keith Ellison-Muhammad, Ellison might reasonably prompt Fifth District voters to wonder where he really stands. His recent account of the nature and extent of his relationship with the Nation of Islam cannot be squared with the public record. During his congressional campaign, Ellison has nevertheless held himself out as a friend of the Jewish people and of Israel. As if to shore up his identity as a Muslim activist, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, flew to Minneapolis to appear as a featured guest (along with Ellison himself and Guantánamo chaplain James Yee) at an Ellison fundraiser in suburban Minneapolis on August 25. Awad is notable, among other things, for his past expressions of support for Hamas.

The Star Tribune didn't get around to reporting on the fundraiser until several days after Ellison won the September 12 primary. Ellison commented to the Star Tribune regarding issues raised by Awad's attendance at the fundraiser: "The Republicans are in a tough position. Iraq is a failed policy. They haven't done much for homeland security. We still have a health care crisis. The Earth is warming up, and they're not doing anything about it. What else are they going to do? They have to try to engage in smear politics."

Unfortunately, it won't be necessary for Ellison to come up with a more compelling response than that before he makes news in November as America's first Muslim congressman.

Ellison is a supporter of the Muslim American Society, at whose Fourth Annual Convention he spoke in May 2007.  On June 16, 2007, Ellison was a featured speaker at the First Annual Banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Minnesota chapter.


Most of this profile first appeared as an article titled "Louis Farrakhan's First Congressman," written by Scott W. Johnson and published by The Weekly Standard on October 9, 2006. It is reprinted here, with permission.
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« Reply #719 on: October 24, 2008, 07:50:13 PM »

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/020610/archive_021602.htm

Made in the U.S.A.
Hundreds of Americans have followed the path to jihad. Here's how and why
By David E. Kaplan
Posted 6/2/02

Fifteen thousand feet high in Kashmir and armed with a Kalashnikov--that was not how friends thought Jibreel al-Amreekee would end up. All of 19, the restless kid from Atlanta had grown up in a wealthy family attending Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home pulpit of Martin Luther King Jr. A soft-spoken youth with long dreadlocks, al-Amreekee had a passion for sky diving and reading books on the world's religions.

One religion that drew his interest was Islam, and while he was at North Carolina Central University, that interest grew into a calling. By 1997, he had converted and was spending his time at the modest Ibad-ar-Rahman mosque in Durham, where African-Americans mixed easily with immigrants from Egypt and Pakistan. He fell in with a group of fundamentalists who preached of how fellow Muslims were being slaughtered overseas and how jihad--holy war--was every Muslim's obligation. For al-Amreekee, it came as a revelation. He dropped out of school, read the Koran daily, fasted, and prepared for combat overseas. "He was into it, man," recalled a friend, Jaleel Abdullah Musawwir. "You know, Islam says when you get into something you go full ahead, and that's the way he did it."

In late 1997, al-Amreekee took off for Kashmir, where India and Pakistan have clashed for decades. Through friends in Durham, he hooked up with Lashkar-e-Taiba (the Righteous Army), a now banned militia blamed for December's terrorist attack on the Indian parliament. Lashkar leaders, closely allied with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, have announced plans to "plant Islamic flags in Delhi, Tel Aviv, and Washington."

After training at a Lashkar base in Pakistan, al-Amreekee got his chance: His unit began ambushing Indian troops in Kashmir. But the American didn't last long. After just 2 1/2 months as a jihadist, he was dead--killed while attacking an Indian Army post. "He got what he wanted," said Abdullah Ramadawn, a friend and fellow Georgian who used to drive him home after prayers. "He always said he wanted to be a martyr."

Americans are accustomed to thinking of the jihad movement as something overseas, inspired among the faithful in spartan Pakistani schools and gleaming Saudi mosques. But there is also an American road to jihad, one taken by true believers like al-Amreekee and hundreds of others. For 20 years--long before "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh--American jihadists have ventured overseas to attack those they believe threaten Islam. It is a little-known story.

They have left behind comfortable homes in Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco, volunteering to fight with foreign armies in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. Their numbers are far greater than is commonly thought: Between 1,000 and 2,000 jihadists left America during the 1990s alone, estimates Bob Blitzer, a former FBI terrorism chief who headed the bureau's first Islamic terrorism squad in 1994. Federal agents monitored some 40 to 50 jihadists leaving each year from just two New York mosques during the mid-'90s, he says. Pakistani intelligence sources say that Blitzer's figures are credible and that as many as 400 recruits from America have received training in Pakistani and Afghan jihad camps since 1989. Scores more ventured overseas during the 1980s, to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

U.S. News traced reports of more than three dozen American jihadists, many of them previously unknown. Unlike the 9/11 hijackers, who spent only months here, many are U.S. citizens, native born or naturalized. Most put down roots here, attended schools, ran businesses, and raised families. A majority appear to be Arab-Americans--Egyptian, Saudi, and Palestinian immigrants--or fellow Muslims from lands as far afield as Sudan and Pakistan. But a fair number are African-Americans, who make up nearly one third of the nation's Muslims. Still others are as varied as Lindh, a wealthy white kid from California's Marin County, or Hiram Torres, a Puerto Rican convert from New Jersey.

No records. Surprisingly--despite the key role some have played in terrorism --investigators have never tracked them as a group. Immigration agents keep no records on foreign travel by U.S. citizens and resident aliens. FBI and CIA officials say that fear of political spying charges has kept them from monitoring suspicious trips by U.S. citizens abroad. Nor does the State Department have files. "Why would we keep records?" asks one official. "These are people who are dropping out of U.S. society." With few such records, government files on al Qaeda backers here were woefully incomplete. Thus, after September 11, most of the 1,200 suspects arrested were found by combing immigration rolls for persons out of compliance--not by tracking those with jihadist ties or training in the jihadist military camps of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Those camps--once run freely by bin Laden and his allies--are the connective tissue binding together the international jihadist movement. To date, the United States and its allies have captured al Qaeda fighters from no fewer than 33 countries, including Australia, Belgium, and Sweden. Only two "American Taliban" are in custody: Lindh and Yasser Esam Hamdi, a Baton Rouge-born 22-year-old who spent most of his life in Saudi Arabia. But some counterterrorism officials are convinced dozens more remain active, including several who may play key roles within bin Laden's network. Their trails are difficult to track; dual citizenship and false passports are common, and they typically have Arabic names, either given or adopted, with multiple spellings. "God knows where the hell they are, because we never found them," says Blitzer. "It's always been a potential time bomb."

They are, to be sure, a tiny minority of the nation's 4 million Muslims. Law enforcement officials stress they see no evidence of a tightly organized "fifth column" among America's diverse Muslim communities. And many jihadists have fought in struggles that the United States either supported or was neutral in--against the Russians in Afghanistan and Chechnya, for example, or against ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. In fact, Americans have long fought in other nations' wars. Such actions may violate the Neutrality Act--which bans fighting against nations with which America is at peace--but the law is rarely enforced. During the late 1930s, for example, nearly 3,000 Americans fought the fascists in Spain's civil war.

But the international jihad movement is different, analysts say. It has become virulently anti-American, anti-Western, and steeped in the kind of absolutist religious fervor that is the hallmark of bin Laden's al Qaeda network. In that, American holy warriors resemble their brethren overseas: They tend to be young, smart, and motivated, often introverted and detached, and ready to risk life and limb. "These are the true believers," says Howard University's Sulayman Nyang, author of Islam in the United States of America. "You feel you are an instrument of God, or part of a historical force."

Call to war. Jihad--literally, "struggle" in Arabic--can also mean one's private spiritual quest. But today it is widely used to connote holy war. And for many, that journey begins in the mosques and Islamic centers of America. There young Muslims may hear imams full of fire and brimstone sermonizing on the persecution of Muslims abroad. They may be handed videos depicting a Muslim world under siege, filled with images of bloodied and broken corpses. Those same images beckon online. Since the mid-1990s, Web sites have spread the call to holy war at cyberspeed. Links like almuhaji roun.com and azzam.com now bring the faithful to harrowing displays of refugees and martyrs in faraway lands. In 2000, a Chechen jihadist Web site, www.qoqaz.net, directed recruits to network quietly: "Anyone interested in going to fight . . . should contact members of their own communities and countries who are known to have been for Jihad. You will know these people and they will know you."

Others proselytize less subtly. For years, the San Diego-based American Islamic Group sent its Islam Report to Internet news groups with its bank account listed. "Supporting Jihad is an Islamic obligation," read one report. Included were communiques from Algeria's terrorist Armed Islamic Group and war reports from Bosnia and Chechnya. In a 1995 Internet posting titled "First American Martyr in Chechnya," the group mourned the loss of Mohammad Zaki, an American killed in Chechnya that year. Zaki was a Washington, D.C., native who ran the group's Chechnya relief effort, his colleagues wrote. The father of four, he reportedly died in a Russian air attack while delivering aid to Chechen villages. U.S. and Russian officials in Moscow have no record of Zaki's death. (Kifah Jayyousi, who was then the San Diego group's head and later facilities chief for the Detroit and Washington, D.C., school districts, could not be located for comment.)

Some jihadists become radicalized overseas, as did Lindh. In the past 25 years, Saudi and Pakistani groups have targeted African-American Muslims, in particular, offering scholarships to study Islam and Arabic in their countries, according to Prof. Lawrence Mamiya, an expert on Islam at New York's Vassar College. "The first step is education, and then they're recruited by more militant groups," he says. "Being in those countries, they come across the oppression those people confront."

New recruits. Once recruited, the jihadists all but disappear. A rare window opened on their world at last year's trial of U.S. Embassy bombers, in which a half-dozen names surfaced of Americans allegedly tied to al Qaeda. Wadih el-Hage, an Arlington, Texas, tire store manager and top bin Laden aide, got some media attention, but others passed unnoticed. There was Mubarak al-Duri, an Iraqi native living in Arizona, who officials say worked with bin Laden's firms in Sudan; Mohamed Bayazid, a Syrian-American who allegedly bought weapons and uranium for al Qaeda; and Abu Osama, an Egyptian-American said to have trained al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. Government witness L'Houssaine Kherchtou testified to knowing "some black Americans" who he believed were al Qaeda associates in Sudan and Pakistan. Perhaps most intriguing were accounts of Abu Malik, a martial arts expert from New York who allegedly fought in Afghanistan and later turned up at al Qaeda's headquarters in Sudan.

U.S. News gained access to records of other American jihadists from some of Pakistan's best-known Islamic schools. There are thousands of these madrasahs, as they are known, and they provided tens of thousands of recruits to the Taliban. One of the most influential, the Haqqania school outside Peshawar, graduated much of the Taliban's senior leadership--along with at least nine Americans. The records are sketchy. In most cases, they list only the student's Arabic name, ethnicity, and home country. In 1995, seven Arab-Americans enrolled in the school, among them Zaid Bin Tufail of North Carolina, Zahid Al-Shafi of Texas, and Ahmed Abi-Bakr of Washington, D.C. All received military training and fought with Taliban units in their drive to unite the country, school officials say. Other students included two African-Americans: a "Dr. Bernard" from New York, who arrived in 1997, and "Abdullah," whose parents left their native Barbados and settled in Michigan; he, too, joined the Taliban and was reported "martyred" near Mazar-e Sharif in 1999 or 2000. None of them, however, shows up in checks of U.S. public records.

Records at another madrasah, the Tajweed-ul-Koran in Quetta, show that three Americans studied there in 1996. Two were African-American--"Omar" and Farooq" are the only names listed in the register--and school officials described the third, "Haidar," as a tall, white fellow, about 25, "with a strong build and small golden beard." The foreigners, they say, left for military training with the Taliban in Kandahar. At another pro-Taliban school in Quetta, the Jamia Hammadia, workers recall a 25-year-old American student from Chicago--Abu Bakar al-Faisal--who arrived in 1995 and died while soldiering with the Taliban in 1999. Al-Faisal, they say, had broken with Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam before coming to Afghanistan. Even sketchier records exist at the Jamia Abi-Bakr school in Karachi, where officials say about a dozen African-Americans studied. The madrasah is linked closely to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Kashmir militia Jibreel al-Amreekee joined.

The best-known American jihadist--John Walker Lindh--attended yet another madrasah. The alienated Lindh, a lawyer's son, discovered Islam online and, like many jihadists, later fell in with Tablighi Jamaat, a Pakistani evangelical group. Although not itself linked to terrorism, Tablighi's radical preaching is thought to have influenced several British citizens now held by U.S. forces in Guantanamo, as well as suspected shoe bomber Richard Reid.

Rocket grenades. Through Tablighi, Lindh ended up at his Pakistani madrasah. At age 19, he finished six months of studies at the pro-Taliban school. His next stop was Harakat ul-Mujahideen--the Jihad Fighters Movement--another Kashmir-focused militia tied to hijackings, kidnappings, and bin Laden's terrorist network. In mid-2001, armed with a Harakat letter of introduction, Lindh presented himself to al Qaeda, where he trained with explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, U.S. officials say. Captured in November and then wounded in a revolt, Lindh stayed true to his views, insisting that martyrdom is "the goal of every Muslim." Today, his hair cut and beard shorn, he sits in an Alexandria, Va., jail, facing charges of murder and terrorism. His attorneys argue he is innocent; they say Lindh never fired on Americans and has constitutional rights to bear arms and associate with radicals like al Qaeda.

Harakat ul-Mujahideen seems to be a favored home for traveling jihadists. Earlier this year, an apparent list of recruits surfaced in a Harakat safe house, bearing the name Hiram Torres--a Puerto Rican from New Jersey missing for years. In 1995, Harakat officials claimed they were hosting several hundred foreign Muslims at their training camps, including 16 Americans. That year, at Harakat offices in Lahore, Pakistan, two Saudis boasted of their own American backgrounds to a reporter. In smooth English, Muhammad Al-Jabeer claimed to be from Chicago, where he'd studied for an M.B.A. His friend, Ahmed Usaid, said he hailed from New Jersey and held a B.S. in computer science. Usaid, Harakat sources say, died in battle near Mazar-e Sharif in 1999 and was buried in Afghanistan.

One well-trod route to jihad leads through London, a city so popular among radical Islamists that some call it Londonistan. This was the apparent path taken by New Yorker Mohammad Junaid. The grandson of Pakistani immigrants, the 26-year-old Junaid surfaced in Pakistan last October, vowing to kill fellow Americans on sight. Sounding much like a New Yorker, Junaid claimed to have grown up listening to Whitney Houston and riding roller coasters. The stocky, spectacled Junaid said he'd left a dot-com job in midtown Manhattan, but even more striking was the claim that his own mother escaped from the ninth floor of the World Trade Center.

None of that lessened his rage at America, which stemmed, he said, from racist taunts at his Bronx high school. At college, Junaid read of how Muslims were under attack worldwide; he later linked up with the London-based al-Muhajiroun (the Emigrants). The group is believed to have sent hundreds of foreign jihadists to Pakistan and Afghanistan, largely by targeting British colleges and immigrant communities. Now banned on U.K. campuses, its leaders have praised the 9/11 attacks and say that America has declared war on Islam. Junaid believes them. "I will kill every American that I see," he vowed to a TV reporter. "I'm not a New Yorker. I'm a Muslim."

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Holy warriors like Junaid deeply worry authorities, but that wasn't always the case. During the Cold War, Washington encouraged the jihad movement in its drive to bog down the Soviets in Afghanistan. As many as 25,000 foreigners answered the call during the 1980s, most notably bin Laden. The majority hailed from Arab nations, but many journeyed from Sudan, Southeast Asia, China, and Great Britain. Others came from the United States, among them dozens of native-born Americans. One, Muhammed Haseeb Abdul-Haqq, was the son of a Baptist preacher in New York. A recent convert to a Pakistani Sufi sect, Muslims of the Americas, Abdul-Haqq rallied fellow Americans to fight the Soviets in the early 1980s. The group set up "jihad councils" across the country and in 1982 sent 12 members to Pakistan, intent on finding their way into battle. "It was amazing for me," recalls Abdul-Haqq. "I had no military training, but I knew what I was doing was for the Almighty."

Fearing an international incident, alarmed U.S. and Pakistani officials stopped the group from entering Afghanistan. But others followed. "We were the spark," says Abdul-Haqq. "Different avenues opened and others got through." Indeed, during the war, a handful of journalists came across Americans fighting alongside the Afghans. Among them was 34-year-old Akhbar Shah, an African-American from Boston found by reporters in 1985. Shah claimed to be a U.S. Army veteran helping the rebels organize training camps and said he'd seen two dozen other black American Muslims in Afghanistan.

Soldiers of Allah. Meanwhile, Abdul-Haqq's Muslims of the Americas continued to preach jihad. The sect's American branch had been founded in 1980 by a charismatic Pakistani cleric, Sheik Mubarik Ali Hasmi Shah Gilani, who appeared at a Brooklyn mosque bedecked with ammunition belts and calling on his mostly African-American converts to wage holy war. A recruitment video from the early 1990s--Soldiers of Allah--depicts would-be guerrillas handling firearms and explosives and shows Gilani boasting how recruits are given "highly specialized training in guerrilla warfare." The organization freely admits sending more than 100 of its members--all U.S. citizens--to Pakistan, but says it was only for religious study. Federal agents believe that dozens also received military training there and that some fought in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Kashmir. It was Gilani whom the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl was seeking before he was murdered--on a tip the cleric was tied to alleged shoe bomber Reid. Gilani was questioned and released.

Gilani's claims of nonviolence would be easier to believe if so many of his followers were not in trouble with the law. Over the years, the group has drawn more than 1,000 members to rural compounds in a half-dozen states. During the 1980s, its followers engaged in a bloody campaign of U.S. bombings and murders, largely against Indian religious figures in America, officials say. Two Muslims of the Americas members were recently convicted on firearms charges, and another was charged with the murder of a deputy sheriff in California. The group's Abdul-Haqq says that these crimes are not typical of his membership and that most occurred many years ago. Law enforcement officials, meanwhile, have found nothing to tie the group to bin Laden's al Qaeda and note that Gilani's Sufism has long been at odds with Taliban-style Islam.

The dream of Gilani and other jihadists to drive the Soviets from Afghanistan came true in 1989. For them, it was a great victory, the triumph of international Islam over a godless superpower. Even as America withdrew its CIA officers and its funding, the emboldened jihadists stayed and plotted new campaigns. Some went on to new battles overseas; some returned to their homelands, such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia, intent on making them strict Islamic states. Others took aim at America, angry over its support of Israel and basing of troops in Saudi Arabia.

On Feb. 26, 1993, their pent-up rage exploded in the form of a 1,200-pound bomb under the World Trade Center, which killed six and injured more than 1,000. That first attempt to topple the twin towers led investigators to a sheik named Omar Abdel Rahman. An Afghan war veteran, Abdel Rahman had been driven from his native Egypt for his ties to terrorism. He arrived in Brooklyn in 1990, and soon, he, too, was preaching holy war at local mosques. More important, Abdel Rahman's followers took control of an obscure "charity" in Brooklyn--the Alkifah Refugee Center. Founded in Pakistan in the early 1980s, Alkifah had scores of branches around the world, including Jersey City, N.J.; Tucson, Ariz.; Boston, and 30 other U.S. cities. Most were little more than storefronts--the Brooklyn one sat atop a Chinese restaurant--but they raised millions of dollars to support the Afghan resistance. And, they sent men along with the money. By 1993, the Brooklyn office alone had sent as many as 200 jihadists from America to join the mujahideen, investigators say.

As agents closed in on Abdel Rahman's network, they were stunned at the number of jihadists heading overseas, says Blitzer, the former FBI counterterrorism chief. "What the hell's going on?" he remembers thinking. Five years after the Soviets had left Afghanistan, the jihad movement was booming in America. "It was like a modern underground railroad," says Neil Herman, who supervised the FBI investigation of the bombing. Most were Arab immigrants, but investigators remember many native-born Americans who frequented the center.

One of those Americans was a bearded black Muslim named Rodney Hampton-el, known to his friends as Dr. Rashid. Hampton-el juggled several roles: He battled local drug dealers on the streets of New York's 67th Precinct, while at his job he worked a dialysis machine in an AIDS ward. By 1988, he'd made his way to Afghanistan and joined the rebels, but he was nearly killed by a land mine. Recuperating in a Long Island hospital, Hampton-el gave a revealing interview to anthropologist Robert Dannin, author of Black Pilgrimage to Islam. A true believer, Hampton-el said his wound was "a blessing" and he hoped to return soon to Afghanistan. "To be injured in jihad is a guarantee that you will go to Paradise," he explained. "Most important of all, you must have faith in order to go. This is the ultimate honor for a true Muslim."

Bomb plots. Within months, Hampton-el was leading workshops on guerrilla warfare for Abdel Rahman's followers in Connecticut and New Jersey. By 1993, there was talk among his group of fighting in Bosnia, but increasingly attention focused on America. Hampton-el offered to supply his friends with bombs and automatic weapons, part of a plot that included attacks on major bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan. He never got the chance. The FBI nabbed Hampton-el, Abdel Rahman, and eight others, who all received heavy prison sentences in 1996.

And what became of the Alkifah Center and its jihadists? The Brooklyn center closed, but the network of other jihad centers remained active, where they helped form the nucleus of bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Indeed, the centers were left largely intact, even in the United States. "They certainly continued on, but were somewhat fragmented," says Herman, the former FBI case agent. Only in the wake of 9/11--eight years after the 1993 attack--did the White House issue an executive order freezing Alkifah's assets.

By then, however, the centers had gone underground. Today, many of the connections are handled informally, through radical members of mosques and Islamic centers, investigators say. But officials believe a network of Islamic charities has also helped fill the void, among them the Illinois-based Benevolence International Foundation. With offices in nine countries and a budget last year of $3.4 million, Benevolence is one of the nation's largest Muslim charities. In December, federal officials froze its assets, and in April they arrested its director, Enaam Arnaout, for allegedly lying about ties to terrorism. They claim that Arnaout, a Syrian-born U.S. citizen, is an Alkifah veteran and longtime bin Laden associate. According to an FBI affidavit, the 39-year-old Arnaout helped send jihadists to Bosnia and nearly $700,000 to Chechen rebels, and directed arms convoys into Afghanistan and Croatia. Arnaout denies any wrongdoing, and his foundation is suing the government to recover its funds.

Whatever the outcome of those cases, the jihad movement in America remains alive and well. And while it is easy enough to dismiss the varied jihadists as adventurers or extremists, most seem motivated by unselfish aims; they care deeply about the suffering of their brethren overseas. What else would propel someone like Jibreel al-Amreekee, the soft-spoken Atlanta teenager, to leave his home, travel 7,000 miles, and get killed fighting a foreign army? "The Muslims don't have any help," says Abdul-Haqq of Muslims of the Americas. "Look at the world's hot spots; look at how many places Muslims are being killed." The problem is balancing their right to intervene against the danger posed by the fanaticism that infects so much of their movement. For now, America seems convinced that the business of jihad needs to come to an end. "The government did too little too late," says Herman. "Had law enforcement looked harder at some of these issues, we wouldn't be talking about it today."

MARTIAL ARTIST

ABU MALIK

Age: Unknown

Last U.S. address: New York

A martial arts expert from New York, Abu Malik's name surfaced repeatedly in last year's federal trial of those behind the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa. Witnesses described him as a jihadist who fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1989.

Malik appeared again in 1993 or '94 in Khartoum, Sudan, at Taba Investments, then a nerve center of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, according to court testimony. Little is known about Malik, whose photo is published above for the first time. One trial witness, bin Laden aide Wadih el-Hage, testified that Malik had a wife and children in Cairo.

Investigators believe he is the most important of a handful of native-born Americans associated with al Qaeda during its Sudan days, before bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in 1996. Federal agents are eager to talk with him.

STUDENT

HIRAM TORRES

Age: 27

Last U.S. Address: Perth Amboy, N.J.

An unlikely jihadist, Hiram Torres, a young Puerto Rican from the working class city of Perth Amboy, N. J., was introverted and bright as a teenager. Torres also played chess and displayed an unhealthy fascination with Adolf Hitler. He pored over books on philosophy, read the Bible and the Koran, and fantasized about being a revolutionary.

The 1993 valedictorian at his high school, Torres went on to Yale University but lasted barely a month. Intrigued by Islam, he found his way to Pakistan and, in 1998, called his mother from Afghanistan to say he was "studying" there. It was the last she would hear of him until a reporter called earlier this year; Torres's name, along with his New Jersey address and phone number, had been found on an apparent list of recruits in a safe house run by Harakat ul-Muhahideen, the same al Qaeda-tied militia that was joined by John Walker Lindh.

SOLDIER

ISA ABDULLAH ALI,

aka Kevin Holt

Age: 45

Last U.S. address: Washington, D.C.

Born Cleven Raphael Holt, Ali grew up in a housing project in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood. After serving with the U.S. Army in Korea, he converted to Islam and joined the Afghan fight against the Soviets. Forced by an injury back to Washington, he soon left for Lebanon, where he worked with the Amal militia and Hezbollah.

At 6 foot 3 and 250 pounds, with a booming voice and bald head, Holt attracted attention and was nearly killed by an assassin in Beirut. He returned to Washington and worked picking up trash at Howard University, but in 1996 U.S. intelligence believed he had joined up with foreign jihadists in Bosnia.

Officials issued warnings about Ali to guards at bases in the region and announced that he was wanted for questioning about "terrorist activities," but no charges were brought against him.

CAR SALESMAN

KHALID ABU AL-DAHAB

Age: 38

Last U.S. address: Santa Clara, Calif.

A former Silicon Valley car salesman, al-Dahab allegedly recruited 10 U.S. citizens into al Qaeda during his 12 years in the Bay Area, according to an account of his statements to an Egyptian military court. Born to a wealthy family in Alexandria, Egypt, al-Dahab became radicalized when his father, a pilot, was shot down after straying into Israeli airspace.

Al-Dahab joined Islamic Jihad, responsible for the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat, and came to America in 1986 on a student visa. Over the next decade he took three American wives, one after another, fathered five children, and became a U.S. citizen. At the same time, he allegedly led a double life, traveling to fight in jihad wars in the Balkans and Afghanistan, including a 1990 trip to train Afghan fighters to use hang gliders to free prisoners in Egypt. Arrested in 1998 in Cairo on terrorism charges, he is now serving a 15-year sentence.

CAB DRIVER

RAED HIJAZI

Age: 33

Last U.S. address: Boston

His father once called him "a typical American." A former Boston cabdriver, Hijazi now sits in a Jordanian jail, sentenced to death by hanging for his role in plotting terrorist attacks over the millennium holiday.

In a plot tied to Osama bin Laden, the heavyset Hijazi allegedly hoped to murder hundreds of Americans, Israelis, and others by bombing Christian holy sites, border crossings, and the Radisson Hotel in Jordan.

Hijazi was born in San Jose, Calif., the son of a San Francisco-educated Palestinian engineer. Although he grew up mostly in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, his family had a love affair with America and vacationed at Disneyland and in Florida. Hijazi fell in with Islamic radicals while studying business at California State University-Sacramento around 1989. He later left for Afghanistan and allegedly studied bomb making at an al Qaeda camp.

BUSINESSMAN

MOHAMED BAYAZID,

aka Abu Rida al Suri

Age: 41

Last U.S. address: Kansas City, Mo.

A nuclear bomb for Osama bin Laden was a key goal for Syrian-American Mohamed Bayazid, according to court records. Using his U.S. passport to travel, Bayazid allegedly worked as a manager for bin Laden's Taba Investments in Khartoum, Sudan, during the early 1990s, buying uranium as well as tractors and automatic weapons. His driver's license listed for his home the same address as Benevolence International, an Illinois-based charity whose assets are now frozen.

Bayazid lived in Kansas City until about 1994 and is now variously reported to be dead or living in Sudan or Turkey. His uncle in Kansas City, Adnan Bayazid, believes his role was limited to buying supplies for the Afghan resistance, and he says that Mohamed grew disillusioned with bin Laden. He warns that officials may have the wrong man. "Mohamed is a very popular name," he says.

With Monica M. Ekman, Jonathan Elliston, Aamir Latif, Michael Reynolds and Kit Roane

This story appears in the June 10, 2002 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.
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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/11/04/MN117081.DTL

Al Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI
Ex-Silicon Valley resident plotted embassy attacks
Lance Williams and Erin McCormick, Chronicle Staff Writers
Sunday, November 4, 2001   

A former U.S. Army sergeant who trained Osama bin Laden's bodyguards and helped plan the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya was a U.S. government informant during much of his terrorist career, according to sources familiar with his case.

Ali Mohamed, an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen and longtime Silicon Valley resident who pleaded guilty last year to terrorism charges, approached the Central Intelligence Agency more than 15 years ago and offered to inform on Middle Eastern terrorist groups, a U.S. government official said.

Later, according to the sources, Mohamed spent years as an FBI informant while concealing his own deep involvement in the al Qaeda terrorist band: training bin Laden's bodyguards and Islamic guerrillas in camps in Afghanistan and the Sudan; bringing Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is bin Laden's chief deputy, to the Bay Area on a covert fund-raising mission; and planning the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, in which more than 200 people died.

The story of Mohamed's dual roles as FBI informant and bin Laden terrorist - - and the freedom he had to operate unchecked in the United States -- illustrates the problems facing U.S. intelligence services as they attempt to penetrate the shadowy, close-knit world of al Qaeda, experts said.

Mohamed "clearly was a double agent," Larry C. Johnson, a former deputy director in the State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism and a onetime CIA employee, said in an interview.

Johnson said the CIA had found Mohamed unreliable and severed its relationship with him shortly after Mohamed approached the agency in 1984. Johnson faulted the FBI for later using Mohamed as an informant, saying the bureau should have recognized that the man was a high-ranking terrorist, deeply involved in plotting violence against the United States and its allies.

"It's possible that the FBI thought they had control of him and were trying to use him, but what's clear is that they did not have control," Johnson said. "The FBI assumed he was their source, but his loyalties lay elsewhere."

The affair was "a study in incompetence, in how not to run an agent," Johnson said.

FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette declined to comment on Mohamed, as did a spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, whose office prosecuted the case of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

A law enforcement source familiar with the case said the FBI had followed appropriate procedures in attempting to obtain crucial information from Mohamed, whom he conceded was "double-dealing" and difficult.

"When you operate assets and informants, they're holding the cards," this source said. "They can choose to be 100 percent honest or 10 percent honest. You don't have much control over them.

"Maybe (the informant) gives you a great kernel of information, and then you can't find him for eight weeks. Is that a management problem? Hindsight is 20/20."

Mohamed, 49, is a former Egyptian Army major, fluent in Arabic and English, who after his arrest became known as bin Laden's "California connection." Last year, when he pleaded guilty in the embassy bombing case, he told a federal judge that he first was drawn to terrorism in 1981, when he joined Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a fundamentalist group implicated in that year's assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

For almost as long as he was a terrorist, Mohamed also was in contact with U.S. intelligence, according to court records and sources.

In 1984, he quit the Egyptian Army to work as a counterterrorism security expert for EgyptAir. After that, he offered to become a CIA informant, said the U.S. government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The agency tried him out, but because he told other possible terrorists or people possibly associated with terrorist groups that he was working for the CIA, clearly he was not suitable," the official said.

The CIA cut off contact with Mohamed and put his name on a "watch list" aimed at blocking his entrance to the United States, according to the official.

Nevertheless, Mohamed got a visa one year later. He ultimately became a U.S.

citizen after marrying a Santa Clara woman. In 1986, he joined the U.S. Army as an enlisted man. He was posted to Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the elite Special Forces.

There he worked as a supply sergeant for a Green Beret unit, then as an instructor on Middle Eastern affairs in the John F. Kennedy special warfare school.

Mohamed's behavior and his background were so unusual that his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, became convinced that he was both a "dangerous fanatic" and an operative of U.S. intelligence.

Anderson, now a businessman in North Carolina, said that on their first meeting in 1988, Mohamed told him, "Anwar Sadat was a traitor and he had to die."

Later that year, Anderson said, Mohamed announced that -- contrary to all Army regulations -- he intended to go on vacation to Afghanistan to join the Islamic guerrillas in their civil war against the Soviets. A month later, he returned, boasting that he had killed two Soviet soldiers and giving away as souvenirs what he claimed were their uniform belts.

Anderson said he wrote detailed reports aimed at getting Army intelligence to investigate Mohamed -- and have him court-martialed and deported -- but the reports were ignored.

"I think you or I would have a better chance of winning Powerball (a lottery), than an Egyptian major in the unit that assassinated Sadat would have getting a visa, getting to California . . . getting into the Army and getting assigned to a Special Forces unit," he said. "That just doesn't happen. "

It was equally unthinkable that an ordinary American GI would go unpunished after fighting in a foreign war, he said.

Anderson said all this convinced him that Mohamed was "sponsored" by a U.S. intelligence service. "I assumed the CIA," he said.

In 1989, Mohamed left the Army and returned to Santa Clara, where he worked as a security guard and at a home computer business.

Between then and his 1998 arrest, he said in court last year, Mohamed was deeply involved in bin Laden's al Qaeda. He spent months abroad, training bin Laden's fighters in camps in Afghanistan and Sudan. While in Africa, he scouted the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, target of the 1998 bombing. In this country,

he helped al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's top aide, enter the country with a fake passport and tour U.S. mosques, raising money later funneled to al Qaeda.

According to Steven Emerson, a terrorism expert and author who has written about the case, Mohamed by the early 1990s had also established himself as an FBI informant.

"He agreed to serve (the FBI) and provide information, but in fact he was working for the bad guys and insulating himself from scrutiny from other law enforcement agencies," Emerson said in an interview.

One particularly troubling aspect of the case, Emerson says, was that Mohamed's role as an FBI informant gave bin Laden important insights into U.S. efforts to penetrate al Qaeda.

The case shows "the sophistication of the bin Laden network, and how they were toying with us," he said.

Some information about the nature of Mohamed's contacts with the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies is contained in an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in New York at the time of his 1998 arrest. The document describes contacts between Mohamed and the FBI and Defense Department officials.

At times, Mohamed made alarming admissions about his links to the al Qaeda terrorists, seemingly without fear of being arrested. Mohamed willfully deceived the agents about his activities, according to the affidavit.

In 1993, the affidavit says, Mohamed was questioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after a bin Laden aide was caught trying to enter the United States with Mohamed's driver's license and a false passport.

Mohamed acknowledged traveling to Vancouver to help the terrorist sneak into the United States and admitted working closely with bin Laden's group. Yet he was so unconcerned about being arrested that he told the Mounties he hoped the interview wouldn't hurt his chances of getting a job as an FBI interpreter.

(According to the affidavit, he had indeed applied for the FBI position but never got it.)

Later that year, Mohamed -- again seemingly without concern for consequences -- told the FBI that he had trained bin Laden followers in intelligence and anti-hijacking techniques in Afghanistan, the affidavit says.

In January 1995, Mohamed applied for a U.S. security clearance, in hopes of becoming a security guard with a Santa Clara defense contractor. His application failed to mention ever traveling to Pakistan or Afghanistan, trips he had told the FBI about earlier. In three interviews with Defense Department officials, who conducted a background check on him, he claimed he had never been a terrorist.

"I have never belonged to a terrorist organization, but I have been approached by organizations that could be called terrorist," he told the interviewers.

According to the affidavit, he told FBI agents in 1997 that he had trained bin Laden's bodyguards, saying he loved bin Laden and believed in him. Mohamed also said it was "obvious" that the United States was the enemy of Muslim people.

In August 1998, after the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, he told the FBI that he knew who did it, but refused to provide the names.

Two weeks later, after lying to a U.S. grand jury investigating the embassy bombings, he was arrested. He pleaded guilty last year, but he has never been sentenced and is once again believed to be providing information to the government -- this time from a prison cell.

"There's a hell of a lot (U.S. officials) didn't know about Ali Mohamed," said Harvey Kushner, a terrorism expert and criminology professor at the University of Long Island. "He infiltrated our armed services and duped them."

Yet, Kushner said, such duplicitous interactions may be a necessary component of intelligence work.

"I hate to say it, but these relationships are something we should be involved in more of. That's the nasty (part) of covert operations. We're not dealing with people we can trust."

E-mail the reporters at emccormick@sfchronicle.com and lmwilliams@sfchronicle. com.

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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« Reply #722 on: October 24, 2008, 08:14:46 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/washington/14spy.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

November 14, 2007
C.I.A. Officer Admits Guilt Over Hezbollah Files

By PHILIP SHENON
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — A Lebanese-born C.I.A. officer who had previously worked as an F.B.I. agent pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges that she illegally sought classified information from government computers about the radical Islamic group Hezbollah.

The plea agreement by the defendant, Nada Nadim Prouty, appeared to expose grave flaws in the methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct background checks on its investigators.

Ms. Prouty, 37, who also confessed that she had fraudulently obtained American citizenship, faces up to 16 years in prison.

Court papers do not specifically say why Ms. Prouty sought information about Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group that is based in southern Lebanon, from the F.B.I.’s computer case files in June 2003, the month she left the bureau to join the C.I.A.

There is no accusation in the documents that she passed information on to Hezbollah or any other extremist group.

The plea agreement noted, however, that Ms. Prouty’s sister and her brother-in-law attended a fund-raising event in Lebanon in August 2002 at which the keynote speaker was Sheikh Muhammed Hussein Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hezbollah. Sheikh Fadlallah has been designated by the United States government as a terrorist leader.

The plea agreement said that in 2003 Ms. Prouty specifically went searching for computerized case files maintained by the F.B.I.’s Detroit field office in an investigation that centered on Hezbollah although she “was not assigned to work on Hezbollah cases as part of her F.B.I. duties and she was not authorized by her supervisor, the case agent assigned to the case, or anybody else to access information about the investigation in question.”

The C.I.A. would not describe Ms. Prouty’s duties at the agency, apart from describing her as a “midlevel” employee, nor would it say if she traveled abroad as part of her duties or had been considered undercover.

Government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the investigation with reporters, said Ms. Prouty was an “operations” officer at the C.I.A., meaning she was involved in some way in basic espionage work, not as an analyst or translator.

As part of the plea agreement, she agreed to resign from the C.I.A. and give up any claim to American citizenship.

“It is fitting that she now stands to lose both her citizenship and her liberty,” Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general, said in announcing the guilty plea, which was entered in Federal District Court in Detroit.

Mr. Wainstein, who runs the Justice Department’s national security division, said Ms. Prouty “engaged in a pattern of deceit to secure U.S. citizenship, to gain employment in the intelligence community and to obtain and exploit her access to sensitive counterterrorism intelligence.”

She pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal conspiracy, which has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; unauthorized computer access, which has a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and naturalization fraud, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In her plea agreement, Ms. Prouty, who lived mostly recently in Vienna, Va., close to the C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va, acknowledged that her crimes began shortly after she entered the United States from Lebanon in June 1989 on a one-year student visa.

She acknowledged that after overstaying her visa, she had illegally offered money to an unemployed American man to marry her in 1990, which allowed her to remain in the United States as his wife, although the couple never lived together.

She then submitted a series of false and forged documents to obtain American citizenship, which she was granted in 1994. She obtained a divorce the next year and worked in a series of jobs, including as a waitress and hostess in a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants in the Detroit area owned by her brother-in-law.

In 1997, she was hired as a special agent of the F.B.I., which has been under pressure for years to hire more agents and other employees who speak Arabic for terrorism investigations. She was assigned to the bureau’s Washington field office, given a security clearance and placed in “an extraterritorial squad investigating crimes against U.S. persons overseas,” the Justice Department said in a statement to reporters.

Ms. Prouty acknowledged two sets of illegal computer searches at the F.B.I. The first, in September 2002, involved case files that contained her name, her sister’s name or her brother-in-law’s name. The second, in June 2003, involved files from a national-security investigation of Hezbollah that was being conducted in Detroit, which has one of the nation’s largest Arabic-speaking communities.

The court papers say Ms. Prouty’s crimes first became known to the F.B.I. in December 2005 and have been under investigation for nearly two years. The documents suggest that she came under scrutiny as part of an investigation of her brother-in-law, Talal Khalil Chahine, in a scheme to funnel millions of dollars from his restaurant to people in Lebanon. Mr. Chahine is a fugitive from tax evasion charges filed in Michigan.
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« Reply #723 on: October 24, 2008, 08:19:19 PM »

http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2003/09/04/2003-09-04_9-11_book__terror_link_insid.html

9-11 BOOK: TERROR LINK INSIDE FDNY
By TRACY CONNOR DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, September 4th 2003, 8:02AM

A hero fire marshal killed in the terror attacks told the FBI of his suspicions about an Egyptian-born FDNY employee who associated with terrorists - but his warning was ignored, a new book claims.
The book, "1000 Years for Revenge" by Peter Lance, contends the feds missed opportunities to stop the attacks.
But New York FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette slammed Lance's book as a "rehash of old stories, gossip and speculation."
One thread of the book follows Fire Department veteran Ronnie Bucca and his suspicions about a department accountant, Ahmed Amin Refai.
Bucca began investigating Refai in 1999, after Refai filed a bogus report to get a new building identification pass for department headquarters, the book says.
Bucca was alarmed by Refai's association with Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind sheik convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The marshal uncovered TV footage of Refai escorting Abdel-Rahman through a crowd at a New Jersey mosque and learned he was also acquainted with El Sayed A Nosair, who assassinated Jewish Defense League leader Meir Kahane in 1990.
That year, Refai took a pile of Trade Center blueprints that had been tossed out by the FDNY, the book says. When the complex was bombed, Refai called in sick, Lance reports.
Now retired, Refai denied any wrongdoing. He admitted to Lance that he met Abdel-Rahman and other terror figures but said he wasn't close to them. He also denied taking the blueprints and blamed the attacks on a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy.
The FBI is now investigating Refai, the book says. Valiquette declined comment yesterday on any probe.
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« Reply #724 on: October 24, 2008, 08:26:01 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/22/AR2008042201994.html

Probation For Sergeant Who Misused Databases
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 23, 2008; Page B01

A Fairfax County police sergeant was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Alexandria to two years' probation for his admission that he checked police databases for someone who was the target of a federal terrorism case.

Sgt. Weiss Rasool, 31, initially faced up to six months in jail, but federal prosecutors urged U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry R. Poretz to consider as much as a year of jail time after Rasool took a lie-detector test last week and "was not fully compliant" with the test procedures. Prosecutors also said in a motion filed with the court that FBI agents "do not believe that he has been truthful."

Before sentencing, Rasool stood and wept as he admitted breaking the law.

"If I could turn back time, I would maybe do things different," he said. "It was an error in judgment. I never intended for things to turn out this way. I don't know what to say to you or anyone. . . . I admit I made errors of judgment. But I never intended to put anybody's life at risk."



The police sergeant said after the sentencing that he hopes to remain with the Fairfax department. A misdemeanor conviction does not automatically disqualify him from continuing with the force. Rasool remains on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Fairfax police said.

In June 2005, when federal agents had a Fairfax man under surveillance, the man apparently asked Rasool to check the license plates of three vehicles he thought were following him. Rasool's lawyer described the man as a member of Rasool's mosque.

According to court records, Rasool checked the databases and left the following voice-mail message for the man:

"Umm, as I told you, I can only tell you if it comes back to a person or not a person, and all three vehicles did not come back to an individual person. So, I just wanted to give you that much."

The three vehicles were undercover FBI vehicles, according to a letter from the FBI filed in court yesterday, and Rasool's message "likely alerted the subject of the FBI investigation which had a disruptive effect on the pending counterterrorism case." Prosecutors said the vehicles were listed with a leasing company, which an experienced officer might have known was an indicator of law enforcement vehicles.

The target was arrested in November 2005, then convicted and deported, according to court filings in Rasool's case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanine Linehan said that the target and his family were already dressed and destroying evidence at 6 a.m. when agents arrived to make the arrest, indicating that they had been tipped off. The target's name and the charges against him have not been disclosed.

In October 2007, the FBI confronted Rasool about his computer inquiries on the man's behalf. According to a brief written by Linehan, Rasool denied knowing the man. When presented with the recording of his message for the man, Rasool admitted checking the databases, Linehan wrote.

Linehan also noted that Rasool made computer inquiries about himself, through the National Crime Information Center system, about 17 times in 18 months, purportedly to see whether his name appeared on the terrorism watch list. His lawyer, James W. Hundley, said Rasool checked the database because of increased scrutiny of Muslims in the United States after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In January, Rasool pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized computer access. He acknowledged checking his name and those of family members on the Violent Crime and Terrorist Offender File, maintained within the NCIC system, but said he did so to be sure the names were not there by mistake.

Hundley said that Rasool did not remember making the computer inquiries for the investigative target, and that Rasool did not tip off the target to his impending arrest.

Rasool's lawyer filed character-reference letters from Rasool's friends, family and co-workers, including Lt. Susan Lamar, the assistant commander of the McLean station, where Rasool worked. Lamar wrote that, compared with similar computer violations by Fairfax officers, Rasool's "seems to be the least significant."

Poretz told Rasool that some of his conduct "appears to strain credulity, to this court." But he declined to consider a sentencing range of six to 12 months in jail and gave Rasool credit for "acceptance of responsibility," a key factor in federal sentencing guidelines.

The magistrate judge then offered a stern analysis, saying: "What we have here is a defendant doing stupid things. What we have here is a credibility issue as to the defendant." But he found no evidence that Rasool intended to disrupt the federal investigation.

He placed the sergeant on two years of supervised probation and fined him $1,000.

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« Reply #725 on: October 24, 2008, 08:43:24 PM »

Oh great moderator in the sky, please explain what the last six posts by GM have to do with the 2008 Presidential Race.....
I think GM had one too many beers and his finger stuck on the cut and paste buttons, but he got the post wrong...
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« Reply #726 on: October 24, 2008, 08:48:37 PM »

911 Dispatcher Arrested for Accessing Websites With Terrorist Information

A 911 dispatcher, Nadire Zelenaj, has been arrested for using computers at work to access secure government websites containing information about suspected terrorists.

Now the FBI wants to know what she did with that sensitive information.

The employee was hired in 2002 after the September 11 terrorist attack. 911 computers allow employees to access a secured police data site with criminal information.

However, Zelenaj was using that access for personal reasons.

Police say she accessed information from a terrorist watch list.

They tracked her movements in a two-year period between January ‘06 and December ‘07 and say she visited that site at least 232 times.

Richard Vega of the Office of Public Integrity said that at the present, they can only suspect what she’s been up to.

What we do know is — now the FBI is involved. Agents would not comment other than to say it’s part of a larger investigation.

Zelenaj has been charged with 232 felony counts of computer trespass and one count of official misconduct. She was fired in December.

A co-worker saw her on the site and became suspicious. From there, it was easy to track her computer movements.
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« Reply #727 on: October 24, 2008, 09:00:14 PM »

Oh great moderator in the sky, please explain what the last six posts by GM have to do with the 2008 Presidential Race.....
I think GM had one too many beers and his finger stuck on the cut and paste buttons, but he got the post wrong...

**You posted the article about "Muslim-Americans" bemoaning "All I want is for one of the candidates to assure me and the American public that "Muslim" and "American" are not mutually exclusive terms."

Unfortunately "muslim" and loyal American sometimes are mutually exclusive terms, as my posts demonstrate.**
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« Reply #728 on: October 24, 2008, 09:08:54 PM »

Ahhh my one article directly related to the elections; your six plus one had nothing to do with the elections.  This post is about the 2008 Presidential Race. 
Not the dump on Muslim post.  Where is the moderator when you need him?   grin
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« Reply #729 on: October 24, 2008, 09:10:53 PM »

**Is it "dumping on muslims" to raise the issue of loyalty to this nation? Why would Americans who are muslim do such things?**


Former Navy sailor arrested on terror charge

By Dennis Wagner, The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX — A former U.S. sailor was arrested Wednesday on charges that he took part in a conspiracy to kill military personnel by giving suspected terrorists information about American ship movements in the Middle East in 2001.
Hassan Abujihaad, 31, who served aboard the destroyer USS Benfold from 1998 to 2002, also allegedly sent e-mails to a terrorist website, according to the Justice Department. The e-mails applauded Osama bin Laden and praised al-Qaeda's attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

Abujihaad, formerly known as Paul Hall, was arrested in Phoenix, FBI spokeswoman Deb McCarley said. He will be sent to Connecticut to face charges in federal court.

According to court records, Abujihaad linked up by Internet with British nationals Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan through a London organization known as Azzam Publications. Ahmad and Ahsan also are under federal indictment. The government says Azzam had an intelligence and fundraising role in terrorism.

Scotland Yard agents searched Ahmad's residence in 2003 and found classified information about a Navy battle group. According to court records, Abujihaad had sent detailed intelligence from the Benfold to Azzam in 2001, nine months after the Cole attack, which killed 17 sailors.

Abujihaad's messages allegedly said the battle group would pass through the entrance to the Persian Gulf, in 19 days, adding: "They have nothing to stop a small craft with RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) etc. except their Seals' stinger missiles … Please destroy message."

Abujihaad received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 2002, according to an FBI affidavit. Abujihaad's alleged role was first reported in news media 27 months ago, but no charges were filed at the time. Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, wouldn't comment on what delayed the indictment.

In December, the case against Abujihaad apparently received a boost after the arrest of Derrick Shareef, 22, of Genoa, Ill. Shareef, who lived with Abujihaad in 2004, was accused of planning to use grenades to attack a mall. An informer who became acquainted with Shareef helped the FBI set up a sting against Abujihaad.

Amid reports in 2004 of Ahmad's arrest, Abujihaad turned to the Council on American-Islamic Relations for support. Deedra Abboud, then executive director at the council's Arizona office, said at the time that Abujihaad told her he sent e-mails critical of U.S. foreign policy to Azzam, but denied divulging classified information.

Contributing: The Associated Press.
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« Reply #730 on: October 24, 2008, 09:51:17 PM »

**Ok, JDN. Is this just "dumping on muslims"? Is there a legitimate concern?**


http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2007/02/noureddine_malk.html

February 15, 2007

Mr. X/Noureddine Malki: The Perpetual Risk (& Likelihood) With Muslim Translators

Printer Friendly

By Debbie Schlussel

I'm constantly being told by Pan-Islamists about all of the Muslim Arabic translators and soldiers we have and how patriotic and dedicated they are to America.

Actually, their numbers aren't so large, and their patriotism, well . . . . I think the many stories we've had about Muslim soldiers--from Wassef Ali Hassoun (who faked his kidnapping in Iraq, went AWOL, twice, and is now on the NCIS Most Wanted List) to Assan Akbar (who shot at fellow American soldiers in the name of Islam) and a host of similar others (Ahmad Al-Halabi, Ali Mohamed, Ryan Anderson, Semi Osman, John A. Muhammad, Jeffrey Leon Battle, etc., etc., ad nauseam)--makes the case otherwise.

The latest story--about Army Arabic translator Mr. X a/k/a Noureddine Malki a/k/a Almaliki Nour a/k/a Abu Hakim a/k/a Abdulhakeem Nour--makes the same case, ie., that we must be suspicious, instead of bending over backwards to welcome those whose co-religionists around the world (and here) are openly bent on our destruction.


The story of the Muslim Arabic translator Mr. X--we don't even know his real name--is chronicled in an AP report in New York Daily News, which I strangely didn't see in any of my print newspapers.

Mr. X/"Malki" deliberately hid information about insurgents, their location, and the location of their weaponry. By doing so, he knowingly cost American soldiers their lives. Plainly, this Muslim translator is a mass-murderer of Americans. Even worse, he is believed to have provided classified Coalition Forces intelligence (which he illegally downloaded) to insurgents in the Sunni Triangle. Again, he's a mass-murderer.

More incredible is that this man was allowed to become a U.S. citizen and a translator despite professing allegiance to Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks. Prosecutors have made no attempt to strip him of his citizenship, which was likely obtained under false pretenses.

He should be given the death penalty (a little torture first would be appropriate). But, instead, he'll only do a maximum of 60 years . . . if we're lucky. Who is responsible for hiring this man? That's another person who should be tried, if it can be shown he/she knew of the man's open loyalty to Al-Qaeda and hatred of America. If so, that person is an accessory to mass murder.

More:

A former Arabic translator for the Army in Iraq pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally possessing secret documents detailing the 82nd Airborne Division's mission against insurgents.
Among the documents was a report with precise information about U.S. weaponry and targets, court papers said. Another document contained "information about 82nd Airborne strategies for interfacing with various tribal groups in Iraq," the court papers added.

The defendant, who goes by the name Noureddine Malki, also pleaded guilty in 2005 to using an alias, Almaliki Nour, while becoming a U.S. citizen. Authorities say his true identity remains unknown.

He faces up to 60 years in prison for both charges, prosecutors said. No sentencing date was set.

U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said the case demonstrated the importance of "safeguarding military plans and intelligence."

The 47-year-old defendant, who had been scheduled to go to trial next week, "fraudulently obtained security clearances and then stole classified military information," Mauskopf said in a statement.

Using his false identity, the defendant was hired in 2003 by a contractor as a translator and interpreter for an intelligence unit of the 82nd Airborne stationed in the Sunni Triangle, authorities said. After he returned to the United States, authorities discovered the documents - some marked "secret" - during a 2005 raid on his Brooklyn apartment.

While entering his plea in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday, the defendant admitted he knew he was not authorized to have the documents and made no attempt to return them, said his lawyer, Mildred Whalen.

The defense attorney said her client did not address a motive. She declined further comment.

In a memo filed last week, prosecutors had warned that if the defendant professed his loyalty to the United States at trial, they would present evidence that he supported al-Qaida and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The evidence included propaganda downloaded from the Internet to his computer, the memo said.

Prosecutors also said they would argue the defendant "had an opportunity to provide stolen classified information to anti-coalition forces" because he was in phone and e-mail contact with people in the Sunni Triangle, including Sunni sheiks who gave him thousands of dollars in bribes.

"Religion of Peace." "Loyal Americans." "Very Patriotic." Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Thanks to reader Kent for the tip. He writes:

His true identity is unknown? What the hell was he doing having any access to anything without having been vetted?
Amen. Why? I think we all know the answer: Political correctness in favor of Muslims--at the cost of safety and security.

It'll kill ya, every time.

More info in The Washington Post.
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« Reply #731 on: October 25, 2008, 02:26:57 AM »

Woof:

The "Great Moderator in the Sky" is in the back of the van in the dark on a laptop wireless connection.  Without reading them all, my snap impression is that each article is designed to address particular points of the article by the Harvard woman Muslim seriatim.  As is his wont, GM facilitates the misunderstanding by not including a one or two sentence description of the article e.g. The author mentions this Muslim Congressman.  Let's take a look at who he really is in this article." or something that would clue the read in as to why the article is there.

Anyway, I'm to bed soon.  You two will have to hash this out on your own. evil cheesy

TAC,
Marc
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« Reply #732 on: October 25, 2008, 09:35:07 AM »

Unfortunately "muslim" and loyal American sometimes are mutually exclusive terms, as my posts demonstrate.**[/b]

And unfortunately "Christian" and loyal American sometimes are mutually exclusive terms.  Should I cut and paste a dozen long articles on this subject too?  Would it be
relevant on the 2008 Presidential Race Post Page?

My point about extreme cut and paste was that your numerous articles do not relate to this particular post, i.e. The 2008 Presidential Race.  Controversial perhaps,
and perhaps worthy of discussion on the Islam in America Post Page, but not the 2008 Presidential Election Race Post.  As I indirectly acknowledged,
your one article pertaining to the Muslim Congressman does; it is relevant, on target, and brings up interesting points, but the rest of your articles do not even mention the upcoming election.
Just another example of "if you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your $%^&*".  Or "throw enough $%^&* against the wall and hope something will stick".
 

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« Reply #733 on: October 25, 2008, 04:17:16 PM »

Unfortunately "muslim" and loyal American sometimes are mutually exclusive terms, as my posts demonstrate.**[/b]

And unfortunately "Christian" and loyal American sometimes are mutually exclusive terms.  Should I cut and paste a dozen long articles on this subject too? 

**Yes, please cut and paste all the articles you can find where christians betrayed this nation to assist christian terrorists making war on American motivated by christian theology. BTW, what is the current body count inflicted on the US by christian terrorists?**

Would it be
relevant on the 2008 Presidential Race Post Page?

**It would, if the US were currently engaged in a war with a global movement by christians to impose christian dominance by force globally, and the US had suffered thousands of fatalities from christian terrorists while other christians worked to subvert the US, and then I posted an article bemoaning the bad rap christians are getting from the mainstream. Then it would be relevant.**


My point about extreme cut and paste was that your numerous articles do not relate to this particular post, i.e. The 2008 Presidential Race.  Controversial perhaps,
and perhaps worthy of discussion on the Islam in America Post Page, but not the 2008 Presidential Election Race Post.  As I indirectly acknowledged,
your one article pertaining to the Muslim Congressman does; it is relevant, on target, and brings up interesting points, but the rest of your articles do not even mention the upcoming election.
Just another example of "if you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your $%^&*".  Or "throw enough $%^&* against the wall and hope something will stick".
 
**It is relevant, as the left loves to play the "poor muslim" card, such as your post on muslims and the presidential race. The bad reputation islam has is the direct result of the oppression and violence inherent in islamic theology, which you love to ignore because it doesn't fit your politically correct narrative.**

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« Reply #734 on: October 26, 2008, 07:53:23 PM »

Which is why it would be helpful to precede posts of articles with a sentence or three description of why you are posting the article  smiley
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« Reply #735 on: October 26, 2008, 08:08:10 PM »

Yes sir. You are correct.
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« Reply #736 on: October 27, 2008, 02:53:03 AM »

Drudge is linking to this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck

Will this have an effect on the race?
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« Reply #737 on: October 27, 2008, 07:05:29 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/27/smells-like-socialist-spirit/

Smells Like Socialist Spirit
posted at 7:24 am on October 27, 2008 by Ed Morrissey   


If people thought Joe the Plumber was some kind of stumble for Barack Obama, a rediscovered interview from 2001 should dispel any doubts about Barack Obama’s redistributionism.  Seven years ago, Obama told Chicago Public Radio that the Warren Court was too conservative and missed its opportunity to redistribute wealth on a much grander scale.  In fact, Obama wanted them to break the Constitution and reorder American society far outside of what the founders intended.

Stop the ACLU has the transcript (via Michelle):


If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society.

To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that. …

I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn’t structured that way.

People have assumed that Obama merely offered a rhetorical stumble, and Obama and Joe Biden have strenuously attacked anyone that claimed he intended to bring about radical socialist change.  This sounds very much like socialism and radical change, and there is no mistaking the context of this statement.  While Obama recognizes in this passage that the judiciary doesn’t have the “structure” to make radical changes to the Constitution, he doesn’t sound at all happy about it.

Instead, Obama sees community organizing as the essential path to move from a Constitution of personal liberties to a Constitution of federal mandates.  He wants a new governing document that essentially forces both the federal and state governments to redistribute wealth, and he sees that as the natural outcome of the civil rights movement.  That certainly smells of socialism on a far grander scale than ever attempted in the US, with the New Deal and Great Societies looking like pale imitations of Obama’s vision.

In fact, as Jeff Goldstein notes, that’s almost classic Marxism, and it would leave America somewhere to the left of 1970s France:

In Obama’s America, we’ll finally be able to break free of the “constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution” — and in so doing, achieve “social justice” through “redistributive change.”

Well, then. Fine .

But this is not the America I knew…

The government does not exist to determine the acceptable level of wealth of its individual citizens.  For government to assume that role, it would have to end private property rights and assume all property belonged to the State.  That is classic Marxism, and as Barbara West of WFTV noted, it runs in Marx’s classic philosophy of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”.  That economic direction has been an abject failure everywhere it has been tried, and in many cases resulted in famines that killed millions of people.

The RNC and the McCain campaign has to get these quotes out to the American public in the final week of this election.

Update: One more clarifying thought is in order.  Barack Obama complains that the Constitution is a “charter of negative liberties”.  That’s because the Constitution was intended as a limiting document, to curtail the power of the federal government vis-a-vis the states and the individual.  The founders intended at the time to limit the reach of the federal government, and built the Constitution accordingly.

Barack Obama wants to reverse that entirely.  And that’s radical change you’d better believe in, or else.
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« Reply #738 on: October 27, 2008, 09:56:44 AM »

Thank you Mark Levin on talk radio to opening my eyes to how leftist and truly Marxist BO is.  Unfortunately he speaks to the choir and the mainstream garbage media (who by the way is making fortunes on this election campaign by not doing their job) has ignored BOs hazy, fuzzy, past.

He obviously doesn't like our country the way it is or the principles it was founded on and kept it great for 200+ years.
Neither did/does his angry wife.

MSM did not do their job in getting his real past into the open.
He surrounded himself with radicals for one reason and one reason only.  He agrees with them. This is not rocket science.

I may be sorry that the Hill didn't win.  BO may just be far worse.

Ths country has fallen for him hook line and sinker.  Yet the country is right to be disgusted with the Republicans too. 

I can only hope it is not too late for McCain but it probably is.  The MSM and Academia who are teaching our young the propapaganda gobbly goop that the US is to be despised has contributed to this.





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« Reply #739 on: October 27, 2008, 10:17:11 AM »

"Unfortunately he speaks to the choir"

I meant Mark Levin , not BO.

Levins message does not get out to the general public.

Can you imagine if the DEms subvert freedom of speech and get the fairness doctrine back into law - which they WILL do if McCain can't stop them.

The media which would be their only check will also be controlled by the government.  How doumb the young are.  They have no clue.  They just dream of love peace and equality while their parents foot the bills.
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« Reply #740 on: October 29, 2008, 10:19:07 AM »

“Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama has been measuring for his White House curtains for months. Now, big plans have been made public for his $2 million election night victory party in Chicago. Sen. Obama is even talking quite candidly about his transition plans. And why not? After all, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has Obama leading Republican nominee John McCain by 13 percentage points among both registered and likely voters. Of course, Obama’s largest cheering section—Big Media—long has been in the tank for the junior senator of Illinois. Even the liberal Pew Research Center finds that Obama’s ratio of favorable stories to overall stories was more than 2 1/2 times as large as Sen. McCain’s. But you might be surprised to learn that not every poll considers Obama’s coronation a fait accompli. An Associated Press poll has the race in a statistical dead heat. And the IBD/TIPP poll, considered to have been the most accurate in the 2004 presidential race, has Obama with a mere 1.1 percentage point lead, 44.8 percent to 43.7 percent with 11.6 percent undecided. Thus, the race for president is far closer than the media masses have led you to believe. And how delicious it would be if the media’s ‘election’ of Barack Obama suppresses his numbers and leads to an Electoral College landslide for John McCain. Talk about being hoisted by your own petard.” —Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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« Reply #741 on: October 29, 2008, 11:19:19 AM »

A "Dewey defeats Truman" result would be very, very sweet.
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« Reply #742 on: October 30, 2008, 07:24:41 AM »

Don't Let the Polls Affect Your Vote
They were wrong in 2000 and 2004.By KARL ROVEArticle
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There has been an explosion of polls this presidential election. Through yesterday, there have been 728 national polls with head-to-head matchups of the candidates, 215 in October alone. In 2004, there were just 239 matchup polls, with 67 of those in October. At this rate, there may be almost as many national polls in October of 2008 as there were during the entire year in 2004.

Some polls are sponsored by reputable news organizations, others by publicity-eager universities or polling firms on the make. None have the scientific precision we imagine.

For example, academics gathered by the American Political Science Association at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington on Aug. 31, 2000, to make forecasts declared that Al Gore would be the winner. Their models told them so. Mr. Gore would receive between 53% and 60% of the two-party vote; Gov. George W. Bush would get between just 40% and 47%. Impersonal demographic and economic forces had settled the contest, they said. They were wrong.

Right now, all the polls show Barack Obama ahead of John McCain, but the margins vary widely (in part because some polls use an "expanded" definition of a likely voter, while others use a "traditional" polling model, which assumes turnout will mirror historical trends but with a higher turnout among African-Americans and young voters).

On Monday, there were seven nationwide polls, with the candidates as close as three points in the Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll and as far apart as 10 points in Gallup's "expanded" model. On Tuesday, the Gallup "traditional" model poll had the candidates separated by two points and the Pew poll had them separated by 15. On Wednesday, Battleground, Rasmussen and Gallup "traditional" model polls had the candidates separated by three points while Diageo/Hotline and Gallup "expanded" model polls had the spread at seven points.

Polls can reveal underlying or emerging trends and help campaigns decide where to focus. The danger is that commentators use them to declare a race over before the votes are in. This can demoralize the underdog's supporters, depressing turnout. I know that from experience.

About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy making process.

Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon & Schuster. Email the author at Karl@Rove.com or visit him on the web at Rove.com.
On election night in 2000 Al Hunt -- then a columnist for this newspaper and a commentator on CNN -- was the first TV talking head to erroneously declare that Florida's polls had closed, when those in the Panhandle were open for another hour. Shortly before 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Judy Woodruff said: "A big call to make. CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column."

Mr. Hunt and Ms. Woodruff were not only wrong. What they did was harmful. We know, for example, that turnout in 2000 compared to 1996 improved more in states whose polls had closed by the time Ms. Woodruff all but declared the contest over. The data suggests that as many as 500,000 people in the Midwest and West didn't bother to vote after the networks indicated Florida cinched the race for Mr. Gore.

I recall, too, the media's screwup in 2004, when exit-polling data leaked in the afternoon. It showed President Bush losing Pennsylvania by 17 points, New Hampshire by 18, behind among white males in Florida, and projected South Carolina and Colorado too close to call. It looked like the GOP would be wiped out.

Bob Shrum famously became the first to congratulate Sen. John Kerry by addressing him as "President Kerry." Commentators let the exit polls color their coverage for hours until their certainty was undone by actual vote tallies.

Polls have proliferated this year in part because it is much easier for journalists to devote the limited space in their papers or on TV to the horse-race aspect of the election rather than its substance. And I admit, I've aided and abetted this process.

In the campaign's final week, though, the candidates can offer little new substance, so attention turns to the political landscape, and there's no question Mr. McCain is in a difficult place.

The last national poll that showed Mr. McCain ahead came out Sept. 25 and the 232 polls since then have all shown Mr. Obama leading. Only one time in the past 14 presidential elections has a candidate won the popular vote and the Electoral College after trailing in the Gallup Poll the week before the election: Ronald Reagan in 1980.

But the question that matters is the margin. If Mr. McCain is down by 3%, his task is doable, if difficult. If he's down by 9%, his task is essentially impossible. In truth, however, no one knows for sure what kind of polling deficit is insurmountable or even which poll is correct. All of us should act with the proper understanding that nothing is yet decided.

As for me, I've already cast my absentee ballot in Kerr County, Texas -- joyfully, enthusiastically marking the straight Republican column. I would like to have joined the line Tuesday outside the polling place in Ingram, where I've been registered the past few years. But I will be in New York, part of the vast horde analyzing exit polls, dissecting returns, and pontificating on consequences. I'll thoroughly enjoy myself that night, and probably feel guilty the next morning. But this year's 728 national polls and the thousands of state polls made me do it.

Mr. Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
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« Reply #743 on: October 31, 2008, 01:11:51 PM »

It's time
Oct 30th 2008
From The Economist print edition

America should take a chance and make Barack Obama the next leader of the free world

IT IS impossible to forecast how important any presidency will be. Back in 2000 America stood tall as the undisputed superpower, at peace with a generally admiring world. The main argument was over what to do with the federal government’s huge budget surplus. Nobody foresaw the seismic events of the next eight years. When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack.

For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.

Thinking about 2009 and 2017

The immediate focus, which has dominated the campaign, looks daunting enough: repairing America’s economy and its international reputation. The financial crisis is far from finished. The United States is at the start of a painful recession. Some form of further fiscal stimulus is needed (see article), though estimates of the budget deficit next year already spiral above $1 trillion. Some 50m Americans have negligible health-care cover. Abroad, even though troops are dying in two countries, the cack-handed way in which George Bush has prosecuted his war on terror has left America less feared by its enemies and less admired by its friends than it once was.

Yet there are also longer-term challenges, worth stressing if only because they have been so ignored on the campaign. Jump forward to 2017, when the next president will hope to relinquish office. A combination of demography and the rising costs of America’s huge entitlement programmes—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—will be starting to bankrupt the country (see article). Abroad a greater task is already evident: welding the new emerging powers to the West. That is not just a matter of handling the rise of India and China, drawing them into global efforts, such as curbs on climate change; it means reselling economic and political freedom to a world that too quickly associates American capitalism with Lehman Brothers and American justice with Guantánamo Bay. This will take patience, fortitude, salesmanship and strategy.

At the beginning of this election year, there were strong arguments against putting another Republican in the White House. A spell in opposition seemed apt punishment for the incompetence, cronyism and extremism of the Bush presidency. Conservative America also needs to recover its vim. Somehow Ronald Reagan’s party of western individualism and limited government has ended up not just increasing the size of the state but turning it into a tool of southern-fried moralism.

The selection of Mr McCain as the Republicans’ candidate was a powerful reason to reconsider. Mr McCain has his faults: he is an instinctive politician, quick to judge and with a sharp temper. And his age has long been a concern (how many global companies in distress would bring in a new 72-year-old boss?). Yet he has bravely taken unpopular positions—for free trade, immigration reform, the surge in Iraq, tackling climate change and campaign-finance reform. A western Republican in the Reagan mould, he has a long record of working with both Democrats and America’s allies.

If only the real John McCain had been running

That, however, was Senator McCain; the Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated. The fiscal conservative who once tackled Mr Bush over his unaffordable tax cuts now proposes not just to keep the cuts, but to deepen them. The man who denounced the religious right as “agents of intolerance” now embraces theocratic culture warriors. The campaigner against ethanol subsidies (who had a better record on global warming than most Democrats) came out in favour of a petrol-tax holiday. It has not all disappeared: his support for free trade has never wavered. Yet rather than heading towards the centre after he won the nomination, Mr McCain moved to the right.

Meanwhile his temperament, always perhaps his weak spot, has been found wanting. Sometimes the seat-of-the-pants method still works: his gut reaction over Georgia—to warn Russia off immediately—was the right one. Yet on the great issue of the campaign, the financial crisis, he has seemed all at sea, emitting panic and indecision. Mr McCain has never been particularly interested in economics, but, unlike Mr Obama, he has made little effort to catch up or to bring in good advisers (Doug Holtz-Eakin being the impressive exception).

The choice of Sarah Palin epitomised the sloppiness. It is not just that she is an unconvincing stand-in, nor even that she seems to have been chosen partly for her views on divisive social issues, notably abortion. Mr McCain made his most important appointment having met her just twice.

Ironically, given that he first won over so many independents by speaking his mind, the case for Mr McCain comes down to a piece of artifice: vote for him on the assumption that he does not believe a word of what he has been saying. Once he reaches the White House, runs this argument, he will put Mrs Palin back in her box, throw away his unrealistic tax plan and begin negotiations with the Democratic Congress. That is plausible; but it is a long way from the convincing case that Mr McCain could have made. Had he become president in 2000 instead of Mr Bush, the world might have had fewer problems. But this time it is beset by problems, and Mr McCain has not proved that he knows how to deal with them.

Is Mr Obama any better? Most of the hoopla about him has been about what he is, rather than what he would do. His identity is not as irrelevant as it sounds. Merely by becoming president, he would dispel many of the myths built up about America: it would be far harder for the spreaders of hate in the Islamic world to denounce the Great Satan if it were led by a black man whose middle name is Hussein; and far harder for autocrats around the world to claim that American democracy is a sham. America’s allies would rally to him: the global electoral college on our website shows a landslide in his favour. At home he would salve, if not close, the ugly racial wound left by America’s history and lessen the tendency of American blacks to blame all their problems on racism.

So Mr Obama’s star quality will be useful to him as president. But that alone is not enough to earn him the job. Charisma will not fix Medicare nor deal with Iran. Can he govern well? Two doubts present themselves: his lack of executive experience; and the suspicion that he is too far to the left.

There is no getting around the fact that Mr Obama’s résumé is thin for the world’s biggest job. But the exceptionally assured way in which he has run his campaign is a considerable comfort. It is not just that he has more than held his own against Mr McCain in the debates. A man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and out-fought the two mightiest machines in American politics—the Clintons and the conservative right.

Political fire, far from rattling Mr Obama, seems to bring out the best in him: the furore about his (admittedly ghastly) preacher prompted one of the most thoughtful speeches of the campaign. On the financial crisis his performance has been as assured as Mr McCain’s has been febrile. He seems a quick learner and has built up an impressive team of advisers, drawing in seasoned hands like Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. Of course, Mr Obama will make mistakes; but this is a man who listens, learns and manages well.

It is hard too nowadays to depict him as soft when it comes to dealing with America’s enemies. Part of Mr Obama’s original appeal to the Democratic left was his keenness to get American troops out of Iraq; but since the primaries he has moved to the centre, pragmatically saying the troops will leave only when the conditions are right. His determination to focus American power on Afghanistan, Pakistan and proliferation was prescient. He is keener to talk to Iran than Mr McCain is— but that makes sense, providing certain conditions are met.

Our main doubts about Mr Obama have to do with the damage a muddle-headed Democratic Congress might try to do to the economy. Despite the protectionist rhetoric that still sometimes seeps into his speeches, Mr Obama would not sponsor a China-bashing bill. But what happens if one appears out of Congress? Worryingly, he has a poor record of defying his party’s baronies, especially the unions. His advisers insist that Mr Obama is too clever to usher in a new age of over-regulation, that he will stop such nonsense getting out of Congress, that he is a political chameleon who would move to the centre in Washington. But the risk remains that on economic matters the centre that Mr Obama moves to would be that of his party, not that of the country as a whole.

He has earned it

So Mr Obama in that respect is a gamble. But the same goes for Mr McCain on at least as many counts, not least the possibility of President Palin. And this cannot be another election where the choice is based merely on fear. In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency.
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« Reply #744 on: October 31, 2008, 04:15:18 PM »

Not a stupid piece.  I disagree of course cheesy

Security Should Be the Deciding Issue
By FREDERICK W. KAGAN

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As the scale of the economic crisis becomes clear and comparisons to the Great Depression of the 1930s are tossed around, there is a very real danger that America could succumb to the feeling that we no longer have the luxury of worrying about distant lands, now that we are confronted with a "real" problem that actually affects the lives of all Americans. As we consider whether various bailout plans help Main Street as well as Wall Street, the subtext is that both are much more important to Americans than Haifa Street.

One problem with this emotion is that it ignores the sequel to the Great Depression -- the rise of militaristic Japan marked by the 1931 invasion of Manchuria, and Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933, both of which resulted in part from economic dislocations spreading outward from the U.S. The inward-focus of the U.S. and the leading Western powers (Great Britain and France) throughout the 1930s allowed these problems to metastasize, ultimately leading to World War II.

Is it possible that American inattention to the world in the coming years could lead to a similarly devastating result? You betcha.

When Franklin Roosevelt replaced Herbert Hoover in the White House, the country's economy was in shambles but its security was not threatened. No American forces were engaged in significant military conflict; America faced no threats. The U.S. was largely disarmed militarily and disengaged internationally.
[Security Should Be the Deciding Issue] Corbis

Yet within a decade, American territory had been attacked for the first time in 130 years, a massive rearmament program was underway, and the U.S. was fighting a desperate struggle that spanned the globe and ultimately cost the lives of nearly half a million American service members. The seeds of that global conflict, unimaginable in 1933 given the relative weakness of Germany and Japan, were planted in the first years of the Roosevelt administration as FDR focused on the American economy.

Hoover had the distinction of being the last American president who did not command American troops in important conflicts. After FDR, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower led the war in Korea that ended up shaping East Asia and the global economy profoundly.

John F. Kennedy's ill-fated efforts in Cuba shape Central America and the Caribbean to this day. He also made key decisions regarding Vietnam, followed, of course, by Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. These decisions had major effects on American security and also helped launch a social revolution within the U.S.

Jimmy Carter's disastrous hostage rescue operation in Iran had profound implications for the U.S. there and throughout the region, as did his reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Ronald Reagan's failed policies in Lebanon in the early 1980s, leading to the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983, shaped the nature of American involvement in that key region, and also the perception of the U.S., for two decades. His attack on Libya, on the other hand, effectively ended a significant terrorist threat to the U.S. It also laid the basis for the elimination of Libya's WMD program after 9/11.

George H.W. Bush fought in Panama and Iraq. Bill Clinton, who took office promising to focus "like a laser beam" on the economy, led U.S. forces to humiliation in Somalia, ineffective, pinprick responses to al Qaeda terrorism and to Saddam Hussein's provocations, and to large-scale conflict in the Balkans. The current administration inherited ongoing military operations in the Balkans and almost immediately confronted the consequences of President Clinton's policy failures in Afghanistan on 9/11.

The next president will not break this string of fighting presidents. He will inherit two ongoing wars involving more than 180,000 troops. He will face two global enemies -- al Qaeda and Iranian terror networks, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Quds Force and Hezbollah.

It is important to note here the distinction between an enemy and a threat. Threats are problems to be concerned about in the future; enemies are organizations trying to kill Americans right now. Al Qaeda and Iranian agents are both killing Americans on a regular basis and have proclaimed their determination to kill more. They are enemies, not threats, and they will confront the next president from day one.

There are threats too, such as Pakistan's instability, combined with its inability and unwillingness to confront the al Qaeda safe havens on its territory. The growth of al Qaeda organizations in Algeria and Somalia poses another. Russian adventurism on the borders of states to which the U.S. has already given security guarantees is still another. The dangers of nuclear proliferation if the North Korean regime collapses -- or if it does not -- are still another.

Lastly, the next president will almost certainly face Iran's arrival at the threshold of nuclear-weapons capability. This, combined with Iran's efforts to develop long-range (and ultimately intercontinental) ballistic missiles and its global terrorist networks, is a threat to America's allies and to Americans at home.

Whatever the parallels between the current economic situation and that of the early 1930s, the current international environment is by any comparison more dangerous for the U.S. than the one that led to World War II. This is not hyperbole, particularly considering a last factor. When France and Britain ignored developing dangers while handling them would have been possible and relatively inexpensive, America was able to bail them out, if at terrific cost. There is no one to save us if we make similar mistakes in the coming years.

The current economic crisis is extremely grave. It is hurting many Americans today and will hurt many more as it unwinds. It will end, however, as economic crises always do. The question is how long the recovery will take and how bad things will get before it takes hold.

This question should be at the forefront of voters' thinking as they consider the economic proposals of the two candidates for president, but not necessarily as they decide whom to vote for. Better policies can speed the recovery; worse ones can slow it -- but none are likely to prevent it.

The presidential impact on foreign-policy problems is much more direct. Skillful approaches can avoid or mitigate conflict; foolish ones can lead to cataclysms. And make no mistake -- mistaken policies will lead to the unnecessary deaths of Americans, and not just our soldiers. Any American who wants to travel outside the U.S. can be directly affected by the wisdom or folly of our foreign policy. Even those who never leave their own state must be concerned, as residents of New York, Arlington and Pennsylvania can attest.

The health of our economy rests on its fundamentals, and on the way the entire government -- the president, the Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the courts -- approach the problem. The lives of American citizens rest on the way the president interacts with our enemies. When people feel relatively safe, they vote their pocketbooks. When they feel endangered, they vote for security. The world today offers no reason for Americans to feel safe. If we want safety, we have to be ready to fight for it.

Mr. Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of "Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power" (AEI Press, 2008).

Please add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.
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« Reply #745 on: November 01, 2008, 08:50:44 AM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/11/01/obamas-illegal-alien-aunt-is-a-deportation-fugitive-bush-administration-moves-to-protect-her/

Illegal alien, illegal contributions. I wonder if ACORN registered her to vote?
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« Reply #746 on: November 01, 2008, 06:16:55 PM »

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11012008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/obama_2012__his_triumphs_abroad_136358.htm?page=0

OBAMA 2012: HIS TRIUMPHS ABROAD
OUR GREATEST FOREIGN POLICY PRESIDENT?

By RALPH PETERS

New ruler of the Baltics, Vladimir Putin
Last updated: 1:09 pm
November 1, 2008
Posted: 12:17 pm
November 1, 2008

Looking back on the four years of his first administration, President Obama can be proud: He made the US welcome among the family of nations again; he reduced our reliance on military force; and he gave us peace by reaching sensible accommodations with our enemies.

The lies told about him in the 2008 election were exposed as sheer bigotry. Far from being "soft on radical Islam," President Obama was the first world leader to welcome Jewish refugees after Iran's nuclear destruction of Israel's major cities (his only caveat - a fair one - was the refusal to accept Zionist military officers and their families, in light of Israel's excessive retaliation).

Obama 2012: Nicole Gelinas: A Term of Fiscal Pain

Obama 2012: Jonah Goldberg: Four Years Later

He also demonstrated his resolve in the face of extremism when he overruled the obstructionist advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ordered our military to cross the border into Pakistan in force. The subsequent debacle, as Pakistan cut off supply routes to Afghanistan and threatened a nuclear response, was entirely the fault of our generals on the ground, not of the administration.

Fortunately, President Obama's willingness to talk to our enemies rescued the situation. After laying down their arms, our troops were allowed to evacuate Pakistan and Afghanistan in peace. The Taliban's return to power in Kabul did not result in an excessive bloodbath, and al Qaeda is not permitted the unrestricted freedom it enjoyed in the country prior to 2001.

State Department surveys prove that the Afghan population welcomes Sharia law, the closure of girls' schools and other such cultural choices. Our reparations payments to Kabul (as with those to Havana) are only just. Opium production is, arguably, no worse than in the past.

We also have seen peace in Iraq. Claims that our troop withdrawal was responsible for the resurgence of al Qaeda and the subsequent civil war are nothing but Republican campaign propaganda. With the International Sunni Alliance in firm control of Iraq - after Israel's wanton destruction of Iran - order prevails in the streets. As for the Turkish and Arab suppression of the Kurds, our diplomats regard it as a small price to pay for regional stability. Biased reports of massacres and concentration camps remain unsubstantiated.

Our relations with the Muslim world have rarely, if ever, been better. The current $320 per barrel price of oil allows long-oppressed states to develop themselves without the yoke of neo-colonialism or invasive efforts to force democracy upon their populations. As UN Ambassador Ayers noted, "We can state with pride that the US not only respects, but embraces cultural differences."

Relations with Russia are also at a high unthinkable a mere four years ago. Moscow's legitimate concerns for the welfare of its citizens in the "near abroad," as well as for ethnic Russians persecuted by so-called free democracies, fully justified its peace-preservation military deployments into Ukraine and other regional states. The subsequent referendums on re-unification with Russia, while displaying a few inevitable irregularities, have been judged free and fair by the Jimmy Carter Memorial Foundation.

While the deployment of Russian forces into the NATO-member Baltic states to protect ethnic Russians proved controversial, President Obama's personal intervention kept us - and NATO - out of war. Partisan charges of "Finlandization" distort the generous terms of the neutrality guarantees Moscow provides for the former NATO members.

After the internationally brokered (with President Obama in the lead) demilitarization of eastern Poland, it's clear to all responsible parties that Russia's legitimate claims have been fully satisfied and we may expect peace in our time.

President Obama resisted yet another war trap as China lost patience and finally reclaimed its long-lost province, Taiwan. Furthermore, the reduction of the US military presence in Japan and South Korea has deflated strategic tensions in East Asia to the lowest level in over one hundred years. Again, President Obama gave us peace.

(The resulting peace dividend from our president's 25% cut in the defense budget has allowed our government, in a public/private partnership with the Chicago-based Rezko Foundation, to provide subsidized housing for almost six million new immigrant families from developing countries. No other administration policy has raised the world's esteem for us more profoundly than our "Global Balance" instant-citizenship immigration reforms.)

In our own hemisphere, President Obama has supported the cause of justice, human rights and trade unions, cutting off military aid to Colombia, killing the proposed free-trade agreement with that country, and expressing humane understanding for the long freedom struggle of the FARC and other liberation groups.

Preferring a sensible rapprochement with Venezuela to needless confrontation, our president went to Caracas and negotiated a regional division of labor with democratically-elected President Hugo Chavez. The end of our destructive trade embargo against Cuba, our formal apology for the deprivations we imposed, and our generous reparations payments have inaugurated a new era of friendship with our long-suffering neighbors to the south.

The only complaint Democratic Party cadres fairly may lodge against the Obama administration's foreign policy is that we still have not fully opened our border with Mexico. Resistance among right-wing fanatics in Washington and bigots around the country remains too strong for now.

As for Mexico's presidential contest, President Obama has made it clear that, while he would prefer that a reputed drug-cartel leader not be elected, the US will respect the will of the Mexican people and strive for good relations with any future Mexican government.

One can only ask how much higher our 16.2% unemployment rate - an obvious legacy of the Bush years - might be if President Obama had not restored America's standing in the world and re-negotiated unfair trade treaties imposed on American workers by previous administrations.

As our president remarked just the other day in a re-election campaign speech in Dearborn, Michigan: "Wealth redistribution isn't just an American issue - it's a global issue. Better that Americans should be a little poorer, if that means our brothers in Egypt and Bolivia can become a little richer."

Under President Obama, America's back!

Ralph Peters' most recent book is, "Barack Obama: Too Great To Be A Mere Messiah?" (Fairness Doctrine Press, Limited, Chicago, July 2012)
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G M
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« Reply #747 on: November 01, 2008, 07:29:58 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4fe9GlWS8

Dear Mr. Obama.....
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Crafty_Dog
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Posts: 30562


« Reply #748 on: November 03, 2008, 03:06:50 PM »

Woof All:

I leave for the Buenos Aires, Argentina airport in 90 minutes and will be home mid-day tomorrow with plenty of time to vote.

God bless America, land that I love.

The Adventure continues,
Marc
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prentice crawford
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Posts: 765


« Reply #749 on: November 04, 2008, 04:01:41 AM »

Woof comrades!
 If you need a ride to the polls, just get drunk and passout in front of your house. ACORN will be by shortly to carry you to the nearest voting place and remind you who to vote for.
                    P.C.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2008, 04:04:25 AM by prentice crawford » Logged

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