Archive for March, 2009

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Imad Hamad

March 31, 2009

Imad Hamad is a “former” terrorist. He is head of the local chapter of ADC, a radical proArab group. He continues to make statements in support of terrorist groups. Yet, amazingly and shockingly, the FBI and CIA romance him and embrace him. This is a scandal.

Can every “former” terrorist get a free dinner from the CIA?

CIA, Arab Americans seek to work together

BY NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Senior CIA leaders met Wednesday with about 30 Arab-American and Chaldean advocates to discuss ways to improve their relationship.

Held over dinner in a Southfield hotel, the meeting included Scott White, associate deputy director for the Central Intelligence Agency, and about half a dozen other CIA officials, some who attended the meeting said.

Scott talked about misperceptions of the CIA and said he was pleased to meet with local Arab Americans, said Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who attended the dinner.

“It was a constructive meeting,” Hamad said. “We want to be partners and engage in a professional dialogue and relationship.”

Scott sought to dispel the stereotype that the CIA is just a spy agency, saying the agency offers a wide range of job opportunities.

“It removed some of the images people may have from seeing Hollywood movies …. the mystery of it,” said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, who also attended the meeting. “They’re trying to reach out and change the perceptions of the CIA in the minds of Arab Americans.”

The meeting also included Chaldean leaders with the Chaldean Federation of America and the Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce.

Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO at 248-351-2998 or warikoo@freepress.com.

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Cartoon: Obama vs. Wagner

March 31, 2009

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Islam Broward County

March 31, 2009
SENT TO ME FROM A FRIEND:
Dear Friends,
Recently, I saw the following ad on buses throughout Broward and Dade Counties. Yesterday, I snapped this shot while I was down in Miami. It brought to mind a couple of Scripture verses which seem fitting.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” ——- Matthew 7:15 (NKJV)
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” ——— Matthew 24:11 (NKJV)

It also serves to illustrate how one of those deceptions described in the Bible is rushing in to fill a huge spiritual void left by a post Christian culture. This is one reason why CRM exist, so that it does not happen.

busislam

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Outcry Against U.S. Budget Heard Around Globe

March 31, 2009

Outcry Against U.S. Budget Heard Around Globe

Friday , March 27, 2009

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This is a rush transcript from “Hannity,” March 26, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Mr. President, while you are answering questions about marijuana on the Internet, and your treasury secretary is busy devaluating the dollar, people are suffering both here and abroad. And that is our headline this Thursday night, day number 66 of false hope, loose change, “The World is Watching.”

They are watching as your Cabinet can’t get your policy straight. They’re watching while members of your party dismember your own budget. They’re watching as you continue to push for the greatest expansion of government that this nation has ever seen. And they’re watching, Mr. President, and they don’t necessarily like what they are seeing. Now just ask our first guest tonight.

He is a British member of the European parliament who turned heads when he excoriated Prime Gordon Brown and his economic agenda that is very similar to what is happening right here in our country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL HANNAN, MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: The truth, Prime Minister, is that you have run out of our money. The country as a whole is now in negative equity. Every British child is born owing around 20,000 pounds. Servicing the interest on that debt is going to cost more than educating the child.

Video: Watch Sean’s interview

Now once again today you tried to spread the blame around. You spoke about an international recession, international crisis. We are now running a deficit that touches 10 percent of GDP in almost unbelievable figure.

Now, it’s not that you’re not apologizing. Like everyone else I’ve long accepted that you’re pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility for these things. It’s that you’re carrying on willfully, worsening our situation, wantonly spending what little we have left.

Last year, in the last 12 months, 100,000 private-sector jobs have been lost, and yet, you created 30,000 public sector jobs.

Prime Minister, you cannot carry on forever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fund an unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt, and when you repeat in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we’re well placed to weather the storm, I have to tell you, you sound like Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line.

You know and we know and you know that we know that it’s nonsense. Everyone knows that Britain is worse off than any other country as we go into these hard times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And Mr. Hannan, he joins us tonight from London.

Mr. Hannan, thank you for being with us. I got to — do you realize how your message is resonating loudly and clearly in American tonight and how inspired people are by your words?

HANNAN: And you say the nicest things. Listen, I’m happy to come on this show anytime you want me. I’m pretty perplexed by the whole thing. I’m trying to think of, if you could come up with the most boring phrase to enter into a Google search engine, and I thought, speech to the European parliament, so I am completely bowled over by what you said.

HANNITY: Yes, well — look, go over every line. We now are adding, by the year 2019, we’re going to have nearly $900 billions just on interest on the debt with what Obama is spending. He’s spending more than every president from George Washington to George W. Bush in terms of the debt he’s accumulated here.

And as you point out, you can’t spend your way out of recession, borrow your way out of debt. Do you think the world is making a mistake and that we’re really all collectively going to suffer these consequences?

HANNAN: We’re all collectively going to suffer the consequences. I mean it’s not our mistake. The mistake is being made by a small number of political leaders and the small number of their advisers. You know it’s a common sense that when you’re in debt, you spend less. Now anybody except a politician can see that. Anyone can see that in their private life.

You’ve run up too big a debt, you’ve run up too big a mortgage which you try and sort it out, because if you’re either a banker or a politician, you have a different take on these things. Because, of course, it isn’t your money.

You know, that great phrase of Milton Friedman. There’s only two kinds of money in this world, it’s your money and it’s my money, in a way. We’re very careful about the second of those. But of course, for politicians, it’s all your money.

HANNITY: Yes. Anybody but a politician can see that. I think that’s going to go down as one of the all-time classics. Unfortunately, it’s true. You know, one of the things, Mr. Hannan, that we’re debating in America, Barack Obama wants to lay down $634 billions for nationalized health care.

Well, we’ve had nationalized health care in Great Britain, and we’ve had it in France, and we’ve had a single payer in Canada. My question to you is, based on what you said, I would like you to explain to the American people if this is a good idea through this prism.

I read in The Daily Mail last week that the — the your health system, the NHS, literally has a group of people that decided, government bureaucrats, that they were going to give drugs to women with breast cancer and a certain rare form of stomach cancer. The rationing body is what they call it.

Is it a good idea for the U.S. to invest in nationalized health care?

HANNAN: Now, first of all, it’s important that you understand that that’s a true story, and it’s a typical story. It’s not in the newspapers because it’s unusual. We have a rationing body that’s called, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. It’s known as NICE, N-I-C-E, which, coincidentally, there was an adult novel by C.S. Lewis in the 1940s where the NICE was this kind of Satanic conspiracy.

And in terms of them, align affects, you can sort of see the connection. I mean it’s a terrible thing to put anyone in this situation, any bureaucrat in this situation, of having to make those life and death decisions because they are literally life and death decisions.

HANNITY: So you…

HANNAN: The worse thing is for you as the recipient of health care because you’ve got no control over what you get. There’s no contractual relationship between you and the suppliers, so, you know, if they treat you today or next week or six weeks from now, where it’s too late because your condition has already deteriorated.

HANNITY: So your advice.

HANNAN: … there’s nothing you can do about it. You are expected to queue up with a smile and be grateful for what you have. And it is — it’s the last survivor of the kind of socialist post-war conspiracy. Sorry, socialist post war –- yes, I’m tired. It’s midnight. Socialist post-war consensus…

HANNITY: All right, let me ask you.

HANNAN: … in the U.K.

HANNITY: So your advice to America is to stay away from socialized health care. I think you’re very clear on that. Let me ask you what.

HANNAN: If you — listen, if you get nothing else from what I’m saying this evening, please do not make that mistake. If there are any congressman watching this who think, yes, it might be a bit fair, yes, it’d be a bit sort of cozy, you know, I promise you, it is worse for doctors. It’s worse for patients. It’s worse for taxpayers.

HANNITY: Let me ask you one last quick question here if I can, because, you know, a lot of Europe supported Barack Obama heading into this election. They were — you supported Barack Obama heading into this election. That’s why I found your comments fascinating.

Now, the United States of America — I think it’s embarrassing to get lectured by leaders of France, the European Union, president of Czech Republic, president by China, the communist Chinese, on how to run a better economy.

What has happened in terms of the faith and hope and trust and confidence that Europe once had in the president?

HANNAN: Yes, you know, I — first of all, I think I can trump your story. We have done all of the things that you’ve done wrong. We’ve borrowed more. We’ve spent more. We’ve increased the deficit and we pretended that there’s some clever plan about it. But we’ve done something that you haven’t done yet, which is, we’ve gone for the Zimbabwe option. We started just printing more money.

And I actually saw a newspaper in Zimbabwe saying, you know, the poor old Brits. Look at the mess they are in. You know, that having to do this.

HANNITY: Yes. I think you did.

HANNAN: We may have even got the excuse that we have of — so we are pitied by Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, which I think trumps even your communist.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I’ve got to run.

HANNAN: What made your country great, what made your people strong and prosperous and free.

HANNITY: Capitalism.

HANNAN: … that it was small government right from the beginning, right from the declaration of independence. There was a distrust of the concentration of power and a confidence in the freedom of the individual. And you know, people will always make better decisions for themselves than administrators will make for them.

And if — when you lose that, if you Europeanize yourselves, and under the illusion that it’s kind of, you know, a bit Hitler and a bit miser and you know, you make yourselves more popular in the world, you will throw away what may people actually respect you, not the least because I understand that it was something…

HANNITY: Daniel, I hope and I pray, and I mean this, that our politicians are listening to you tonight. Thank you for what you said. I hope you’ll come back on the program. We appreciate your being with us.

HANNAN: Pleasure to be here, Sean. Thank you.

HANNITY: All right. Thank you. Very inspiring.

Watch “Hannity” weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

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Unseen Enemy

March 30, 2009

Unseen Enemy

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, March 27, 2009 4:20 PM PT

War On Terror: Besides sending more troops to Afghanistan, President Obama plans to send billions more in aid to Pakistan, despite evidence that our money is used to kill troops in Afghanistan.


Read More: Global War On Terror | Middle East & North Africa


The plan to reward Islamabad with another $15 billion comes as stunning new U.S. intelligence — gathered from electronic surveillance and trusted informants — reveals Pakistan’s spy service has been supporting the Taliban.

And they’ve been doing it with our intelligence, our weapons and our money. In effect, we are funding the Taliban.

Pakistan’s secret war has pushed violence in Afghanistan to its highest level since U.S.-led forces invaded in 2001. U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan rose 35% in 2008.

Why would Pakistan’s military intelligence destabilize the Afghan government? To limit archenemy India’s influence next door. It’s now confirmed that the Taliban bombed the Indian Embassy in Kabul with help from Pakistani intelligence, the ISI.

The ISI has even shared intelligence with Lashkar-e-Taiba, the al-Qaida subcontractor that recently massacred 160 people in Mumbai. It’s no coincidence that Indian trains and commercial centers and parliament buildings have been attacked since we drove the Taliban out of Afghanistan.

Also confirmed in a detailed New York Times piece quoting several U.S. officials:

• The Taliban’s base of operations is in Quetta, Pakistan, and Taliban chief Mullah Omar is hiding in plain sight there (contrary to repeated denials by Pakistan’s former president).

• Pakistani intelligence is supplying, arming, training and in some cases even escorting Taliban fighters across the border to attack Afghan and U.S. troops.

• The ISI has tipped off the Taliban about U.S. plans for raids on their outposts, and has even shared intelligence with the Taliban about American convoy routes to help them target troops.

• ISI operatives meet regularly with Taliban commanders to discuss whether to intensify or scale back violence before Afghan elections.

This confirms what we’ve been warning for a long time: Islamabad is playing a dangerous double game of stringing us along for more and more cash, while mouthing hollow promises of cooperation in our war on terror.

Islamabad aided the Taliban and al-Qaida before 9/11. What made us think Western money could get it to untangle itself from them?

After 9/11, as outlined in official U.S. demands, Pakistan promised to “stop Pakistani volunteers from going into Afghanistan to join the Taliban” and to “end support for the Taliban.”

It has done neither. And our answer is to rush more aid there, under the misguided notion that we can strengthen Pakistan’s social fabric and democracy and walk it away from decades of Islamic extremism.

Washington still doesn’t understand that in Pakistan, terrorism is a state policy. It’s as true today as it was when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan. Only difference is, we’re now on the other side of that treachery. To the ISI, we’re the new Soviet Union.

Obama is right to worry that the Afghan government is in peril of falling to the Islamic militants of the Taliban once again. But sending more troops there without also addressing the problem next door in Pakistan is just kicking the can down the road.

The president must at least put verifiable conditions on any aid we send to Islamabad in the future: Cut off support for militant groups, or we’ll cut off the supply of cash.

Otherwise, we’re just letting terrorism pay — and pay big — while bankrolling our own defeat.

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Cartoon: Government Spending?!?

March 30, 2009

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Extremists use ‘civil rights’

March 30, 2009

Extremists use ‘civil rights’ group front to push agenda

by Steven Emerson
The Desert Sun (Palm Springs)
March 24, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1012/extremists-use-civil-rights-group-front-to-push

Note: This article originally appeared March 24 in the Desert Sun.

Earlier this month, I spoke before the World Affairs Council of the Desert on the threat of radical Islam to the West.

My remarks focused on radical Islamic groups, which, posing as “civil rights” groups, try to suppress free speech and intimidate critics by calling them “Islamophobes” and, in some cases, actually threatening and killing such critics. I detailed the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas.

I described a secret infrastructure of Muslim Brotherhood groups in the United States who promote their radical agenda through a network of front groups that falsely claimed to be “moderate.” The bottom line: Radical Islamic groups committed a grand deception by anointing themselves “civil rights” groups or “charities” when, in fact, they were secret political, financial or military fronts for terrorists.

An Islamic group’s response

The response published March 18 in The Desert Sun by Hussam Ayloush of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) illustrates this deceit perfectly. Mr. Ayloush fails to mention that his group, CAIR, was created by Hamas supporters in 1994 following a secret meeting in Philadelphia that the FBI wiretapped. Exhibits in the Hamas fundraising trial of the Holy Land Foundation showed that CAIR’s founders were part of the secret Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure that sought, in the MB’s own words, to carry out a “civilization-jihadist process” and to implement a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within …”

Nor does Mr. Ayloush mention that the FBI labeled CAIR a “front” group for Hamas or that CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in that case. It ended last year with convictions on 108 counts tied to Hamas support. Disturbing evidence linking CAIR to Hamas prompted the FBI to cut off relations with CAIR.

Radical or moderate?

In my talk, I quoted radical Islamist leaders like Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood ideological leader, who said that “Islam will conquer the United States” and “reconquer Europe.” Mr. Qaradawi has issued fatwas (religious decrees) calling for the killing of Jews and Americans. Yet CAIR repeatedly champions him as a leading “moderate” Islamic cleric.

That speaks volumes about CAIR’s definition of “moderate.”

Similarly, Mr. Ayloush and CAIR came to the defense of Sheik Wagdy Ghoneim, a radical Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader. During a CAIR co-sponsored rally at Brooklyn College in May 1998, Ghoneim led the audience in a song with the lyrics, “No to the Jews, descendants of the apes.” He had made other speeches calling for violent jihad. Immigration violations prompted his arrest in November 2004. He was held without bond based on government “concerns that his past speeches and participation in fundraising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations.”

Mr. Ayloush argued Ghoneim was a victim of racial profiling: “(T)he whole Muslim community today is under a microscope of scrutiny. Committing a mistake that would invite a slap on the wrist for anyone else could lead to prison or deportation for a Muslim.” More importantly, CAIR has condemned virtually every Islamic terrorist indictment and conviction in the last seven years as “racist” or as “political” inquisitions. And it refuses to label Hamas and Hizbollah as terrorists. At times, CAIR officials have justified the use of suicide bombings.

Hatemongering vs. extremism

Groups like CAIR deny the very existence of radical Islam and blame the problem on “hatemongers.” I am sorry to tell Mr. Ayloush that the primary factor causing an image problem for Islam today is the existence of rampant Islamic terrorism and extremism. CAIR says that the term “Islamic terrorist” is racist and that terrorism has no religion. I wish it he could have convinced the 19 Muslim hijackers on Sept. 11 or the four U.K. Muslims who bombed a London subway in July 2005 or any of those responsible for more than 50,000 attacks carried in the name of Islam. All of these were Islamic terrorists motivated by their particular belief in Islam.

In characteristic projection, Mr. Ayloush accuses me of reciting Nazi-like rhetoric, while CAIR has repeatedly invited a neo-Nazi to be keynote speakers at CAIR conferences. CAIR invited neo-Nazi William Baker to be a major speaker at CAIR events. Baker was chairman of the “Populist Party” — founded by neo-Nazi Willis Carto in 1984, and organized its national convention that year. Carto, a founder of the American Nazi party, also started the Southern California-based Institute for Historical Review, a group whose central purpose was to deny the Holocaust before it was put out of business.

Finally, what does Ayloush say about Islam compared to other religions? At a fundraiser in Anaheim last July, Ayloush praised “Islam…. the true religion, the religion of Islam, so it may prevail over all ideologies, all man-made religions.”

I want to thank Mr. Ayloush for writing his response. He proved the correctness of what I said on March 8.

Steven Emerson is the executive director of Investigative Project on Terrorism. He can be reached through his Web site at www.InvestigativeProject.org

To see the original Desert Sun article, click here.

Related Topics: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

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Mahdi Bray’s Secret

March 30, 2009

Mahdi Bray’s Secret, Checkered Past

IPT Investigation

IPT News
March 25, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1013/mahdi-brays-secret-checkered-past

It’s difficult to call Mahdi Bray a private man. He leads the Muslim American Society’s (MAS) political arm, MAS-Freedom. His picture appears on numerous MAS and personal websites and he co-hosts a weekly radio program in Washington, D.C. He spent most of Saturday riding on the back of a flat-bed pick-up truck, leading demonstrators on a march through Washington and to the Pentagon in protest of the Iraq war’s sixth anniversary.

The procession stopped outside the offices of military contractors, where demonstrators left cardboard coffins and chanted slogans. Bray, megaphone in hand, led the way:

“We say no more! I hope your stocks plummet to the ground. I hope it goes in the toilet. I hope your stock just goes to hell … The justice, and the peace, and the humanity and the solidarity that we have with the Palestinian people, the solidarity we have with the people of Iraq, and Afghanistan, Pakistan, the solidarity we have with the veterans who have been hoodwinked by this government, we say not in our names!”

As the crowd marched, Bray led them in a time-worn anti-war chant:

“We’re the people. We, the people, and the people united can never be defeated.”

For all his public activity, Bray has rarely, if ever, discussed his life story in detail. His own MAS biography offers vague descriptions of his work as “a long time civil and human rights advocate.”

A charismatic African-American convert to Islam, Bray spent this entire decade working for Islamist organizations. Prior to joining MAS, Bray was political director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Those jobs have helped him build a growing public profile and given him access to politicians and policy makers.

And that may explain his reluctance to discuss his life before political activism. The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) tracked down court records involving Bray and found a history of legal run-ins and deceit. Bray was no kid – he was born in 1950 and was more than 30 years old when he amassed at least three felony convictions during the 1980s. And, if his recollection of the timing of his conversion to Islam is accurate, it did not straighten him out. He had changed his faith years before becoming a felon.

Bray declined to comment Wednesday after hearing a summary of the IPT’s findings. “You guys write the stories as you see fit to write them,” he said.

He even spent a couple of days in a Virginia jail cell as recently as March 2008 due to a series of traffic violations. Finally, there are questions today about his Washington, D.C. voter registration.

Back to back arrests

The 1980s proved to be a difficult time in Bray’s life. The trouble started with an arrest in February 1981 for marijuana and cocaine possession. Then came grand larceny charges for cashing checks off a dead account just two weeks later. He was convicted on the cocaine and larceny charges and sentenced to three years in prison, only to find himself in even bigger trouble toward the end of the decade.

Throughout these ordeals, and even while incarcerated, Bray secretly was keeping hundreds of dollars a month in workers’ compensation money intended for his grandfather. Wrighty Bray, Jr. was injured while working at the Norfolk, VA Navy Shipyard as a “helper-boilermaker.” During his shift on December 2nd 1929, the 25 year-old Bray slipped, causing his right leg to be pinned in the hold of a ship. Wrighty Bray bled heavily and the leg had to be amputated. As a result of that injury, he qualified for – and began receiving – workers’ compensation under the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act, known as FECA.

Those payments, regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor, continued to be sent properly and without incident for the next 46 years. Wrighty Bray, Jr. died on December 1st, 1975 of a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was 71. His workers’ compensation payments should have ceased at this point.

But court records show his grandson, then called Wright Bray IV, “devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the United States of America … by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.”

The payments continued while Mahdi Bray was in prison for the drug and larceny charges. They continued after the Labor Department sent forms to Wrighty Bray, Jr. to update his status. He was indicted in June 1988 on 64 counts of mail fraud and receipt of stolen U.S. Securities. According to the indictment, Mahdi Bray submitted a signed “false and fraudulent” form saying Wrighty Bray was living in Washington and was unemployed. He “well knew [it] was false and fraudulent in that the defendant’s grandfather was dead and no longer entitled to benefits,” the indictment said.

Department of Labor investigators were growing suspicious about the Bray claims by September 1986. Handwritten notes show an investigator had determined that the “last medical expense paid for the clmt (was) on 3/18/68” and that Wrighty Bray had no medical procedures on file since 1975. Repeated attempts to receive signed forms required to continue the benefit checks were met with no response.

The investigator concluded: “The facts of this case lead me to believe the client may be dead.”

A December 14, 1988 report from a Labor Department Inspector General’s Office agent indicates Bray changed the mailing address on the benefits at least twice after his grandfather died. The agent also traced a 1984 check and found it deposited in Bray’s bank account.

The payments ended shortly after a March 1987 visit to a Department of Labor office, where Bray tried to drop off a form that had been due months earlier to update his grandfather’s status. According to a Labor Department claims examiner’s handwritten account of the visit, Bray attempted to talk his way through dropping off a late, fraudulent form by claiming he was “Herbert Bray,” and could not stay to answer questions because he was double parked. The note says Bray reluctantly agreed to wait five minutes, and when he did start talking, “indicated that grandfather was old but proud and would not let any family members assist him with the paperwork until it had stacked up and then he would call grandson or granddaughter to assist, which is why he was now bringing” in the form.

When asked where Wrighty Bray was, Bray said he was staying with a granddaughter, but that no change of address was needed since the elder Bray still picked up his mail at home. Asked for a telephone number where his grandfather could be reached, Bray said he couldn’t remember it.

In all, Bray kept more than $71,000 that the U.S. Government intended go to his grandfather. He pled guilty to one count of mail fraud on June 26, 1989 and was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to make full restitution.

It is unclear how much Bray has disclosed publicly about his past. He does not refer to his criminal history in speeches or on his radio program, called “The Crescent Report.” The show, which Bray co-hosts, airs Sunday mornings on WUST, 1120 AM in Washington.

He often dismisses criticism of his statements and connections as smear campaigns from Muslim bashers.

That was part of his message when he spoke at a conference entitled “Islamophobia: Its rising threat and policy challenges,” hosted by the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. The December 2006 conference attracted officials from the departments of State and Homeland Security including Alina Romanowski, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs and Dan Sutherland, Homeland Security officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Muslims in America are professionally successful, Bray said:

“Yet there are certain interest groups, in and outside of America, that have long used bigoted distortions of Islam, portraying particularly the Muslims in America as seditious, dangerous, disloyal, or a fifth column, totally incompatible with democracy. This is, I think, the underpinning, in terms of when we start talking about Islamophobia.”

He has been at the forefront of MAS efforts to increase Muslim voter participation. Under his leadership, MAS even taps Girl and Boy Scout troops it sponsors for get-out-the-vote telephone banks. After the 2006 election, he claimed credit for helping elect Democrat Jim Webb to the U.S. Senate from Virginia and electing Tim Kaine to be Virginia’s governor a year earlier:

“Ask Jim Webb what kind of impact we have. Ask the Governor of Virginia what kind of impact we have.”

A biography on one of his personal web sites boasts that he has “appeared on CBS News, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Aljazeera and many TV and radio talk shows. He has served as a major consultant and a political adviser to various Washington-based political and advocacy groups and to several national, state, and local political campaigns.”

As a result of that political ground work, Bray was among a group of Islamist leaders to meet secretly with an outreach coordinator for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign last September. The Obama campaign acknowledged the meeting, which also included representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was a mistake. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and the organization’s founders were linked to a Hamas-support network in the U.S. CAIR challenged that designation in September 2007. The trial court never ruled on CAIR’s motion.

As NBC News reported:

“A second meeting participant speaking on condition on anonymity said he was stunned to learn that [CAIR Executive Director Nihad] Awad and Bray had been invited to an event where Obama representatives would be present. The participant said Awad and Bray are considered politically ‘radioactive.’ He said that some in the Obama group knew ahead of time that top CAIR officials would be in attendance–an allegation the Obama campaign disputes.”

On the eve of the election, Bray told London’s Guardian newspaper:

“No Muslim wants to be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. I think Barack Obama has practiced that. I think that for his own candidacy that Obama has kind of thrown us under the bus.”

Perhaps his closest and most powerful political ally is U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who has appeared on Bray’s radio talk show, and has spoken at MAS fundraisers.

Bray and Ellison’s offices provided conflicting information about the congressman’s trip to Saudi Arabia last year during the hajj, or Muslim pilgrimage. Ellison’s office said MAS Minnesota chapter paid for his travel, after clearing it with the House Ethics Committee, but Bray said Ellison paid his own way because such a gift from MAS “would be a breach of congressional ethics.”

Cloudy Conversion Story

If his recollection of the timing of his conversion to Islam is accurate, a spiritual awakening was not enough to straighten him out throughout the years he kept money intended for his late grandfather. In an interview just before the November election, Bray said he was “celebrating 30 years of being a Muslim.” That places his conversion in or around 1978, a timeframe that matches information cited elsewhere. In 2003, Associated Press reporter Bob Lewis wrote “Bray, a former Baptist who converted to Islam 27 years ago and now heads the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation, urges Muslims to become active in their communities to show Americans all the good they have to offer.”

And Bray repeated his claim of a 30-year life as a Muslim during a convention sponsored by MAS and the Islamic Circle of North America at the Hartford Convention Center in July 2007:

“Let me just say from the offset that as a practicing Muslim for 30 years and as an African American all my life and that’s 57 years give or take, for me what I see taking place in America is déjà vu all over again.”

In 2002, he told a CAIR conference in Columbus, OH “I embraced Islam some 27 years ago.” That would place his conversion around 1975.

In 1981, however, Bray told his probation officer “that he is of the Baptist/Unitarian faith and is a member of the Central Avenue Baptist Church in the Berkley section of Norfolk.” It was part of an interview in his pre-sentence investigation related to the drug charges. “The defendant reports that he attends church services every Sunday and believes in God.”

He told the probation officer “that he would like to return to college and continue his education with an emphasis in theology with the ultimate goal of becoming a minister.”

Bray declined to say when he became a Muslim during his brief conversation with the IPT. “You guys write whatever you want,” he said. “I gotta go.”

His drug arrest came after police saw him and a woman in his parked car just after midnight in Norfolk on February 1, 1981, records show. As they approached, they saw marijuana and a bag of white powder in plain view. The officers reported that when they ordered Bray to open his door, “he ate the packet of white powder.” They still seized some marijuana and a mirror and straw with residue on it. The powder tested positive for cocaine. Bray told officers the marijuana was his and the cocaine belonged to his companion.

He was convicted September 18, 1981 and sentenced two months later to 30 days in jail for the marijuana and a year for the cocaine possession – with 10 months of that suspended.

As probation officer Michael Gordon noted in the pre-sentence report on the cocaine charge:

“Of concern in determining a disposition in this case is the fact that the instant offenses are not subject’s first conflict with the law.”

He had a history of traffic citations, a pattern that continues even now. More troubling, though, between his arrest and sentencing on the drug case, Bray was arrested in Chesapeake, VA and charged with three counts of grand larceny for cashing bad checks at area stores. He pled guilty to grand larceny November 19, 1981. He was sentenced to three years in prison on January 6, 1982, with two years suspended.

He admitted passing the bad checks under the name “Dwight Bray,” saying:

“He advises that the three checks were cashed during a time period when his company was having financial difficulties and he intended to cover the checks later. The defendant advises that the checks were prepared in the name of Dwight Bray because subject believed that making out checks to himself might cause problems.”

Bray has not had any felony arrests since the workers’ compensation case, and his 1991 release from prison. Evidence uncovered by the IPT details Bray’s history of providing false and misleading information to the public, and to government, including a sworn application used to maintain his voter registration. That is the focus of the second part of our investigation, which can be read here.

Related Topics: Mahdi Bray, Muslim American Society (MAS)

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Heritage Canukistan?

March 30, 2009

Heritage Canukistan?

by Farzana Hassan
for IPT News
March 23, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1011/heritage-canukistan

Things are heating up in the sweepstakes for the most incompetent department of Canadian government to face Islamic radicalism. For a while, bets were on Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board, which, for 11 years, had the president of the extremist-sympathizing Canadian Arab Federation – big on Hamas and Hizballah – on its board. His job there was to decide who was too dangerous to let into the country.

But now “Heritage Canada,” a Canadian government department whose bid for the title is made with the help of the Calgary-based independent Centre for Faith and the Media (CFM) has jumped in the fray.

Heritage Canada pushes a multiculturalism agenda, and the CFM seems to be a one-employee outfit with a volunteer Board of Directors of sympathetic religious people – with one exception. Positioning itself as a link and information clearinghouse between journalists and religious communities, CFM has been decisive in moving Heritage Canada into committing blunders.

The current fiasco started when Heritage Canada funded the Centre to start something called “The Muslim Project.” This initiative involves a series of cross-Canada “roundtables” prominently displaying CFM’s sole paid employee, Executive Director Richelle Wiseman, as moderator. The end-product? A “study” of media portrayals of Muslims and Islam in Canada, due out within the next year or so.

Heritage Canada bureaucrats would have known something could go wrong with a Muslim-oriented project dealing with this subject if they’d only looked at a journalist’s guide” to Islam on the sponsoring CFM’s website. The Islam “guide,” which was pulled from the site last month, recommended that Canadian reporters seek out the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an authoritative source of information about Muslims and Islam. CAIR, of course, is the Washington, DC radical-Islamist organization that is funded by the Saudis and qualified by the US Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing trial. A parade of its senior officials and affiliated people has made its way into penitentiaries on criminal charges and an FBI agent testified that it was a front organization for Hamas.

The Islam guide was copyrighted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada (CAIR-CAN), the Canadian chapter of CAIR. It isn’t clear whether Canadian bureaucrats were confused by CAIR-CAN’s usual disinformation about “distancing” itself from CAIR – which then-CAIR-CAN Chair Sheema Khan acknowledged in a sworn December 2003 affidavit was her chapter’s mother organization. No one can figure out whether Heritage Canada and the Centre for Faith and the Media “interfaithers” knew that CAIR-CAN refuses to name and condemn the Hamas, Hizballah and other killers placed by Canada’s own government on a list of banned terror groups. Or that CAIR-CAN is a defendant in a 9/11 New York lawsuit. Or that CAIR – including CAIR-CAN – had been responsible for all-out attacks, through the use of “silencing” libel lawsuits, on the constitutional rights of virtually any Canadian and American media that dared to ask about the organizations’ links and agendas. This looks like a pretty weak “partner” for a Centre that aims to help the media.

Much worse was to follow, and it indeed appears that the CFM’s Muslim Project might be substantially in the hands of those who would be most reviled by moderate members of the very Canadian faith community in whose name the Centre hopes to work. A review of available roundtable announcements and other evidence, for example, makes the case. One gets the impression that an intimate and symbiotic relationship seems to have developed between the well-meaning, but apparently unaware CFM, and CAIR-CAN.

One example suffices. Among several public roundtables featuring CAIR-CAN operatives was a “media training” session in Montreal. The event consisted of the CFM Executive Director as moderator, and three panelists: CAIR-CAN Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee, Sameer Zuberi – somewhat misleadingly advertised in one source as a human rights advocate and student – and a cleric named Sikander Hashmi. Elsewhere, Zuberi was better known only weeks before as CAIR-CAN’s communications coordinator and “human rights” advocate. Meanwhile, Hashmi was described as a “freelance journalist and Imam”; his very few internet articles include one slavishly quoting from a CAIR-CAN communications officer … Sameer Zuberi. There couldn’t have been much for CFM moderator Wiseman to “moderate” as she sat in the middle of this hard-line trio.

Add to this the fact that the sole Muslim Director on the CFM Board was Nova Scotia-based Dr. Jamal Badawi – or had been until the entire list of CFM board members was yanked and “went to black” on about March 17, 2009, as rumours of strange links had the Centre in a swirl. There is also the disturbing fact that Badawi is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial, as is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), on whose executive he sits. He has also been on the board of directors of CAIR-CAN.

This mess has several serious implications.

First, under cover of a multi-religious, if essentially Christian institute, CAIR-CAN is being permitted to project itself as “moderate.” Its representatives pontificate as “Muslim leaders” – to use CFM’s website terminology – at taxpayer-supported public roundtables that even include media representatives of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Canadian Television Network. With roundtables targeting journalists and journalism schools, Heritage Canada, through the CFM, is inadvertently allowing the Canadian wing of a US unindicted co-conspirator to groom the present and future generation of journalists. In the process, they are squeezing off the stage those few moderate Canadian Muslims who have been determined enough to stand up to the CAIR-CANs and ISNAs of North America.

Second, the Wahabbi lobby, of which CAIR-CAN and ISNA are prominent members, has led in radical and unjustified efforts to portray Canadian Muslims as victims of mass-prejudice and bigotry. Ignoring the objections of the moderate Muslim Canadian Congress and solid law-enforcement statistics that refute such advocacy, these organizations push this destructive myth, regardless of the resulting risk to social cohesion, of alienating Muslim youth, of undermining security and quieting responsible debate about extremism. Needless to say, such claims are used to rationalize emotional and never-ending demands for state-sponsored privileges that are rightly withheld from other religious communities.

It is a good guess that CAIR-CAN’s endgame is a Centre for Faith and the Media “study” that certifies, once and for all, the truth of the contrived word “Islamophobia” and the victimhood of Canadian Muslims – particularly at the hands of media. This outcome would put further pressure on journalists to watch their step, especially in the context of Canada’s free speech-repressing “human-rights” commissions whose excesses have been revealed in the Maclean’s – Mark Steyn case. Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsmagazine, found itself under siege for publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s bestselling America Alone. The radical Canadian Islamic Congress laid formal complaints before human rights commissions in various Canadian jurisdictions, multiplying the costs to the magazine of defending – successfully, as it turned out – against this doubtful use of quasi-judicial administrative systems.

Consistent with attempts of the international Organization of Islamic Conference to impose, through the United Nations, worldwide Sharia blasphemy norms, an Islamist-influenced CFM report would set the stage for further attempts to bring Canadian reporters and others into line.

Thus might Heritage Canada’s government money and an unsuspecting media center be maneuvered to constrain media freedom and the free flow of ideas. It might even bring a reprise of the embarrassing – and one hopes, long dead – immediate post-9/11 experience of watching members of the tactless Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Security outreach unit, completely unschooled in issues of radical Islam, quoting in public briefings from CAIR-CAN’s own deceptive “victimhood” material.

There are also implications, here, for citizens’ ability to rely on well-meaning religious and quasi-religious institutions in interfaith matters. For the most part, the CFM board that has overseen these developments has consisted of a range of distinguished, highly-intelligent and honourable Canadians, from former Alberta legislator Jocelyn Burgener and respected Calgary Herald journalist Licia Corbella, to religion writer Joe Woodard and the Canadian Readers Digest’s Peter Stockland. But, in the end, the organization has been used as a welcome mat for radical Islamism.

Neither is Heritage Canada or the Centre for Faith and the Media alone. Canada’s Manning Centre, another respected institution, scurried along to join the post-9/11 penchant for interfaith outreach. Led by conservative political icon Preston Manning, but without apparent familiarity with difficult Islamist issues, the Manning Centre established an interfaith unit that stumbled. At last report, the Manning Centre had given a special place in its consultations to associates of the Islamic Society of North America, and the resulting embarrassment cannot be far behind.

Given current trends in the Canadian government and NGO sector, there will be a great deal of embarrassment to go around.

Farzana Hassan is a Toronto-based freelance writer and author ofProphecy and the Fundamentalist Quest.” She is the former president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, an organization representing progressive and secular Muslims. She can be reached at farzanahassan@gmail.com.

Related Topics: Education, Outreach, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

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PSALM 2008-2012

March 30, 2009
FROM THE  FIRST BOOK OF DEMOCRAT

PSALM 2008-2012

OBAMA IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT WANT.

HE LEADETH ME BESIDE THE STILL FACTORIES.

HE RESTORETH MY FAITH IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

HE GUIDETH ME IN THE PATH OF UNEMPLOYMENT.

YEA, THOUGH I WALK THRU THE VALLEY

OF THE BREAD LINE, I SHALL NOT GO HUNGRY.

OBAMA HAS ANOINTED MY INCOME WITH TAXES.

MY EXPENSES RUNNETH OVER MY INCOME.

SURELY, POVERTY AND HARD LIVING WILL FOLLOW ME

ALL THE DAYS OF HIS TERM.

FROM HENCE FORTH WE WILL LIVE ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES IN A

RENTED HOME WITH AN OVERSEAS LANDLORD.

BUT I AM GLAD I AM AN AMERICAN, I AM GLAD THAT I AM FREE. BUT I

WISH I WAS A DOG AND OBAMA WAS A TREE.


Today’s Quote:

“Americans grew tired of being thought to be dumb by the rest of the world, So they went to the polls and removed all doubt.”

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Cartoon: Sell More!

March 27, 2009

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American Socialism

March 27, 2009

How Americans Are (Or Are Not) Coming To Grips With ‘S’ Word

By RAGHAVAN MAYUR | 26 March 2009 | IBD

Socialism in the U.S. appears to be in a formative stage. For most Americans, the idea is fairly new, and many have yet to take a firm stand on policies such as income redistribution and government control of industries.

Yet, we’ve come a long way in just seven months. Last August, only 25% of Americans surveyed in our IBD/TIPP Poll agreed with the statement, “The U.S. is evolving into a socialist state.” But when asked again this month, the number jumped to 39%.

This included leaps to 63% from 35% for Republicans and to 47% from 23% for Independents. Only 13% of Democrats, on the other hand, agreed with the statement vs. 20% in August.

The numbers mark a rather significant shift and merit further analysis. But rather than welcome a healthy discussion, many in the media bridle when the “S” word is brought up.

Recall the scorn heaped on Joe the Plumber during last fall’s campaign, when he said Barack Obama’s tax plan to spread the wealth “scares me because it’s just one more step towards socialism.” Or the attacks on the professionalism of Florida TV newswoman Barbara West when she asked Joe Biden if Obama might lead the U.S. “into a socialist country much like Sweden.”


View larger image

We even experienced it ourselves. A writer for Salon.com, for instance, accused us of bias in our August presidential tracking poll simply because we dared to run a few questions about socialism.

Still, it’s important to understand the American mindset. And to get at hidden segments that underlie our survey data, March’s IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans a few relevant questions tapping into their level of agreement to the statements below:

• I believe the government should control or own key industries such as health care and energy.

• Generally, I support the idea of a government-run universal health care system.

• I believe it is the government’s role to redistribute wealth and income.

• The U.S. is evolving into a socialist state.

Based on responses to these questions, we developed a statistical model that reveals three latent segments of the American populace: Undeclared Socialists, Passionate Capitalists and Hybrid Deniers.

Undeclared Socialists are the smallest segment, with 29%, while Passionate Capitalists encompass 37% of Americans. Hybrid Deniers fall in between at 35%. The segments cross traditional party lines and political ideologies. Here are the differences:

Undeclared Socialists see the government in a very positive light. They believe it’s the government’s role to redistribute wealth and income, and they support government-run health care. They are the most willing to pay higher taxes to fund social programs.

While they lean toward socialistic tenets, we call them “undeclared” because the majority don’t believe the U.S. is evolving into a socialist state. Demographic groups most represented are blacks and Hispanics (55%), liberals (43%) and moderates (41%).

Passionate Capitalists strongly oppose the redistribution of wealth and income and believe the government should stay out of key industries. They’re also against universal health care, oppose higher taxes for more social programs and are sure the U.S. is evolving into a socialist state.

Two-thirds of Republicans (65%), most conservatives (57%) and a quarter of moderates (23%) fall into this segment.

Hybrid Deniers base their views on capitalistic tenets, but may be skeptical. Their thinking is “hybrid” in that they oppose the redistribution of income but are on the fence about government-run health care (with 38% giving a neutral rating).

They are “deniers” because they refute the notion the U.S. may be evolving into a socialist state. They are generally not willing to pay higher taxes to support more social programs. Most liberals (52%), nearly half (49%) of Democrats, a third whites (35%) and a similar share of blacks and Hispanics (33%) belong to this segment.

In the future, we’ll look closer at whether socialism is taking root so we’ll have a better handle on the nation’s direction.

• Mayur is president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which directs the IBD/TIPP Poll that was the most accurate in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

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To GIVE and to SERVE

March 26, 2009

To GIVE and to SERVE: the $6 billion National Service boondoggle

By Michelle Malkin  •  March 25, 2009 09:50 AM

My syndicated column today looks at the massive expansion of government-funded “national service.” Debate began yesterday in the Senate, where the $6 billion SERVE Act’s primary co-sponsors are Sens. Ted Kennedy and…Orrin Hatch. And there’s the rub. Since its inception, AmeriCorps has been a bipartisan-supported beast. The Evil Party and the Stupid Party strike again. If this does lead to the establishment of a civilian national security force, as Obama signaled during the campaign, Republicans who vote for this Trojan Horse will have no one to blame but themselves.

***

To GIVE and to SERVE: The $6 billion National Service boondoggle
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009

Maybe it’s just me, but I find federal legislation titled “The GIVE Act” and “The SERVE Act” downright creepy. Even more troubling: The $6 billion price tag on these bipartisan bills to expand government-funded national service efforts. Volunteerism is a wonderful thing, which is why millions of Americans do it every day without a cent of taxpayer money. But the volunteerism packages on the Hill are less about promoting effective charity than about creating make-work, permanent bureaucracies, and left-wing slush funds.

The House passed the “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act” – or the GIVE Act – last week. The Senate took up the companion “SERVE Act” Tuesday afternoon. According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate bill, S. 277, the bill would cost “$418 million in 2010 and about $5.7 billion over the 2010-2014 period.” And like most federal programs, these would be sure to grow over time. The bills reauthorize the Clinton-era Americorps boondoggle program and an older law, the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973.

The programs have already been allocated $1.1 billion for fiscal 2009, including $200 million from the porkulus package signed into law last month. In addition to recruiting up to 250,000 enrollees in AmeriCorps, the GIVE/SERVE bills would create new little armies of government volunteers, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Veterans Service Corps, and and expanded National Civilian Community Corps for disaster relief and energy conservation. And that’s not all. Spending would include new funds for:

*Foster Grandparent Program ($115 million);

*Learn and Serve America. ($97 million);

*Retired and Senior Volunteer Program ($70 million);

*Senior Companion Program ($55 million);

*$12 million for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for “the Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships programs;”

*$10 million a year from 2010-2014 for a new “Volunteers for Prosperity” program at USAID to “award grants to fund opportunities for volunteering internationally

in coordination with eligible organizations; and

*Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund-$50 million in 2010; $60 million in 2011; $70 million in 2012; $80 million in 2013; and $100 million in 2014.

“Social Innovation Fund?” If that sounds familiar, it should. I reported last fall on the Democratic Party platform’s push to fund a “Social Investment Fund Network” that would reward “social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations” and “support results-oriented innovators.” It is essentially a special taxpayer-funded pipeline for radical liberal groups backed by billionaire George Soros that masquerade as public-interest do-gooders.

Especially troublesome to parents’ groups concerned about compulsory volunteerism requirements is a provision in the House version, directing Congress to explore “whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

Those who have watched AmeriCorps from its inception are all-too-familiar with how government voluntarism programs have been used for propaganda and political purposes. AmeriCorps “volunteers” have been put to work lobbying against the voter-approved three-strikes anti-crime initiative in California and protesting Republican political events while working for the already heavily-tax-subsidized liberal advocacy group ACORN.

Citizens Against Government Waste, the D.C. watchdog, also documented national service volunteers lobbying for rent control, expanded federal housing subsidies, and enrollment of more women in the Women, Infants, and Children welfare program. AmeriCorps volunteers have also been paid to shuffle paper at the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Legal Services Corporation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

(Now, imagine Obama’s troops being sent overseas – out of sight and unaccountable — as part of that $10 million a year USAID/”Volunteers for Prosperity” program. Egad.)

One vigilant House member, GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx, successfully attached an amendment to the GIVE Act to bar National Service recipients from engaging in political lobbying, endorsing or opposing legislation, organizing petitions, protests, boycotts, or strikes; providing or promoting abortions or referrals; or influencing union organizing.

Supporters of GIVE/SERVE are now fighting those restrictions tooth and nail, screaming censorship and demanding that the provisions be dropped. Which tells you everything you need to know about the true nature of this boondoggle: Taxpayers GIVE their money to SERVE a big government agenda under the guise of helping their fellow man. It’s charity at the point of a gun.

***

Don’t know why, but the creepy title of the Senate bill reminds me of that classic Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man.” Remember?

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Mallard Fillmore’s Egg

March 26, 2009

mallard1

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Cartoon: Obama’s Budget

March 26, 2009

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Justices Mixed On Clinton Movie

March 25, 2009

Anti-Clinton film focus of top court case

by: MICHAEL DOYLE McClatchy News Service
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices gave decidedly mixed reviews Tuesday to efforts to regulate “Hillary: The Movie,” as they considered a case that may shape future election campaigns.

Everyone agrees the 90-minute film is vehemently anti-Hillary Clinton. The justices disagree on whether it’s tantamount to a political ad that can be regulated, or a documentary that enjoys full free-speech protection.

“I saw it,” Justice Stephen Breyer said. “It’s not a musical comedy.”

The arguments in the case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, indicated that the Supreme Court will produce another sharply fractured decision guiding campaign finance rules. The justices are expected to issue a ruling before early summer.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and Stephen Breyer suggested that they consider the film the kind of campaign advocacy that’s subject to reasonable regulation. By contrast, Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito cast the campaign-finance regulations as an infringement on the First Amendment.

Alito drilled home the point that campaign books might be banned next if the Obama administration prevails in the argument that campaign-finance restrictions extend to a lengthy documentary.

“That’s pretty incredible,” Alito said, to say that “if a campaign biography was published, that could be banned.”

A conservative group called Citizens United produced “Hillary: The Movie” and released it in January 2008. Featuring conservative commentators such as Robert Novak and Ann Coulter, the movie repeatedly describes Clinton with words like “cunning,” “ruthless,” “deceitful” and “Machiavellian.”

At the time of the film’s release, Clinton was a New York senator in the midst of the Democratic presidential primary, which she eventually lost to Barack Obama. Now secretary of state, she was at the time considered the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“This documentary is the very definition of the robust, uninhibited debate … that the First Amendment is there to guarantee,” said Theodore Olson, a former Bush administration solicitor general who represents Citizens United.

Corporations and labor unions long have been banned from directly funding political campaigns, although they can establish political action committees. A 2002 campaign-finance law extended the restrictions to cover ads that seek to sway voters without explicitly calling for a particular vote.

The 2002 law blocks corporations and labor unions from funding such “electioneering communications” within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election. Individual contributors also must be disclosed.

Citizens United showed the movie in six theaters nationwide. The organization also wanted to pay $1.2 million so the movie could be distributed through a video-on-demand service.

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Abu Dhabi Boosts Stake in Daimler

March 25, 2009

Islamics can destroy the Western auto industry by manipulating oil prices.  Now they’re buying and owning western auto industries.  Our only weapon?  Don’t buy their product and watch how many they can sell in the Muslim world.

Don

multiple articles:

Abu Dhabi boosts stake in Daimler investment firm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi has pumped an additional $1.41 billion into Aabar Investment PJSC, giving the emirate majority control in the investment firm set to become Daimler AG’s biggest shareholder.

The announcement Monday came a day after Abu Dhabi-based Aabar — an investment vehicle set up by the Persian Gulf sheikdom — said it would pay nearly euro2 billion ($2.72 billion) for a 9.1 percent stake in the German automaker best known for its Mercedes-Benz brand.

Aabar differs from many of the oil-rich Persian Gulf’s sovereign wealth funds in that some of its shares are publicly traded. That arrangement is expected to continue, although the government will now have a clear controlling interest in Aabar.

In a statement Monday, Aabar said Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. has finished buying 5.18 billion dirhams ($1.41 billion) in Aabar bonds that will be converted into ordinary shares.

IPIC is fully owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven semiautonomous city-states comprising the UAE and holder of most of the Persian Gulf country’s vast oil wealth. Abu Dhabi is the federation’s capital.

Monday’s announcement follows a similar cash injection worth about $408 million by IPIC last month. Once the latest stock conversion is complete, IPIC will own 71 percent of Aabar, up from about 36 percent now.

Officials from Aabar and IPIC did not immediately respond to request for comment.

IPIC is chaired by Sheik Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a prominent member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, which controls the United Arab Emirates presidency. He led the takeover of English football team Manchester City and joined Qatari investors in pumping billions of dollars into British bank Barclays PLC last year.

The Daimler deal appears to be Aabar’s biggest overseas investment yet.

In December, Aabar agreed to buy American International Group Inc.’s Swiss-based wealth management arm AIG Private Bank Ltd. According to its annual report, Aabar paid 307 million Swiss francs ($273 million) for the bank and assumed about 100 million Swiss francs worth of debt.

Aabar will become Daimler’s largest shareholder. The automaker’s second-largest owner is Kuwait’s primary sovereign wealth fund, which has a 6.9 percent stake.

———————————–

German groups seek Mideast cash to fend off hostile investors

By Daniel Schäfer in Frankfurt, Andrew England in Abu,Dhabi and Richard Milne in London

Financial Times | 24 Marcy 2009

Published: March 24 2009 02:00 | Last updated: March 24 2009 02:00

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German companies are looking eastwards. Daimler’s move to bring in Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments is seen by many as a showcase of how large German industrial groups are turning to the Middle East in search for cash, anchor investors and growth opportunities.

The global economic recession has made many German blue-chip companies, which often have a large free float, vulnerable to attacks from hostile shareholders and has spurred the need for fresh equity to bolster their balance sheets.

“There are a lot of German companies searching for anchor investors at the moment,” the head of German operations at a large investment bank said.

Some, such as the debtridden German car parts maker Schaeffler, have been desperately banging on the doors of Gulf funds and other sovereign wealth investors in Asia without being allowed in.

Gulf sovereign investment vehicles, boosted by soaring oil prices, had been particularly active until recently – most visibly with investments in ailing western banks, but also across asset classes and geographical areas.

However, the collapse in oil prices and plunge in global stock markets have resulted in a more cautious approach.

A senior official at the Qatar Investment Authority, for example, recently said it would hold off on investments over the next six months.

But one general trend that benefits both sides remains intact: the quest for value investments in companies that are technologically at the forefront and that can help Gulf countries to expand their domestic economies.

A blueprint for such deals has come from the US, where General Electric last year announced a deal with Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s increasingly powerful investment vehicle.

Under the agreement, Mubadala bought a stake in GE and has created an €8bn ($11bn) joint venture with the company’s finance arm in the Middle East

Siemens, the German industrial conglomerate, has been talking to investors from the Middle East and Russia for a while about a similar deal that could strengthen its long-term investor base and boost its growth opportunities in the Gulf.

Peter Löscher, Siemens’ chief executive and a former GE manager, told colleagues last year that he was particularly struck by the GE deal.

“I think we could see a new paradigm. These investors don’t have to take over the company, but could acquire a portfolio of stakes in the best industrial companies,” he said.

“They have the money and a big market, so it is a double advantage.”

Similar deals to GE’s have followed. A couple of months ago, MAN, the German truck and engineering conglomerate, spun off 70 per cent of its industrial service unit to Aabar to create a joint venture in the sector.

The Daimler investment is only the latest example of such a deal, but it will not be the last.

Khadem Al-Qubaisi, Aabar’s chairman, told the Financial Times on Sunday that the investment company was interested in buying into further German companies in the near future.

“There are a few companies on the list,” Mr Al-Qubaisi said, praising German companies for their technology, management and skilled workforces.

“We want to buy value and high quality assets,” he said.

He said there was interest in a petrochemical company in Germany, but gave no further details.

Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chief executive, told the FT in October that it had been approached by several investors from the “east and south-east” that would like to make big investments in the company.

A Gulf-based banker added he expected the funds to be more “opportunistic,” with a focus on where they felt there was value.

He said they remained in an “enviable position,” in spite of the losses they have suffered in the market turmoil.

————————

Daimler deal fuels rival makers

By Emmanuelle Smith and Miles Johnson | Financial Times March 24 2009 02:00

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Shares in Daimler rose yesterday after Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments agreed to take a 9 per cent stake in the German luxury carmaker.

The €1.9bn deal sparked fresh speculation that other Middle Eastern investors might have their sights on European companies damaged by the downturn.

Daimler shares gained 1.4 per cent to €21.64. Elsewhere in the sector, BMW rose 2.8 per cent to €22.60 while Volkswagen rose 1 per cent to €212.24.

French carmaker Renault ‘s shares increased 3.7 per cent to €15.56. The group was upgraded by Goldman Sachs, the broker, from “sell” to “neutral”. French peer Peugeot , however, was downgraded from “neutral” to “sell” – its shares fell 2.4 per cent to €15.92.

Goldman Sachs said the valuations of western European car manufacturers made this the “best buying opportunity in 10 years” and upgraded its sector coverage to “attractive”.

“We now see light at the end of the tunnel,” the broker said in a note, adding that “car sales declines troughed in February”.

“Historically, such troughs have marked highly attractive entry points, preceding both absolute and sector-relative performance,” it said.

Edmund Shing, European equities strategist at BNP Paribas, was more circumspect. He said of the Daimler deal: “The sector will clearly benefit in the short term, but the need to reinforce balance sheets implies that carmakers anticipate conditions remaining awful.”

He added that, in spite of measures such as France’s €7.8bn state aid package, there would “nonetheless be a sharp retrenchment in consumer spending”.

In the wider market, the pan-European FTSE Euro-first 300 index rose 3 per cent to 739.52, with insurers and banks adding the most points, as they anticipated, and then digested, details of the US Treasury’s toxic asset plans. The French CAC 40 gained 2.8 per cent to 2,869.57 and the Dax was up 2.6 per cent to 4,176.37.

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Would a Tax on Bonuses Be Constitutional?

March 25, 2009

D.C. Current:

Would a Tax on Bonuses Be Constitutional?  (No!)

By JIM MCTAGUE | 23 March 2009 Barron’s

The AIG Scandal: Who wins.

EXPERTS ARE DIVIDED OVER the legality of imposing a 90% tax on the bonuses of people working in financial firms that have received federal bailout money, as a bill passed by the House would do.

Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School says that while the tax is more egregious than others, there’s no precedent to point to that says the scheme is unconstitutional. But this assumes that what Congress has designed really is a tax, says Erik Jensen of Case Western Reserve University Law School.

“Yes, the taxing clause of the Constitution gives Congress the power ‘to lay and collect taxes,’ and ordinarily a court won’t strike down a charge that Congress says is a tax,” Jensen wrote in an e-mail in response to our query. “But that’s a matter of deference, not principle. The proposals now before Congress aren’t anything like business-as-usual taxation, where deference would be appropriate. A charge imposed at a confiscatory rate of 90% on only a few specified people and on only part of their income isn’t what the Constitution means by ‘tax.’ “

Jensen adds: “It’s obvious from the way members of Congress are talking that punishment, not revenue-raising, is involved here. Whatever label Congress uses, confiscating a well-defined category of property from a small group of people sounds a lot more like a taking than it does a tax.”

That the tax would take effect after some of the payments were made also raises issues. Says former Attorney General Richard Thornburg, also in an e-mail: “Such legislation could well run afoul of constitutional restrictions on bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, laws impairing the obligations of contract, unauthorized takings of property and the like. The wisdom of the Founding Fathers teaches us clearly (Federalist Number 44, 1788) that such legislation would be ‘contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.’ So, constitutional or not, such action would at least be unwise.”

The best that can happen, then is that AIG’s bonus babies end up expending the lucre on legal fees. Boo-hoo for them.

AIG, of course, stands for insurer America International Group and not for what I prefer to call it: “America’s Investment Gross-out.” All of you now know the entire AIG story by heart because this infuriating tale of unbridled Wall Street greed and government mismanagement is dominating the current news cycle. AIG’s bonus babies and their congressional enablers have become so despised they have managed the seemingly impossible feat of displacing Bernard Madoff as the symbol of Wall Street mendacity.

Perhaps, Ruth, your jewelry is safe, after all.

FOR THE REST OF US, A silver lining is emerging from the AIG scandal: The U.S. government will in all certainty create a Systemic Risk Regulator, an entity charged with collecting and analyzing data from large financial institutions and traders around the globe and determining if one or more players are placing unwise bets. This will turn out to be a Comstock Lode for the likes of IBM (ticker: IBM), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Fiserv (FISV).

How do I know the SRR will fly? Because credible financial executives tell me so. (Stow the oxymoron jokes.) The skids are greased. Treasury supports the concept; so do members of the Group of Thirty, a nonprofit organization led by Paul Volcker and composed of alleged leading economic lights from several major countries; and, most important, so do the chief executives of both the American Bankers Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Either group could filibuster the SRR for years.

THINK OF THE SRR AS A National Security Agency for global finance, with supercomputers, mathematicians, economists and regulators slicing and dicing real-time data from large financial players. The SRR will need hardware and software to communicate with the institutions and crunch the data. Though the undertaking will not be another Y2K, which affected every entity with a computer from the Department of Defense to the corner grocer, the dollars involved will be significant. That’s why IBM is flogging its expertise around Washington. It’s why David Ulrich, president of Fiserv’s Risk and Performance Solutions unit, has jetted from Atlanta to Washington to attend brain-storming sessions with Fed wonks and other bank regulators to determine the type of software that would be required.

“We’re extremely busy,” says Ulrich, “I can’t share the specifics. I’ve flown in and out of Dulles the last couple weeks. We are spending quite a bit of time [with regulators]. We learn together and offer ideas and solutions. They are very interested in hearing our ideas. We have multiple relationships with different layers at all the government entities.”

Purchases by the SRR likely are several years away. Congress must determine who will run the place. Then they will determine what products to buy. But who can blame the vendors for queuing up like aspirants for American Idol? The wait may be long, but the possible payoff is enormous. In this economy, the SRR looks like one of the few bright promises for the high-tech industry.

URL for this article:
http://online.barrons.com/article/SB123758844832599951.html
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Look beyond the bogus bonus smokescreen

March 25, 2009

Look beyond the bogus bonus smokescreen

By Michelle Malkin  •  March 20, 2009 10:56 AM

My syndicated column today tallies up all the craptacular spending that’s been going on while the AIG-bashing hypocrites on the Hill crow about $165 million in corporate bonuses none of them bothered to stop before they rushed to fork over billions to AIG in the first place. I mention the little-noticed $6 billion GIVE Act, which just passed the House — and which looks like the very kind of Soros Slush Fund I warned about last summer. Also note the rising cost of the $2 trillion cap-and-trade scheme, which vigilant GOP Sen. James Inhofe has been red-flagging.

Bonus issue = Kabuki theater of mass distraction. Keep your eye on the ball.

(And this just in, via HA Headlines: “U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said on Thursday he expects federal deficit spending will be about $1.6 trillion greater over the next ten years than President Barack Obama’s budget plan forecasts. Obama submitted his budget outline to Congress last month which forecast almost $7 trillion in deficits through 2019, however a worsening economic picture is expected to make the budget outlook darker. Conrad told reporters that the additional $1.6 trillion over the next decade was based on projections of the Democratic majority’s budget committee staff.”

***

Look beyond the bogus bonus smokescreen
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009

“We will hunt you down!” thundered Colorado Democrat Rep. Jared Polis during the AIG bonus demagogue-a-thon on the House floor Thursday. “If they’re not going to give [the bonuses] back, we’re going to take them back!” growled Alabama Dem. Artur Davis, who vowed to recover the taxpayers’ “ill-gotten gains” from rogue corporate executives. House Republicans pressed the Democrats on who knew what and when regarding the AIG bonus protections included in Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s now-infamous amendment to the stimulus bill. Rep. Barney Frank shrieked about the Bush administration’s culpability. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi smugly patted Democrats on the back for “protecting the national interest.”

I ask you now to turn away from the bogus bonus smokescreen over $165 million in taxpayer-backed compensation packages for AIG employees. It is a pittance compared to the gargantuan spending spree happening right under our noses. The AIG bonus price tag amounts to one-tenth of one percent of the total AIG giveaway ($85 billion in September, $37.8 billion in October; $40 billion in November; $30 billion in early March, which took place with the assent of a Republican administration, a Democrat administration, and the congressional leadership of both parties.

Taxpayers might be less skeptical of the born-again guardians of fiscal responsibility if these evangelists were actually practicing what they preached. While the Obama administration now issues impassioned calls to stop rewarding failure, they moved Thursday to dump another $5 billion into the failing auto industry. That’s on top of the Thursday announcement by the Federal Reserve to print up $1 trillion to buy up Treasury bonds and mortgage securities sold by the government — that no one else wants to buy.

Financial blogger Barry Ritholtz tallied up $8.5 trillion in bailout costs by December 2008 between the Federal Reserve, FDIC, Treasury, and Federal Housing Administration rescues (not including the $5.2 trillion in Fannie/Freddie portfolios that the US taxpayer is now also explicitly responsible for.) Then there’s the (at least) $50 billion proposed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in February to bail out home owners and lenders who made bad home loan decisions, which would be just a small sliver of the $2.5 trillion he wants to spend on the next big banking bailout, which would draw on the second $350 billion of the TARP package over which an increasing number of Chicken Little lawmakers are having buyer’s remorse.

Phew. We’re not done yet. Also on Thursday: As AIG-bashing lawmakers inveighed against wasted taxpayer funds and lamented the lack of accountability and rush to judgment that led to passage of the porkulus bill that mysteriously protected the bonuses, the Senate quietly passed a $10 billion lands bill stuffed with earmarks and immunized from amendments. GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, fiscal conservative loner, pointed out that none of the provisions for special-interest pork projects — including $3.5 million in spending for a birthday bash celebrating the city of St. Augustine, Florida — were subject to public hearings. That’s on top of the pork-stuffed $410 billion spending bill passed two weeks ago.

Oh, and did I mention that the House passed a $6 billion volunteerism bill (the “GIVE Act”) on Wednesday to provide yet another pipeline to left-wing advocacy groups under the guise of encouraging national service? Also coming down the pike: The Obama administration’s “cap-and-trade” global warming plan, which Hill staffers learned this week could cost close to $2 trillion (nearly three times the White House’s initial estimate.) and the administration’s universal health care scheme, which health policy experts reported this week could cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

It is no wonder that when earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden told local officials in Washington this week that he was “serious, absolutely serious” about policing wasteful porkulus spending in Washington (price tag: $800 billion not including interest), he was met with the only rational response his audience could muster:

Laughter.

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Cartoon: Mallard Fillmore

March 25, 2009

mallard

Rush Limbaugh Mallard Fillmore Cartoon

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Obama Punch Drunk

March 25, 2009
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Crisis Creators Marshal Mobs Against Others

March 25, 2009

Crisis Creators Marshal Mobs Against Others

By THOMAS SOWELL | IBD 25 March 2009

Death threats to executives at AIG, because of the bonuses they received, are one more sign of the utter degeneration of politics in our time.

Congressman Barney Frank has threatened to summon these executives before his committee and force them to reveal their home addresses — which would of course put their wives and children at the mercy of whatever kooks might want to literally take a shot at them.

Whatever the political or economic issues involved, this is not the way such issues should be resolved in America. We are not yet a banana republic, though that is the direction in which some of our politicians are taking us — especially those politicians who make a lot of noise about “compassion” and “social justice.”

What makes this all the more painfully ironic is that it is precisely those members of Congress who have had the most to do with creating the risks that led to the current economic crisis who are making the most noise against others, and summoning people before their committee to be browbeaten and humiliated on nationwide television.

No one pushed harder than Rep. Frank to force banks and other financial institutions to reduce their mortgage lending standards, in order to meet government-set goals for more homeownership.

Those lower mortgage lending standards are at the heart of the increased riskiness of the mortgage market and of the collapse of Wall Street securities based on those risky mortgages.

Sen. Christopher Dodd has played the same role in the Senate as Frank played in the House of Representatives. Now both are summoning government employees and the officials of financial institutions before their committees to be lambasted in front of the media.

Dodd and Frank know that the best defense is a good offense. Both know how hard it would be to defend their own roles in the housing debacle, so they go on the offensive against others who are in no position to reply in kind, given the vindictive powers of Congress.

This political theater is in one sense cheap beyond words. In another sense, it is costly beyond words.

It is cheap because the politicians who are creating this distraction from their own role in the crisis also voted for the very legislation that enabled contracted bonuses to be paid by companies like AIG that received government bailout money. If members of Congress can’t be bothered to read the laws they pass, then they have no basis for whipping up lynch mob outrage against people who did read the law and acted within the law.

Just as everyone seemed to be a military expert a couple of years ago, when it was chic to say that the “surge” in Iraq would not work, so today everyone seems to be an expert on executive pay.

Whether the particular executives who received bonuses were the ones responsible for AIG’s problems, or were among those who warned against those problems, is something that those of us on the outside don’t know. That includes those in politics and the media who are making the loudest noise.

The politicians claim they are protecting the taxpayers’ money. But having politicians trying to micromanage any business is far more likely to make those businesses lose more money, including the taxpayers’ money.

Securities based on risky mortgages are what toppled financial institutions, but it was the government that made the mortgages risky in the first place, by making home-ownership statistics the holy grail for which everything else was to be sacrificed, including common-sense standards for making home loans.

Politicians and bureaucrats micromanaging the mortgage sector of the economy is precisely how today’s economic disaster began. Why anyone would think that their micromanaging the automobile industry or executive pay across a wide sweep of other industries, is likely to make things better in the economy is a mystery.

The real point is to pander to envy and resentment against people who make a lot of money. Envy is always referred to by its political alias, “social justice.” But to put the lives of the wives and children of executives at risk for the sake of Beltway grandstanding shows how low our political saviors have sunk.

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Cartoon: Killing the Forest for the Tree

March 25, 2009

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Wrecking operation: Our enemies perceive exploitable weakness

March 25, 2009

Wrecking operation: Our enemies perceive exploitable weakness

Center for Security Policy | Mar 23, 2009
By Frank Gaffney, Jr.

President Obama’s stewardship of the national security portfolio to date amounts to a wrecking operation, a set of policies he must understand will not only weaken the United States but embolden our foes. After all, the Communist agitator Saul Alinsky, a formative influence in Mr. Obama’s early years as a “community organizer,” made Rule Number One in his 1971 book Rules for Radicals: “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”

According to this logic, the various steps Barack Obama is taking with respect to the armed forces, the foreign battlefields in which they are engaged, our allies as well as our adversaries will not only diminish our power.  They will encourage our enemies to perceive us as less powerful – with ominous implications.  Consider some illustrative examples:

  • The Obama administration is cutting the defense budget by 10%.  The result will be to preclude much, if not virtually all, of the modernization that will be required to prepare the U.S. military to contend with tomorrow’s wars.  Most of what the Pentagon spends goes to fixed – and growing – personnel-related costs (pay, bonuses, health care, etc.) and operations.  As a result, at Obama funding levels, there will not be much available even to “reset” today’s forces by refurbishing the equipment they have been using up in present conflicts.
  • The President is on a path to denuclearizing the United States by refusing to modernize the arsenal or even to fund fully the steps necessary to assure the viability of the weapons we have.  He hopes to dress up this act of unilateral disarmament by seeking to resume arms control negotiations with Russia, as though such throw-backs to the old Cold War and its bipolar power structure apply today – let alone that there are grounds for believing the Kremlin will adhere to new treaties any better than the previous ones it systematically violated.
  • For good measure, Mr. Obama is mounting a frontal assault on the armed forces themselves.  The President plans to repeal the law prohibiting homosexuals from serving in the military.  It is absolutely predictable that significant numbers of servicemen and women – including many of the most experienced commissioned and non-commissioned officers – will retire rather than serve in conditions of forced intimacy with individuals who may find them sexually attractive.  The effect will be to break the all-volunteer force.
  • Then there are the Obama initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The President’s adoption of a deadline for withdrawing most U.S. forces from the former and his signaling that – despite a near-term 17,000 troop “surge” – he is preparing to turn the latter over to the oxymoronic-dubbed “moderate” Taliban are conveying unmistakable messages to friends and foes alike: Under Barack Obama, it is better to be a foe of America than one of its friends.

This message is, of course, being strongly reinforced by the treatment he is doling out to nations in each category.

  • Friends like the Poles and Czechs have been left in the lurch as the Obama administration intimates that the United States now thinks Europe does not need after all to be defended against Iranian nuclear-armed missile threats.  Not since Jimmy Carter abandoned the NATO deployment of so-called “neutron bombs” has a President conveyed such a devastating message of weakness and irresolution in the face of hostile threats to our European alliance partners.
  • Other allies have not fared much better. Israel is on notice that its security interests are going to be sacrificed to the Obama administration’s pursuit of a Palestinian state – even one ruled by a terrorist organization like Hamas (or, for that matter, Fatah) committed to Israel’s destruction. Britain has been told it neither deserves nor has a “special” relationship with the United States.
  • Meanwhile virtually every enemy of the United States is the object of assiduous cultivation and overtures for rapprochement by the Obama administration.  It will reward IranSyria can expect the Golan Heights and removal from the terrorism list even as it pursues nuclear arms, renews its overtly colonial hold on Lebanon, supports the terrorists of Hezbollah and helps its abiding master, Iran, destabilize Iraq. for “going nuclear” with normalized relations.
  • As mentioned above, Russia gets to be treated like a superpower again while it arms Iran, inserts bombers and naval units into our hemisphere, wields its energy leverage against our friends in Europe, Ukraine and Georgia and squeezes our supply lines into Afghanisan.  There are no repercussions for China as it makes a mockery of the administration’s beloved Law of the Sea Treaty by threatening an unarmed U.S. naval vessel in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
  • Last but hardly least, a “respectful” Obama administration seems keen to embrace those in the Muslim Brotherhood and like-minded Islamist organizations who seek to impose the toxic theo-political-legal program authoritative Islam calls Shariah on distant populations – and insinuate it into our country.

Can there be any doubt what America’s adversaries make of all this?  Great grief will come our way if they conclude, as Alinsky surely would, that our power is waning, and that they can exercise theirs with impunity against our interests – and those of whatever friends we have left.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for the Washington Times.

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Islam and freedom of speech

March 24, 2009

Islam and freedom of speech

Geert Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament and head of the Freedom Party. In 2008 he released “Fitna,” a controversial film about the Koran and jihadist violence. Wilders was condemned as an anti-Muslim agitator but also hailed as a defender of Western values and free speech. In January, a Dutch court ordered Wilders prosecuted for allegedly inciting hatred against Islam. Last month he was invited to screen “Fitna” at Westminster, but the British government barred him from entering the country. He was recently interviewed by Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, who prepared the following edited excerpts:

Q: You’ve said that England today is more Chamberlain than Churchill. Explain what you mean.

A: Well, Chamberlain was the biggest appeaser to a totalitarian ideology called fascism. Now we face the threat of another totalitarian ideology called Islam, at least according to me. And instead of defending our freedom, defending our values, when I was invited a few weeks ago to show “Fitna” in the House of Lords, they denied me entry to the United Kingdom.

Q: The letter from the British home secretary said: “Your statements about Muslims and their beliefs . . . would threaten community harmony, and therefore public security, in the UK.”

A: What really happened is that she was pressured. In the English press, there was a lot of news that Lord Ahmed [Nazir Ahmed, a British peer] threatened to have 10,000 Muslims demonstrating in front of Westminster.

Q: If you were allowed into the country.

A: Yes. And this is what I meant by Chamberlain. The UK government is giving in, appeasing the enemy. They should stand up and say: We might not like the political view of this guy, but he should be allowed to come here and say it.

Q: In the film, you show quotations from the Koran, together with video of statements and actions by Muslim extremists.

A: Exactly. I used reality. It was really made by radical Muslims themselves. I just combined the pictures with the source. If they don’t like the movie, they don’t like what they do themselves. At the end of “Fitna,” it talks about Islamic ideology – that we should defeat the threat of Islamic ideology. For that to not be allowed in the United Kingdom, to be prosecuted in my own country, is an absolute outrage.

Q: A few weeks ago at a demonstration in Amsterdam, people were yelling, “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas.” Was there any prosecution of that type of speech?

A: This is the double standard: If you are a radical Muslim imam, and during your Friday prayer – this happened in the Netherlands – they said that Shariah should be installed, gays should be thrown from high buildings, women should be beaten up – terrible things. Sometimes the prosecutors brought them to trial, but they were always acquitted, because [of] freedom of religion. Now somebody like me stands up and says, “Hey, this is wrong,” and I’m being brought to court.

Q: This month is the 20th anniversary of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. Back then, the West pretty much defended Rushdie. Yet now, 20 years later, you’re banned from Britain, prosecuted in your country. What accounts for such a different response?

A: What’s happened is that the cultural relativists believe that all cultures are equal, that Islam is just another leaf on the tree – and that everybody who says different is a xenophobe or racist. Within Europe, Muslims today have enormous political force. They all vote, and they’re represented by mostly leftist parties.

Q: You say: “I don’t hate Muslims; I hate Islam.” Is there really any difference?

A: I have nothing against the people. I don’t hate Muslims. But Islam is a totalitarian ideology. It rules every aspect of life – economics, family law, whatever. It has religious symbols, it has a God, it has a book – but it’s not a religion. It can be compared with totalitarian ideologies like Communism or fascism. There is no country where Islam is dominant where you have a real democracy, a real separation between church and state. Islam is totally contrary to our values.

Q: What do you say to scholars of Islam like Daniel Pipes, who argues that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution? Why should one accept what Geert Wilders says about Islam, rather than someone like Pipes?

A: I respect Daniel Pipes, but I fully disagree. There is no moderate Islam. It’s like the [prime minister] of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, said himself recently: There is only one taste of Islam, and that is the taste of the Koran.

Q: But he’s an Islamist. You would expect him to say that. What about anti-Islamist Muslims, Muslims who reject the radicals?

A: Listen, the Koran is seen by Muslims, unlike all the other religions, as the word of God that can never be criticized. If you criticize the Koran, you are a renegade, an apostate. There are people who are moderate and call themselves Muslim. But moderate Islam is totally nonexistent. It will never have an Enlightenment as happened with Christianity.

Q: Why not?

A: Because unlike the interpretations of other holy books, Muslims believe that the Koran is the word of God and can never be changed.

Q: Hold on – the New Testament today is the same New Testament as a thousand years ago. What’s different is the way that book is read and understood. A thousand years ago, one could have said Christianity was a violent, militant religion; today one wouldn’t.

A: Yes, there was a change in Christianity. It was possible because Christians don’t believe that the Bible is literally the word of God – not like the Koran. If you really believe [the Koran] is the word of God, it will never have room to change.

Q: But why couldn’t there be a movement within Islam that would say, “Yes, the Koran says X, Y, and Z, and it has been interpreted violently by violent people, but we give it a different interpretation”?

A: Then they are not Muslims anymore.

Q: How do you decide whether they are Muslims anymore?

A: I am not deciding. It’s the Koran that’s saying it.

Q: What Christians did at the time of the Inquisition was what Christianity was then; Christianity today has become something different.

A: Your premises are totally wrong. Islam is not a religion. Islam is an ideology. You keep comparing it to Christianity, Judaism. It’s not. It’s an ideology that wants to dominate every aspect of society. I know billions of people believe it’s a religion. I don’t.

Q: Is there any difference in your view between Islam and Islamism?

A: Islam and Islamism, it’s exactly the same.

Q: With an outlook like this, don’t you effectively exclude any Muslim from being an ally?

A: I am not excluding anybody. I don’t even want Muslims from the Netherlands to leave my country. I’m not a [Jean-Marie] Le Pen. I want to help people be educated, be part of our society, get a job, respect our values. But it can never be possible on the basis of their violent ideology called Islam.

Q: Doesn’t that contradict your defense of free speech?

A: Holland is not an Islamic country. I wouldn’t want to have a system like in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Their ideology [says] to beat women, to kill Jews, to kill homosexuals. You can say, “Well, isn’t that freedom of speech?” I want us to have more freedom of speech. But there is one red line – incitement of violence.

Q: You’ve said that under Dutch law, the Koran should be banned. Were you being rhetorical, or did you mean it literally?

A: I meant it. But you have to know the Dutch context for that. In the ’70s, “Mein Kampf” was banned, and the left was so pleased. I am now proposing a ban on a book that is even worse than “Mein Kampf.” And I’m not the first one – Winston Churchill compared “Mein Kampf” to the Koran in the 1950s.

Q: An American defender of free speech would say “Mein Kampf” shouldn’t be banned, the Koran shouldn’t be banned; books shouldn’t be banned. To publish ideas in a book, even if they’re hateful ideas – the First Amendment says you have that freedom. Is that what you would like in Holland as well?

A: I would, with the exception of incitement of violence.

Q: Do you think that multiculturalism and freedom of speech are ultimately incompatible?

A: No, Islam and freedom of speech are incompatible. Cultural relativism makes it difficult to fight, because cultural relativism says that Islam is the same as Christianity. Europe is being Islamized very, very quickly. In our prisons, we have a mark in every cell indicating the direction of Mecca. In Holland! I can give you 500 examples. People are getting beaten up on the streets of Amsterdam and Brussels for drinking water during Ramadan. We should have a sense of urgency.

Q: What do you say to Muslims like Zuhdi Jasser? He is an American, a former Navy officer, a doctor. After 9/11, he was so horrified by what was done in the name of Islam that he founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy: pro-American, pro-democracy, anti-violence, anti-Islamist. How do you answer Muslims like him, who say: “I love my religion. I also love freedom, democracy, Western values. I believe in separation of mosque and state. But how can I be an ally with someone who says my religion itself is evil?”

A: Well, I would tell him I wish there were more people like you. It didn’t happen. I would not agree with [Dr. Jasser] about Islam, but I wish there were more like him.