The American Kafir

2010/06/30

Dems Switch Gears on Petraeus

Source: Human Events

by Michelle Oddis

Some of the same Democratic senators who refused to join in a 2007 vote of confidence for Gen. David Petraeus switched gears on Tuesday and voted to confirm him as President Obama’s choice to lead the Afghanistan war effort.

Senators Jack Reed (D.-R.I.), Daniel Akaka (D.- Hawaii) and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin (D.-Mich.) voted to confirm Petraeus and were among the 25 senators who voted against a resolution to support Petraeus in 2007.

The resolution came in response to an ad by the left-wing MoveOn.org, that appeared in The New York Times with the headline “General Betray-us.”

The ad came as Petraeus was submitting his “Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq” to the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming the military surge that President Bush began the previous January was starting to have a positive impact.  Opponents of the Iraq war claimed at the time that the general was “cooking the books” to politically benefit the White House.

In addition to attacks by the anti-war left, Petraeus faced skeptical Democrats on the Senate panel when he presented his report in 2007.

 Reed stated in 2007 that he didn’t believe Petraeus could be objective about the situation in Iraq. “I can’t see him coming in here and differing from the President. So, I don’t think he’ll be objective. I think what he’ll be is careful to argue that the surge has been a success,” said Reed. 

On NBC’s “Nightly News,” Reed stated: “In many respects, I think Petraeus is playing a political role for the President. He is a splendid officer, a good soldier.”

Reed’s questioning of Petraeus Tuesday mentioned nothing about having a lack of confidence in Petraeus’ honesty, nor did Akaka’s or Levin’s. 

When asked by HUMAN EVENTS why he and his Democrat colleagues now supported Petraeus, Levin said he “[didn’t] have time” to comment. 

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.) said Democrats are supporting Petraeus now because “he has proven himself in their eyes since the Bush experience.”

“Those were the guys who were saying that the surge was not going to work in Iraq. Those are the guys who agreed with Harry Reid when he said that we had lost the war. Those are the guys that didn’t think that he would be successful, and then when he was successful, they had to support him,” said Inhofe.

MoveOn.org has even scrubbed their website of any mention of the infamous “General Betray-Us” ad.

“This is a big, big deal. I think in everyone’s mind, he is the best one to do it. He is the only one I can think of right now that I know can pull this thing off,” said Inhofe.

Those voting against the resolution supporting Petraeus in 2007 were then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), Bingaman (D-N.M.), Boxer (D.-Calif.), Brown (D-Ohio), Byrd (D-W.Va.), Dodd (D-Conn.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Feingold (D-Wis.), Harkin (D-Iowa), Inouye (D-Hawaii), Kennedy (D-Mass.), Kerry (D-Mass.), Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Murray (D-Wash.), Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Sanders (I-Vt.), Schumer (D-N.Y.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Wyden (D-Ore.)


Miss Oddis is Assistant Managing Editor at HUMAN EVENTS. Before working with Human Events she was a researcher for syndicated columnist and author Robert Novak. Ms. Oddis has appeared on FOX News Hannity and Colmes, and The O’Reilly Factor. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Eastern Connecticut State University. E-mail her at moddis@eaglepub.com. You can also request to follow her on Twitter. Or find her Facebook fan page here


General Petraeus is probably singing Toby Keith’s Song How Do You Like Me Now?

A little something to jolt the memories of the Progressive, Marxist, Commie, Far Left, Numb Skulls in Washington DC.

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The Epitome of Arrogance-Video of Rep Pete Stark D-CA Talking Down To His Constituents

Dr. Lillback’s Opinion on the Importance of Washington’s Communing With the Church

Source: The Providence Forum

https://i2.wp.com/christiansoldiers.real-estate-investors-resource.com/images/sacredfire.jpg

A perennial question that serious thinkers address is: What was the driving force for the creation of the United States? Among the many options for scholars to choose include a need to break from the divine right of kings and its attendant restriction of civil, economic and religious liberty. Others appeal primarily to economic motives alone. And still others emphasizethe need for religious freedom to be practiced. Regardless of how one answers this question, inevitably the faith of our founding fathers, in specific the faith of George Washington, enters the discussion. Because Washington’s faith is a legitimate question given Washington’s pivotal role in the creation of America, I would like to address it in this discussion.

Some could readily dismiss the importance of the question of Washington’s faith and attendant questions like “Did Washington ever take communion in the Christian Church?” as irrelevant given the more dramatic struggles for power represented by monarchy versus republican government. I’m quite willing to admit that Washington’s communing in a Christian Eucharistic setting clearly was not a pivotal question for the creation of the United States. Nevertheless,to dismiss it as having no significance is shortsighted and represents the failure to appreciate the profound interplay between church and state in western civilization in general and the American experiment in particular.

To begin, consider the often overlooked fact that Church and State were identical in the United Kingdom in the 18th Century as the American Declaration of Independence was signed. This meant that the King had to legally protect the church and it also meant that every Anglican clergyman had taken a legally enforceable vow to the monarch. Thus for Washington, who grew up in the Old Dominion, we can see that his relationship to the State unavoidably evokes the question of his relationship to the State’s established Church.  To be a member in good standing in the Anglican Church, one must be a communicant, and specifically communing, at the sacramental table. There has never been any question about Washington’s doing so in his earlier years in the House of Burgesses in Virginia when he was also serving as vestryman and churchwarden for the Anglican Church of Virginia.

Scholars are agreed that Washington ceased to commune and resigned as a vestryman at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Taking these actions, he was breaking with both Church and State as he began to lead theAmerican Revolutionary Army. While some have identified these actions with a nascentdeism, a better explanation is he recognized he was no longer able to be in communion with the King or the King’s clergymen. Thereafter in the Revolution, reports of Washington’s communing occur in non-Anglican settings such as the Presbyterian church in Morristown, New Jersey. Furthermore, Mrs. Alexander Hamilton reported to her family that on the day of the new President’s inauguration in New York City, she had the privilege to kneel and take communion with him in an Episcopalian Chapel.  Washington’s actions in this regard are consistent both with his break from the lawful Church and his return to its successor that was legally recognized on both sides of the ocean by the King and Congress.  Thus it is clear that even in the matter of communing we see not only a witness to Washington’s Judeo-Christian faith but also the relevance of his religious actions for the creation of the new republic.  Washington understood this and it can be seen in one of his own letters when he refers to the chalice of the communion service by the words of the King James Bible, “the cup of blessing.” He warns the nation that it is possible for the cup of blessing to be spilled before it reaches the lips of the one who partakes. In this way he was reminding the country that they were seated around a common communion table of civil liberty that required both thanksgiving and responsibility.

So to conclude, Washington’s communing was not nearly as important as Washington’s view of the tyranny of the King of England, but it is a faulty understanding of our nation’s origins to not see, no pun intended, the communion between the Eucharist and the revolution in the life of our founding father, George Washington.

Rabbis say Kagan not a ‘kosher’ Supreme Court nominee

Source: Catholic News Agency

Alexandria, Va., Jun 27, 2010 / 06:13 pm (CNA).- According to the National Rabbinical Alliance and its more than 850 Orthodox Jewish members, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is not “kosher,” or fit to serve, on the court.

A Thursday press release on the part of the alliance said that “Elena Kagan is not kosher. She is not fit to sit on this Court — or any court.” The group also called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to refuse to confirm Kagan as replacement of retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

Referencing Kagan’s past pro-abortion and pro-homosexual record, the alliance asserted that the nominee would hasten “society’s already steep decline into Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, told Cybercast News Service that most groups are happy when “one of their own” is nominated to such a prestigious position. “A great deal has been made about the fact that she would be the second Jewish woman on the court,” Levin noted. “We want to signal to people across the country that we take no pride in this.”

“We feel that Elena Kagan turns traditional Judaism on its head – from a concept of a nation of priests and holy people, she is turning it into, ‘Let’s homosexualize every segment of society. And by the way, partial-birth babies have no right to be delivered’,” he declared.

Levin also expressed his bewilderment as to why Obama would have appointed Kagan. He said that “eventually, down the road, someone — or some group — is going to ‘take the hit’ for the crazy decisions that Kagan is bound to make,” he declared. “So we would have much preferred if President Obama had given this ‘distinction’ to another minority group, instead of singling out the Jews.”

The Rabbinical Alliance is hopeful that someone in the Senate will filibuster Kagan’s appointment.

Hearings for her confirmation begin on Monday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Toomey – Sestak’s ‘Job-gate’ Still an Issue

Source: Human Events

by John Gizzi
06/30/2010

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — GOP Rep. Pat Toomey said his Pennsylvania Senate race opponent Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak was “to the left of Obama” and that the controversy surrounding an administration job offer to Sestak if he quit the Senate primary has not gone away.

Five weeks after Sestak made headlines by defeating Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary followed by the controversy over whether he was offered an administration position to abandon his challenge to Specter, the fall contest between Sestak is fast shaping up as the showcase right vs. left Senate race of 2010.

“That’s a pretty accurate description,” Toomey told HUMAN EVENTS in a wide-ranging interview on Saturday, characterizing opponent Sestak as “not only to the left of Arlen Specter to the left of Barack Obama.”

In the interview before he addressed a cheering Eagle Forum event at the Aronomink Golf Club Saturday night, former three-term Rep. Toomey left little doubt he would run a strong campaign contrasting his own solidly conservative record in Congress (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 97%) with that of Sestak, whom he noted “has a 100% rating from NARAL [the National Abortion Rights Action League], an ‘F’ from the National Rifle Association and votes 100% of the time with Nancy Pelosi.”

In addition, the GOP Senate nominee, who surprised many conservatives last year by saying he would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, addressed the President’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.  While stopping short of voicing opposition to Kagan, Toomey said he was “bothered” by reports of the nominee’s hostility to the ROTC while dean of Harvard Law School and that he would be studying her record closely.

Does “Job-Gate” Have Legs?

In two days of talking with political players in the Philadelphia area, I found that most of them felt the furor over whether the Obama White House had offered Sestak a federal post to abandon the primary against Specter had faded and would not be much of an issue in the general.

“Whatever the truth about the administration’s claim [that Sestak was offered a non-paying post on the Federal Advisory Intelligence Board and thus no law was broken], people seem to think it’s ‘politics as usual’ and have moved on,” said Philadelphia “superlawyer” James Baumbach, who has run campaigns for the late Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo and the late Democratic Gov. Bob Casey. “But hey, Toomey has raised more than $8 million as of the primary in May [more than any non-incumbent Senate candidate in the U.S.]. He might be able to revive it as an issue.”

In the interview, Toomey said, “I don’t think this job controversy has completely gone away.  There is a feeling among folks I have talked to that the administration was not fully forthcoming in the explanation, and that there is an improbability that someone could be offered a non-paying job—which would have been illegal for him to accept while serving in Congress—and drop out of a Senate race.”

As to whether he supports the efforts of Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) to pursue a full-blown investigation of “job-gate,” Toomey said: “I’ll leave that to others.”

The conservative hopeful also spelled out the issues on which he plans to paint Sestak as “to the left of Obama:”  the Democrat’s calls for an even-larger stimulus package (“He wanted a trillion-dollar stimulus”), a government bailout for people who were unable to pay mortgages, and his support for a measure by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio) to make it legal for states to ban private health coverage.

“He’s on the left fringe,” said Toomey, who added that he would appeal to voters on his traditional agenda of smaller government, reform of what he called the “egregious” tax code, repealing healthcare, lowering the capital-gains tax, and abolishing the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

In a year when some Republicans have come under fire from the right for campaigning as less-than-true-blue conservatives, Toomey’s strategy of painting the differences between himself and Sestak in bold colors has so far gotten good reviews from GOP activists in the Keystone State

David Marston, former U.S. Attorney and 1978 GOP gubernatorial candidate, told HUMAN EVENTS: “This is the right strategy. Toomey is much more in tune with Pennsylvania voters this year with his message of less government, lower taxes and more freedom.  Even in a state where Democrats have a strong voter registration edge over Republicans, Sestak’s far-left liberalism is out of the mainstream.”

“The more voters get to know Pat, the more they like him,” said small businessman and civic leader Kevin Kelly, leader of the “loyal opposition” faction in the Philadelphia GOP that is currently battling for control with its “Old Guard.” “And the more they get to know Joe Sestak’s record, the more they will like Pat.”


John Gizzi is Political Editor of HUMAN EVENTS.


Appeals panel considers whether Obama is even American

Source: WND


BORN IN THE USA?

Case challenges eligibility for failure to provide proof of citizenship


By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Three judges on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are beginning to review a case that alleges Barack Obama is not eligible to be president – in fact, he may not even be American.

The federal court case was brought by attorney Mario Apuzzo on behalf of plaintiffs Charles Kerchner and others, and had been dismissed at the district court level.

Arguments earlier had been scheduled for June 29 in the dispute, but a court order recently cancelled the hearing and instead announced the case would be decided based on the merits of the legal briefs submitted by attorneys.

A document from court clerk Marcia Waldron said the case will be decided by Judge Dolores Sloviter, who was appointed by Jimmy Carter; Maryanne Trump Barry, who was appointed by Bill Clinton; and Thomas Hardiman, who was appointed by George W. Bush.

Sign the petition that asks state officials to validate Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility.

The filings were due on the day the hearing would have been held, but there’s no published timetable for a decision to be released.

The case argues Obama probably is not even a U.S. citizen, much less a “natural born citizen” as required by the U.S. Constitution of the chief executive officer,

On a blog dealing with the case, lead plaintiff Kerchner has delivered updates.

The case filed was against Obama, Congress and others, just before Obama was sworn into office.

The case has argued, “Under the British Nationality Act of 1948 his father was a British subject/citizen and not a United States citizen and Obama himself was a British subject/citizen at the time Obama was born.

“We further contend that Obama has failed to even conclusively prove that he is at least a ‘citizen of the United States’ under the Fourteenth Amendment as he claims by conclusively proving that he was born in Hawaii,” the arguments have claimed.

The claims from Apuzzo came in opposition to government demands that the case be dismissed for lack of “standing” on the part of the plaintiffs.

Apuzzo has argued that standing should be a simple decision.

“How can you deny he’s affecting me?” Apuzzo told WND during an interview. “He wants to have terror trials in New York. He published the CIA interrogation techniques. On and on. He goes around bowing and doing all these different things. His statements we’re not a Christian nation; we’re one of the largest Muslim nations. It’s all there.”

The case was brought by Apuzzo in January 2009 on behalf of Charles F. Kerchner Jr., Lowell T. Patterson, Darrell James Lenormand and Donald H. Nelson Jr.

Named as defendants are Barack Hussein Obama II, the U.S., Congress, the Senate, House of Representatives, former Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The case alleges Congress failed to follow the Constitution, which “provides that Congress must fully qualify the candidate ‘elected’ by the Electoral College Electors.”

The complaint also asserts “when Obama was born his father was a British subject/citizen and Obama himself was the same.” The case contends the framers of the U.S. Constitution, when they adopted the requirement that a president be a “natural born citizen,” excluded dual citizens.

Apuzzo’s latest filing argues Obama’s arguments “are nothing more than presentations of general statements on the law of standing which do not address the specific factual and legal content of plaintiffs’ claims. … The defendants in much of their brief basically tell the court that the Kerchner case should be dismissed because all other Obama cases have been dismissed.”

Apuzzo said it is “self-evident” under the Constitution that “anyone aspiring to be president has to conclusively prove that he or she is eligible to hold that office. Part of that burden is conclusively showing that one is a ‘natural born citizen.’ Hence, the citizenship status of Obama is critical to the question of whether plaintiffs having standing, for it is that very statute which is the basis of their injury in fact.”

He noted the case was filed before Obama became president.

“At this time he was still a private individual who had the burden of proving that he satisfied each and every element of Article II, Section 1, Clause 5. That plaintiffs filed their action at this time is important for it not only sets the time by which we are to judge when their standing attached to their action against Obama, Congress and the other defendants … but also to show that Obama has the burden of proof to show that he is a ‘natural born citizen’ and satisfied the other requirements of Article II,” Apuzzo wrote.

“At no time in these proceedings or in any other of the many cases that have been filed against him throughout the country has Obama produced a 1961 contemporaneous birth certificate from the state of Hawaii showing that he was born there … We must conclude for purposes of defendants’ motion that since Obama is not a 14th Amendment ‘Citizen of the United States’ let alone an Article II ‘natural born citizen,’ he is not eligible to be president and commander in chief. Not being eligible to be president and commander in chief he is currently acting as such without constitutional authority. It is Obama’s exercising the singular and great powers of the president and commander in chief without constitutional authority which is causing plaintiffs’ injury in fact.”

WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

Some of the lawsuits question whether he was born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.

Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born. And still others contend he holds Indonesian citizenship from his childhood living there.

Adding fuel to the fire is Obama’s persistent refusal to release documents that could provide answers and the appointment – at a cost confirmed to be at least $1.7 million – of myriad lawyers to defend against all requests for his documentation. While his supporters cite an online version of a “Certification of Live Birth” from Hawaii as his birth verification, critics point out such documents actually were issued for children not born in the state.

WND also has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes his kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records and his adoption records.

Video: White House refuses to answer about Obama/Blagojevich connection

Source: Expose Obama

This is a transcript and video of the White House Press Briefing from 6-29-10. The White House refuses to answer about allegations that Obama communicated with Blagojevich through a middleman, which formerly had been denied by Obama.

MR.GIBBS: Yes, Ann.

Q Tom Balanoff is a local labor leader in Chicago and in testimony today at the Blagojevich trial he talks about a phone call that he got from Barack Obama on Monday evening before the Tuesday election, at which he quotes Mr. Obama as saying that he thinks Valerie Jarrett should be a United States senator, that she fits the criteria; “I would prefer that she remain working for President Obama, but she does want to be Senator.” And Balanoff said he told the soon-to-be President, “I said, ‘Thank you, I’m going to reach out to Governor Blagojevich with that.’” Did the President make that phone call?

MR. GIBBS: You’re telling me about this testimony. I’m not going to get into commenting on obviously an ongoing trial. And I have had not had an opportunity to see that.

Q But you’ve said before that the President did not get involved with the suggestions or the conversations with Blagojevich.

MR. GIBBS: Ann, I’m just not going to get into commenting on an ongoing trial.

Clinton Era Memo Betrays Kagan’s Extremist Pro-Abortion Thinking

Source: Operation Rescue

Commentary by Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor, Operation Rescue

Washington, DC – Earlier this week, the Clinton Library released a number of memos related to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The most discussed memo, dated January, 1997, concerns her take on the necessity of partial birth abortions and her input by adding language to a statement issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that favored the now-illegal late-term abortion method.

While Kagan determined that the pro-abortion ACOG was perhaps the most reliable source of medical opinion on Partial-Birth abortions, she cites statements of opposing viewpoints issued by the Society of Physicians for Reproductive Health (PRCH) and “a group of mostly pro-life physicians called PHACT.”

Kagan does not include a written statement from PHACT and only quotes from that organization in part. In contrast to her dismissive attitude toward PHACT, Kagan not only includes a full, two-page statement issued by PRCH on their letterhead, but highlights portions of that statement that agreed with the position in support of partial birth abortion that she advocated.

The Society of Physicians for Reproductive Choice is without a doubt the most extreme organization of abortionists in the nation. It is a group of abortionists who proudly boast of having committed illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade and advocate for no restrictions on abortion at all – ever.

These back-alley abortionists violated the law, some for years, committing thousands of illegal abortions. Who knows how many women were maimed or even killed by them. They were never held accountable for their crimes after the issuance of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973.

Among those PRCH abortionists are Curtis Boyd, who now operates the largest late-term abortion mill in the free world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were there are virtually no laws restricting abortions through the 9th month of pregnancy. Women travel to Albuquerque from all over the country to obtain late-term abortions that are illegal in their home states.

Radical? Extreme? That is only the tip of the iceberg.

The PRCH recently published a list of so-called “Abortion Providers Declaration of Rights” that details their fanatical abortion philosophy. According to this statement, in their perfect world there would be no abortion laws whatsoever, every physician would be forced to receive abortion training, and pro-life First Amendment speech against abortion would be silenced.

But perhaps most disturbing of demands made in the PRCH’s desired “rights” states, “Abortion providers have the right to continue their training and conduct research in abortion techniques.”

In other words, the PRCH wants abortionist to have the right to conduct human experimentation on their unwitting abortion patients in order to develop new ways to dismember, poison, or otherwise kill innocent pre-born babies, many which are viable and healthy. One of their members, Curtis Boyd has already admitted he has done so much in his development of new ways to kill babies in the second trimester of pregnancy.

It simply doesn’t get any more extreme than that. Yet, this is a group that Kagan has taken cues from in the past. The same basic philosophy promoted in the 1997 PRCH memo made its way into the policy statement of ACOG, thanks to recommendations made by Kagan in her own handwriting.

The 1997 ACOG statement, with the PRCH inspired Kagan additions, helped defeat the Federal ban on partial birth abortions that year and prolonged the use of this grisly brain-sucking technique an additional six years until the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 was finally passed and signed into law.

“This memo shows us that Kagan had no problem dictating policy to physicians, just like she is going to dictate policy from the bench,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Any Senator who supports Kagan supports abortion policy in its most extreme form, including abortions through the ninth month of pregnancy and human experimentation on women. This is unthinkable and unconscionable.”

“The American people overwhelmingly oppose late-term abortions and radical abortion policy that is reflected in the Kagan memo. Senators who would have the bad judgment to vote for her confirmation invite serious voter backlash during their next election,” said Newman. “Remember the public outrage expressed when Senators Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak betrayed their pro-life constituency during the debate on tax funding of abortions in health care. Kagan supporters should expect nothing less.”

  • Read the full Kagan/ACOG memo
  • Contact your Senator to voice opposition to the Kagan confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Alleged Russian spy ring members led typical American lives

    Filed under: Lies and more Lies, National Security, Obama, Progressives — Tags: — - @ 1:35 pm

    Source: LA Times

    The charges against 11 suspects expose a surprising – and mundane – side to modern espionage.

    By Bob Drogin and Geraldine Baum, Los Angeles Times
    SHIRLEY SHEPARD, EPA

    Reporting from Montclair, N.J. — Richard and Cynthia Murphy grew lettuce in a backyard garden, walked their daughters to the school bus each morning, and swapped Christmas cards with neighbors who had moved to Texas.

    Their modest three-bedroom house sported maroon shutters and a wrap-around porch, and sat on a winding street in a well-heeled suburb across from Manhattan. They drove a green Honda Civic.

    To all appearances, the Murphys were a typical, child-obsessed American family — not deep-cover Russian spies straight from a Cold War novel.

    Their arrests, along with those of 9 other alleged Russian spies, has exposed a surprising side to modern espionage: The group led mundane lives far from the James Bond image. Instead of car chases and shootouts, they paid taxes, haggled over mortgages, and struggled to remember computer passwords.

    As a result, the 11 — the biggest alleged spy ring every broken by the FBI — blended into American society for more than a decade. They joined neighbors at block parties, school picnics and bus stops. Four of the couples were married, and at least three had young children.

    One suspect wrote columns for a Spanish-language newspaper in New York. Another ran an international consulting and management firm in Boston, while his wife sold high-priced real estate near Harvard University. Yet another drove a shiny blue BMW to his investment banking job in Seattle; he regularly updated his status on LinkedIn, a social networking site.

    If their cover jobs were ordinary, their secret lives had a humdrum side that sometimes seems more like Woody Allen than John LeCarre.

    One suspect, Anna Chapman, bought a Verizon cellphone in Brooklyn, N.Y., with a patently false address: 99 Fake Street. She also posted sultry photos of herself on Facebook and videos on YouTube. Another, Juan Lazaro, used a payoff from Moscow to pay nearly $8,000 in overdue county and city taxes, according to court documents.

    Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley, the alleged spies in Boston, filed regular expense reports to Moscow Center, headquarters for Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, called the SVR.

    “Got from Ctr. 64500 dollars, income 13940, interest 76. Expenses: rent 8500, utilities 142, tel. 160, car lease 2180, insurance 432, gas 820, education 3600,” plus medical, lawyers’ fees, meals and gifts, mailboxes, computer supplies, and so on, they wrote in one, according to an FBI affidavit.

    And the lettuce-growing Murphys of Montclair repeatedly argued with Moscow Center in encrypted computer messages last summer about who should legally own their $400,000 house — them or the SVR.

    “From our perspective, purchase of the house was solely a natural progression of our prolonged stay here,” the Murphy’s explained, apparently after being reprimanded. “It was a convenient way to solve the housing issue, plus to ‘do as the Romans do’ in a society that values home ownership.”

    Murphy later whined to another spy about their bosses back in Moscow: “They don’t understand what we go through over here.”

    The group allegedly attended one of Moscow’s most elite spy schools before landing in America. Their mission was spelled out, somewhat awkwardly, in a 2009 message to the Murphy’s from Moscow Center.

    “You were sent to USA for long-term service trip,” the message read, according to the FBI affidavit. “Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e, to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and send intels [intelligence reports] to C [Center].”

    It’s unclear whether they were successful at that. But they did seem to succeed in adapting to life in America.

    The Murphys appeared devoted their tow-headed, blue-eyed daughters, Katy, 11, and Elizabeth (called Lisa) 9.

    Most mornings, according to neighbors, it was the mom, Cynthia, a blonde woman who favored long flowing skirts, who walked up Marquette Street to catch the commuter bus to Manhattan.

    Or at least that’s where everyone assumed she went.

    “I think she was in financial services but who knows now?” said Elizabeth Lapin, who lives on the same street.

    Since the Murphy’s moved into the neighborhood a few years ago, Lapin and Cynthia had spoken at the annual block party in the fall, at the bus stop, on the sidewalk.

    Many had assumed that Cynthia, because of her foreign accent and light hair, was Scandinavian. Lapin also said her neighbor smiled and waved whenever she passed. Once she saw her walking home with a bunch of daffodils and a French baguette.

    “If you were to look at everybody on this street,” added Lapin, “she’d be the last person you’d suspect as a spy.”

    Richard Murphy was the “stay at home dad,” said Denise Capone, 38, who lives across the street.

    Murphy walked his daughters to the school bus in the morning and trailed after them in the late afternoon while they rode their bikes around the cul-de-sac at the end of their street.

    Richard also tended the backyard vegetable garden and flower pots on the back deck. He wasn’t as friendly as his wife — though he sometimes shared a morning coffee with other stay-at-home parents.

    “Whatever they were doing as spies, when you think about it, that was just their jobs,” said Denise’s husband, Steve, who works as a bartender near Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

    “The guy stayed at home and sent e-mails and had secret meetings or whatever he did in his spy work. But then he was done he was like everybody else — he took care of the kids, he worked the yard, he carried bikes.

    “The only difference is that his main office was in Moscow,” Steve said.

    His daughter, Joelle, 12, looked at her father as if he was from another planet.

    One Saturday, her friends, the Murphy girls, were merrily rolling down the street on their bikes; on Sunday their house swarmed with FBI agents, and on Monday, the media arrived in droves.

    Little Lisa Murphy was in the house with female agents after her parents were taken away Sunday, almost two hours later Katy, in a bathing suit and carrying a swimming noodle, returned home from a pool party. A woman quickly drove both girls away in a mini-van with tinted windows.

    Suddenly everything seemed suspicious in a place where nothing usually is.

    The possibility that she was living in a hotbed of espionage was not nearly as disturbing to Amy Bandler, another neighbor, as what might happen to the Murphy girls.

    Last week, Katy had received three awards at the Hillside Elementary School’s “moving up” ceremony. Next year, she would have been attending Glenfield Middle.

    “I’m sick about the children,” Bandler said. “What becomes of the spies’ kids?”

    Most of the 11 alleged spies, like the Murphys, seemed to pass their lives in mundane, suburban anonymity. But being low-key was apparently not a prerequisite of being a covert agent.

    According to the FBI, defendant Vicky Pelaez worked as a both a print and television journalist for decades. She had risen to become a columnist for the prominent New York Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario/La Prensa.

    In her column, she voiced strong criticism of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America in weekly pieces.

    Gerson Borrero, a former editor in chief of El Diario, described Pelaez as soft-spoken but forceful in her opinions and stridently ideological. She stood out too, because she liked to wear traditional Peruvian garb to the office.

    “She’s emotional and passionate about what she believes in, which makes her a great columnist,” Borrero said.

    Still, in the crazy quilt of American punditry, her opinions seemed hardly shocking. Pelaez, in fact, had once been kidnapped while working as a television reporter in her native Peru by the communist guerrilla group, Tupac Amaru, and held for 17 hours. She and her cameraman were released after their station broadcast a videotaped message from the guerrillas protesting the alleged torture of members of the group captured by the government.

    Pelaez was arrested with her 65-year-old husband, Juan Lazaro, a retired political science professor who has published articles about the role of women in Peruvian revolutionary groups.

    The couple’s older son, Waldomar Mariscal, told El Diario that the charges were “ridiculous,” saying that his parents were so lacking in computer skills that they sometimes couldn’t remember how to access their e-mail accounts on Yahoo.

    Many of the defendants, ironically, were perhaps most distinguished by their successful pursuit of the American Dream.

    Defendants Michael Zottoli, 40, and Patricia Mills, who is about 31, both graduated from the Bothell campus of the University of Washington in 2006 with degrees in business administration.

    Ufuk Ince, a former professor, recalled that the couple concentrated on finance, and that Zottoli excelled.

    “Because he was in the top part of my class, I knew that he would have good opportunities in terms of corporate finance money management,” he recalled.

    He called Zottoli personable and charming. “What I mean by that is he was not overbearing. Understated, smiling face, engaged, interested…. It was a pleasant thing to be around this person. There was a permanent smile on his face.”

    John Evans, manager of the building where the couple last lived in Seattle, said Zottoli drove off each morning in a late model blue BMW to a job at an investment bank. He said Zottoli’s wife told him she planned to go back to school. They appeared devoted to a toddler named Kenny.

    “Michael and Patricia were a very nice young couple,” Evans recalled. “They were so family oriented, you would never think they would be involved in something like, what are they saying, espionage?”

    They paid their rent each month in advance with a cashier’s check, he said.

    In hindsight, however, he now wonders about the couple and little things he noticed about them.

    Evans said had initially assigned Zottoli a parking spot that seemed tight. Later, when another slot became available, he offered to let the couple switch because it would be easier to use.

    “But they said, no, they had gotten used to this parking spot,” he said.

    “Looking back, it was a perfect cover,” Evans said. “Their car was tucked in, and nobody would be able to tell whether they were home or not.”

    View this document on Scribd

    Faisal Shahzad, Jihadi, Explains Terrorism

    Source: Daniel Pipes.org

    by Daniel Pipes
    June 25, 2010

    Jaw-dropping court testimony by Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber, singlehandedly undermines Obama administration efforts to ignore the dangers of Islamism and jihad.

    Shahzad’s forthright statement of purpose stands out because jihadis, when facing legal charges, typically save their skin by pleading not guilty or plea bargaining. Consider a few examples:

    • Naveed Haq, who assaulted the Jewish Federation building in Seattle, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
    • Lee Malvo, one of the Beltway Snipers, explained that “one reason for the shootings was that white people had tried to harm Louis Farrakhan.” His partner John Allen Muhammad claimed his innocence to the death chamber.
    • Hasan Akbar killed two fellow American soldiers as they slept in a military compound, then told the court “”I want to apologize for the attack that occurred. I felt that my life was in jeopardy, and I had no other options. I also want to ask you for forgiveness.”
    • Mohammed Taheri-azar, who tried to kill students on the University of North Carolina by running over them in a car and issued a series of jihadi rants against the United States, later experienced a change of heart, announced himself “very sorry” for the crimes he committed, and asked for release so that he can “re-establish myself as a good, caring and productive member of society” in California.

    These efforts fit a broader pattern of Islamist mendacity; rarely does a jihadi stand on principle. Zacarias Moussaoui, 9/11’s would-be twentieth hijacker, came close: his court proceedings began with his refusing to enter a plea (which the presiding judge translated into “not guilty”) and then, one fine day, pleading guilty to all charges.

    Shahzad, 30, acted in an exceptional manner during his appearance in a New York City federal court on June 21. His answers to Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum’s many inquisitive questions (“And where was the bomb?” “What did you do with the gun?”) offered a dizzying mix of deference and contempt. On the one hand, he politely, calmly, patiently, fully, and informatively answered about his actions. On the other, he in the same voice justified his attempt at cold-blooded mass murder.

    The judge asked Shahzad after he announced an intent to plead guilty to all ten counts of his indictment, “Why do you want to plead guilty?” a reasonable question given the near certainty that guilty pleas will keep him in for long years in jail. He replied:

    I want to plead guilty and I’m going to plead guilty a hundred times forward because – until the hour the U.S. pulls it forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands and stops killing the Muslims and stops reporting the Muslims to its government – we will be attacking [the] U.S., and I plead guilty to that.

    Shahzad insisted on portraying himself as replying to American actions: “I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing [of] the Muslim nations and the Muslim people, and on behalf of that, I’m avenging the attacks,” adding that “We Muslims are one community.” Nor was that all; he flatly asserted that his goal had been to damage buildings and “injure people or kill people” because “one has to understand where I’m coming from, because … I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier.”

    When Cedarbaum pointed out that pedestrians in Times Square during the early evening of May first were not attacking Muslims, Shahzad replied: “Well, the [American] people select the government. We consider them all the same.” His comment reflects not just that American citizens are responsible for their democratically elected government but also the Islamist view that, by definition, infidels cannot be innocents.

    However abhorrent, this tirade does have the virtue of truthfulness. Shahzad’s willingness to name his Islamic purposes and spend long years in jail for them flies in the face of Obama administration efforts not to name Islamism as the enemy, preferring such lame formulations as “overseas contingency operations” and “man-caused disasters.”

    Americans – as well as Westerners generally, all non-Muslims, and anti-Islamist Muslims – should listen to the bald declaration by Faisal Shahzad and accept the painful fact that Islamist anger and aspirations truly do motivate their terrorist enemies. Ignoring this fact will not make it disappear.

    Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

    2010/06/29

    Kagan Memo From Liberty Counsel

    Filed under: Laws, Lies and more Lies, Obama, Progressives — Tags: , — - @ 6:57 pm
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    Good Riddance, Robert Byrd

    Filed under: Lies and more Lies, Progressives — Tags: , , — - @ 6:28 pm

    Source: Human Events

    by John Howting

    When Robert Byrd was a young man, he organized a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in his hometown of Crab Orchard and at the young age of 24 rose to the high office of “Exalted Cyclops.” He quickly climbed the KKK ranks, ascending all the way to “grand Kleagle,” a powerful recruitment head.

    Once he became a prominent Democrat in the Senate, he had to mitigate his mistake of joining the Klan. As a former Exalted Cyclops and kleagle, it was hard for him to portray himself as a “good man in the wrong place at the wrong time” so he tried to mitigate the harsh image of the Klan that was becoming mainstream.

    As he writes in his autobiography Child of the Appalachian Coalfields: “In those days, as I was told, many of the upstanding people in the communities belonged to the Klan. Doctors, lawyers, clergymen, judges, business people, and laborers—including women—were members of the organization. Many of the ‘best’ people were members—even senators and other high officials. It was with such background impressions, therefore, that I sought to become a member of the KKK.”

    He went on to write, “I had good experiences with nearly all of the blacks I had known as a young man. I had been to their homes to sell produce and had found most of the black families I knew to be kindly, law-abiding, and God fearing … as far as Catholics, Jews, and foreign born people were concerned, I felt no bias against them.”

    In Byrd’s autobiography, one is led to accept that he was simply looking for a good social networking device. Despite being such a high ranking member, Robert Byrd claims he simply had no idea that this organization was killing civil rights workers and burning down black churches. The following except is from a 1945 letter that Byrd sent to the segregationist Sen. Theodore Bilbo concerning the Truman administration’s efforts to integrate the US military;

    “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

    Within the Church of Modern Liberalism, does one really think these words will prevent the elevation of Robert Byrd to media sainthood? In a church where abortion is a sacrament, it is unlikely. For goodness sakes, Ted Kennedy actually killed a woman and that did not halt his canonization process.

    It is quite possible that a young, immature Byrd joined the KKK for noble reasons as he suggests in his autobiography. He may have seen the Klan as a fine tool for combating a rising tide of communism and for promoting patriotism. However, the mainstream media and other minions of the American left will continue to persecute men who did far less than Byrd while venerating Byrd himself.

    With his recent death this hypocrisy will only get worse. Here are some of the things our fellow news outlets ought not to forget:

    • Filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act for over 14 hours straight. To this day, the American left vilifies Sen. Barry Goldwater for voting against this legislation but where is criticism of Byrd? Goldwater had a strong pro-civil rights record coming out of the 1950s that included voting for civil rights legislation and working with the Arizona NAACP to desegregate Arizona’s public schools. Goldwater voted against the 1964 Act only because he believed that Title II was not within Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce and was also an abridgement of the 10th Amendment.

    Robert Byrd did not have the same civil rights record, far from it he was a Klansman. And, Byrd was never able to make a legitimate argument that he rejected the 1964 Act on constitutional grounds alone because while he filibustered the bill he quoted The Mind of Primitive Man by Frank Boaz. He cited Boaz’s study which concluded that the white man’s brain weighed more than the black man’s brain and therefore the white man is smarter. He also insisted that the writers of the Declaration of Independence did not intend for their words to be taken literally because they must have understood that all men are not created equal … that the darker man is clearly inferior.

    • Having the guts to talk down to Martin Luther King Jr.  Today Martin Luther King, Jr. is praised as a fine statesman who led a crusade for a colorblind society, and rightfully so. King was gaining strong support from both sides of the isle; Republicans helped push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and President Johnson signed it into law. It would have taken a lot of chutzpah to denounce Reverend King on the Senate floor, but Robert Byrd sought to do just that. In early 1968, he contacted the FBI, offering to denounce King on the Senate floor. Byrd said it was time Dr. King “met his Waterloo.” The FBI did not take him up on that offer, but imagine the uproar if evidence came to light that Barry Goldwater or Trent Lott offered to speak ill of King on the Senate floor.

    • Using the “N” word on live cable television. While on Tony Snow’s “Fox News Sunday” in March 2001, Sen. Byrd, speaking in reference to race relations in the U.S., said:

    “They’re much, much better than they’ve ever been in my lifetime … I think we talk about race too much. I think those problems are largely behind us … I just think we talk so much about it that we help to create somewhat of an illusion. I think we try to have good will. My old mom told me, ‘Robert, you can’t go to heaven if you hate anybody.’ We practice that. There are white niggers. I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I’m going to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I’d just as soon quit talking about it so much.”

    Sen. Byrd did not use this word with malevolence but one should not forget how Trent Lott’s career was tarnished when he complimented Strom Thurmond during his 100th birthday party by simply speculating that “this country may be better off today if Strom had been elected back in 1948.” Lott was not trying to advance a segregationist agenda, he was more upset over the expansions of the federal government that took place under Truman and the role Truman played in flushing out the so called “do-nothing Republican Congress.”

    • Criticizing “presidential wars” only when the President happens to be a Republican.  Byrd voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave President Johnson the authority to commit U.S. troops to Vietnam. Byrd hung tough in his support of the Vietnam War as he himself said, “I was the last one that ran out of Vietnam. I supported President Johnson to the end.” Once the Reagan Administration came into office, Byrd ran from the staunch anti-Communist “Scoop Jackson” wing of the Democratic Party to the non-interventionist “William Fulbright” wing. Byrd opposed almost all of Reagan’s military initiatives. He strongly opposed fighting Central American Marxist insurgents and protested the Strategic Defense Initiative just as ardently. In 1990, Byrd voted against authorizing President George H.W. Bush to commit troops to the Persian Gulf. Then Bill Clinton came to the White House and Byrd morphed back into a war hawk as he voted to give the Democratic administration authorization to intervene in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Byrd kept in the war-hawk state of mind during the early George W. Bush years.

    In 2002 he said, “We are confident that [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has … embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons.”

    After the November mid-term elections of 2002, Byrd became critical of the resolution authorizing the President to intervene in Iraq. In June 2003 he decided to change his mind on the threat posed by Iraq:

    “Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction remain a mystery and a conundrum. What are they, where are they, how dangerous are they? Or were they a manufactured excuse by an administration eager to seize a country?”

    Byrd went on to bash the Bush administration and the Iraq War in his book entitled Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency. In 2007, the once staunch hold-the-line senator, who wanted “to finish the job” in Vietnam; voted for two separate acts intended to pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq immediately.

    No Republican could ever get away with such utter hypocrisy.


    John Howting started interning with the Human Events editorial staff on June 9. John regularly attends classes at Miami University and over the 2010 summer he is attending classes at Georgetown. He is a political science major but is also pursuing a thematic sequence in Theater while taking some writing classes on the side. John is the President of Miami University’s Chapter of The Intercollegiate Studies Institute and he sits on the Miami College Republican Executive Board. John grew up in Birmingham, Michigan.


    Video: “Obama Most Radical US President ever” states prestigious Harvard Phd

    Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 4:57 pm

    Al Gore and the Media Protection Racket

    Filed under: Progressives — Tags: , , — - @ 4:03 pm

    Source: American Spectator

    By on 6.29.10 @ 6:10AM

    The Al Gore police report is disturbing.

    To be specific, it’s 67 pages of the quite graphically disturbing, as posted here by Red State. (PDF Copy is Below the Article)

    You are reading the news of this police report — originally filed in October of 2006 — only because the National Enquirer scooped the story. In June of 2010. You did not read it in the Portland Tribune, which has been on this story since 2007 and failed to tell its readers until the Enquirer broke the story. The Tribune‘s explanation for this is to be found here.

    Then there’s the interesting news that Kathleen Parker, she the “conservative” columnist who has gained renown in liberal quarters for Palin-bashing, has been selected by CNN to partner (so-to-speak) on a new political chat show with Client Number 9 for a rousing — according to press reports — $700,000. Client Number 9, of course, would be former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was identified as such by the investigating feds curious about the ex-crime busting state attorney general’s passion for expensive prostitutes. Said passions led to Mr. Spitzer’s resignation as governor.

    Next up is the recent news that the Washington Post‘s David Weigel (who has occasionally written here at TAS), hired to blog about conservatives, has resigned after e-mails came to light that suggested he hoped Rush Limbaugh died and said that Matt Drudge should “handle his emotional problems more responsibly and set himself on fire.” Not content with this, the Post‘s longtime media reporter Howard Kurtz tells us Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller has Weigel writing behind the scenes that “conservatives were using the media to ‘violently, angrily divide America’ and lamenting news organizations’ ‘need to give equal/extra time to ‘real American’ views, no matter how [expletive] moronic.'”

    Last but not least, the Sunday New York Times of June 5, featured a front-page story in its Sunday Styles section on a Washington book/dinner party hosted by David Frum for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the considerably brave Somali-activist-turned-Dutch parliamentarian who is now, but of course, the target of the same Islamic jihadist thinking that launched on Salman Rushdie, not to mention the world.

    So what do we have here as we look at these four, seemingly unconnected events?

    What does the almost three year absence of the Al Gore-Portland-police-problem story from the Portland Tribune, CNN’s hiring of Parker, Weigel’s resignable sentiments from the Post and the Times story on the Frum party tell us about the state of the Establishment or liberal media — and of conservatives and conservatism itself?

    First, the Portland Tribune. The explanation offered for withholding the story sounds eminently reasonable on the surface. Clearly, the paper’s editors felt they needed verification of the guts of the story — the information included in a police report about the former Vice President. The problem here is that the existence of a police report is itself a story.

    Let’s go back to today’s granddaddy of political scandal reporting — Watergate. What happened in the first few hours of this story? The Washington Post was tipped off to the story only by a longtime contact who told the paper of — a police report. From that scanty info on a burglary attempt at the Democratic National Committee’s Watergate Headquarters, information was published — verified information — almost instantaneously.

    What happened next is important. Not understanding exactly what they had on their hands, the two young reporters Woodward and Bernstein did not realize that one of the people they named — James McCord — was “the security coordinator of the Committee for the Re-election of the President.” They simply made a rookie mistake and didn’t follow up. But what they had done — reporting the basic fact of the police report on the arrest, which was a fact, not speculation — launched the Associated Press on a quest to learn more about Mr. McCord. Then the news was out — and the next piece of the puzzle was provided.

    The question here is why didn’t the Portland Tribune publish what they had? Well, says the paper, all they had was an unverified police report. What is missed here is that a police report on a former Vice President of the United States — a man who has emerged even in political defeat as one of the most listened to voices on the planet on environmental issues and global warming — existed. The report itself existed. It was fact. And hence news.

    Had Woodward and Bernstein held the news of the names of those listed in the Washington, D.C. police report until they could verify that there was some actual confirmation of high level involvement — possibly by the President himself if not his senior staff — Watergate would have fizzled and faded away almost immediately. It was precisely because the initial Post report set off a chain reaction in the media that others — notably the Associated Press in the beginning hours — jumped on to the story and began looking where Woodward and Bernstein had “embarrassingly” (in their later words) failed to look.

    The Tribune dismisses as nonsense the idea that they would not have held back if the subject in the Portland police report was named George W. Bush or Dick Cheney. We’ll take them at their word. But there is a disturbing problem here nonetheless.

    What problem?

    The Tribune is owned by Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. of the Pamplin Media Group. And a check of campaign contributions recorded by the Federal Elections Commissions records money donated by various members of the Pamplin family to federal candidates — of both parties. From Democratic Senator Ron Wyden to ex-Republican Senator Gordon Smith, from ex-Democratic Congresswoman Darlene Hooley to the Bush-Cheney campaign, the Pamplin family contributions run the political gamut.

    Which means, of course, that whatever else it is or is not, the Portland Tribune is owned by what in this day and age would be called The Establishment. The folks who have their hands politically, socially and financially on the wheel that steers or helps to steer Portland, Oregon.

    Rule One for Establishments everywhere is: don’t rock the boat.

    And by not publishing what was a verifiable fact — which is to say news — that a police report existed placing one of the most powerful people in the American and global Establishment at the scene of a disturbing potential sexual crime, the Tribune signaled on just which side of the power equation it sees itself as sitting. By remaining silent, it was effectively heading off an investigation into Gore’s activities from any manner of other media outlets with more resources at their disposal than those available to a small Oregon paper. Just as the printing of the report on James McCord by the Washington Post caused the Associated Press to discover that McCord was not just some hired hand caught in a bad moment. But rather the security coordinator of the re-election campaign for the President of the United States.

    In other words, the Tribune seems effectively to have protected the Establishment Mr. Gore because, consciously or not, the paper’s instincts themselves are those of the very same Establishment. How, after all, would the paper’s owners and reporters be treated in their community by the likes of the Oregon Establishment if seen as prying National Enquirer-style into Al Gore’s sex life? Even when the reason for this so-called prying is not peep-hole spying but the hard cold fact that Gore has wound up as the subject of a quite official police report?

    WHICH BRINGS US TO CASE NUMBER TWO, CNN’s hiring of columnist Parker to pair with Eliot Spitzer. Parker, recall, made some news when she used her post at National Review in 2008 to whack Sarah Palin as being “out of her league.” And calling for the Alaska governor to get off the ticket. For this kind of thing, Parker is graced with — what else? — the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. The ultimate symbol of liberal Establishment approval to conservatives — provided they aren’t Ann Coulter or Michele Malkin.

    The hiring of Parker is a pluperfect example of the way some conservatives try and get ahead — by attacking other conservatives in a fashion that will appeal to the dominant liberal media. Parker’s willingness to do this is nothing new. It is a familiar if unseemly trait of some conservatives well recognized over the years, documented most recently in R. Emmett Tyrrell’s After the Hangover: The Conservative Road to Recovery.

    Not for nothing do Pulitzer judges find themselves aglow at Parker but somehow never quite managed to get around to William F. Buckley. How ever could that be?

    This willingness to bend the knee to the liberal media establishment is in fact what makes Parker or any like-acting conservative acceptable to the CNN brass and that of the Establishment media. If Fox News did not exist, would they hire Sean Hannity? To ask the question is to answer it. Notice that this job offer did not find its way, as far as we know, to, say, Ann Coulter or Michele Malkin or Laura Ingraham or any number of conservatives male or female known to conservatives if not to CNN. Does anyone really think CNN would ever offer a $700,000 a year job to any conservative who actually had the brass to defend Sarah Palin? Would that conservative have gotten a Pulitzer for said Palin defense? Are you kidding? Or would CNN have hired anyone who might make the gross breech of televised liberal decorum by saying something that would actually drive Eliot Spitzer over whatever edge he hasn’t voluntarily leapt off already? Of course not.

    Trailing along in the Parker vapors is the story of Washington Post blogger David Weigel. Now this story is mostly an Inside-the-Beltway story. Our TAS colleague Phil Klein has defended Weigel as a good guy, and there’s no reason to think otherwise. No one here is accusing him of heinous crimes against humanity.

    What there is reason — more than reason — to think is that Dave Weigel is just the latest example of a “slip-of-the-mask” moment from those who present themselves to conservatives and Americans in general as just your basic impartial journalist. When in fact, beneath the mask of professionalism, they are actively pushing a liberal/left-wing agenda that is anything but impartial.

    Mr. Weigel, assigned to cover conservatives in some presumed impartial fashion, turns out — shocker! – to have serious issues with those he covers. In the series of remarks quoted above he shows himself to be a walking stereotype of precisely how conservatives have viewed mainstream media journalists over the years. Smooth and friendly words that hide contempt, coupled with a hilariously overblown sense of moral superiority. Busy supporting liberal agendas that depend on, among other things, the most vividly racial approaches (segregation, for example) to buff up a self-congratulated reputation as a friend to, say, seniors. Like that Social Security program, Senator Bilbo? Thanks for the vote — give our best to the Klan.

    Stunningly, without the least sense of apparent irony, the Post Executive Editor said this, according to a story in the Post:

    “Dave did excellent work for us,” Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said. But, he said, “we can’t have any tolerance for the perception that people are conflicted or bring a bias to their work.…”

    Wow.

    One hates to suggest to Mr. Brauchli that he’s perhaps…ohhhh…decades late on that score.

    If irony were oats there would be enough here to choke a cavalry of horses. But, of course, it’s not Dave Weigel’s fault he doesn’t get it. Only that he got caught. Most conservatives I know think this is standard fare at liberal newspapers — which is why they’ve mostly stopped reading them. Ditto liberal TV networks. The notion that his executive editor doesn’t get it either, or at least says he doesn’t, should provide some balm for Weigel.

    Outside the Beltway and the herd mentality, I actually wish Dave Weigel, whom I’ve not met, well. He has a real opportunity here to learn something, pick up his socks and come back as a better journalist. But hopefully he will use this episode as a moment to think through what happened to his once-blossoming career and why.

    LAST BUT NOT LEAST is the Frum party for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. So there’s no doubt — hooray for throwing her a party. This is a remarkably brave woman willing to speak out at a time of genuine danger for those like herself — and eventually all the rest of us as well if we don’t face up to it.

    This was not, however, just a dinner party. It was a book party, and for author and book to get known this means media invites. But the way this was played out alas adds to Frum’s reputation as one of the more fecklessly inept — someone willing to do almost anything to get publicity, including trashing Rush Limbaugh on the cover of Newsweek even as he knows the only reason he would ever get cover space at even a fading liberal magazine is to trash the number one conservative radio talk show host in the sourest of personal terms.

    Sure enough, what was — one assumes — a media invite to cover a dinner party for a notable author and book turned into the typical Times effort at conservative bashing. Which is to say, Mr. Frum invited a batch of conservative friends and guests, only to have them set up for ridicule on the front page of the Sunday Times Style section.

    The Party, in Exile snarks writer Pamela Paul of the guests. Ms. Paul, it seems immediately, is clueless about the conservative ascendancy going on just about everywhere outside the Beltway and the newsroom of the New York Times these days. But never mind. Mocked for showing up to honor the author are the “summer frock” crowd of Laura Ingraham, Mona Charen and “Barbara Amiel, the wife of the disgraced media baron Conrad Black, now incarcerated at a Florida prison.” Presumably that would be the same Florida prison where Mr. Black heard recently (after the Frum event) that the U.S. Supreme Court decided by a 9-0 vote that he had been wrongly convicted. No word whether Ms. Paul writes stories covering parties with guests such as ex-Times publisher Howell Raines (he of the Jayson Blair scandal) or former President Bill Clinton (of impeachment fame) and appending the prefix “disgraced” to their names.

    But guess who else is featured in this gem of a story engineered by Mr. Frum? Really. You’ll love this on several levels.

    Also present was The Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, prom-girl pretty and winner of a Pulitzer this spring for “gracefully sharing the experiences and values that lead her to unpredictable conclusions,” including a rebuke of Sarah Palin. “Like all the best conservatives, I started off as a liberal,” she trilled. In a similar display of the intellectual right’s discomfort with Wasilla-brand populism, Ms. Frum mocked a speech by Ms. Palin in April on The Huffington Post. (“There was not a single memorable line, not a single new political idea, not a single proffered solution beyond the cliché.”) And lending a poignant immediacy to the rejiggered state of affairs was the Republican Senator Robert Bennett, ousted last month in the Utah primary for his votes on health care and Wall Street reform. A certain kind of nomad, all.”

    Getting the flavor here? Try as they might, even though Parker is willing to mock Palin and gets a Pulitzer from the Liberal Establishment for sharing her “unpredictable conclusions,” even thus Parker is a figure of idiocy to the Times as she “trilled” her way though her latest thoughts “prom-girl pretty.” Right alongside the defeated Senator Robert Bennett, upended in Utah by those nasty Outside-the-Beltway tea partiers.

    Perhaps most pitifully of all, Mr. Frum — the host in his own home — was written up as having “lost his salaried post at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, in March, after calling the passage of health care legislation the Republican party’s ‘Waterloo.'” A dissection of Mr. Frum’s problems follows. Ouch.

    The point?

    What ties all these stories together?

    From Al Gore’s police reported but media ignored troubles to CNN’s big bucks for the trillings of Ms. Pulitzer Parker to the departure of the Washington Post‘s Weigel and the coverage of Mr. Frum’s party — in one form or another we are seeing different threads in the usual pattern of Establishment media or liberal Establishment media bias.

    The good news for conservatives is that this kind of thing no longer makes much difference. The Gore story was sniffed out by the relentless Enquirer, which got the goods on John Edwards as everybody else in the liberal media closed their eyes. The Parker-Spitzer pairing will interest a few times while the public’s curiosity about Client Number Nine is sated. But hiring a conservative who makes her bones dissing conservatives will not bring a conservative audience to CNN. Why go for the chopped liver when Fox is steak — and there is no obvious intention at CNN to ever deliver steak?

    Weigel, one assumes, will be replaced at the Post. But by someone who actually respects the conservatives he covers — or just someone better than Weigel at pretending?

    As for Mr. Frum’s parties — once again one is left speechless at the idea of deliberately inviting someone whose intent to savage the guests in the coverage of a simple party honoring someone who deserves to be honored was so utterly predictable.

    Taken together, these events are a reminder of the kind of nightmarish media world we left behind with the advent of Rush, and the talk world of Sean, Levin, Beck, Fox and the Internet.

    The misdeeds of the Gores of the day were ignored, the Weigels of the day reigned supreme, the Parkers and Frums of the day were tokened.

    It was the Establishment and liberal media’s version of one of the basics of organized crime:

    The protection racket.

    Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.

    The Fifty States Reference God in their Constitutions

    Filed under: ACLU, Laws, Lies and more Lies, Obama, Progressives — Tags: , — - @ 2:21 pm

    America’s founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions:

    Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution ..

    Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land ..

    Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution…

    Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government…

    California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .

    Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe .

    Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy …

    Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences .

    Florida 1845, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty … establish this Constitution…

    Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution…

    Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance . establish this Constitution

    Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings ..

    Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

    Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government..

    Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings … establish this Constitution

    Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges . establish this Constitution.

    Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth of grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties…

    Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy ..

    Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine .. acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity … and imploring His aid and direction

    Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God or our civil and religious liberty…

    Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We…the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe…in the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction …

    Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom … establish this Constitution

    Minnesota, 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings

    Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

    Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness..establish this Constitution ..

    Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ..

    Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution

    Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . establish this Constitution ..

    New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience .

    New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

    New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty ..

    New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings .

    North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those

    North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain…

    Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common..

    Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty … establish this

    Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences .

    Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance

    Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing

    South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution

    South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties . establish this

    Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…

    Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God

    Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution .

    Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to … enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man …

    Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI … Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator . can be directed only by Reason … and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other…

    Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution .

    West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia .. reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God .

    Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility

    Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties … establish this Constitution .

    After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong!

    “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
    William Penn

    Hamas says asked by US to keep silent on talks

    Source: YNet

    Islamist group source says senior American officials request contacts remain secret ‘so as not to rouse Jewish lobby’

    Roee Nahmias

    Hamas Rally In Gaza

    A senior Hamas figure said Friday that official and unofficial US sources have asked the Islamist group to refrain from making any statements regarding contacts with Washington, this following reports that a senior American official is due to arrive in an Arab country in the coming days to relay a telegram from the Obama Administration.

    The Hamas figure told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that the Americans fear discussing the talks publicly would “rouse the Jewish lobby and other pressure groups in the US and cause them to pressure the administration to suspend all talks with Hamas.”

    The Hamas figure, who is close to Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the government in Gaza, added, “This is a sensitive subject. The Americans don’t want anyone to comment on it because this would catch the attention of pressure groups (in the US) and cause problems.”

    He said Hamas’ exiled leadership in Damascus is overseeing the contacts behind closed doors.

    On Wednesday a Washington-based Arabic newspaper quoted a senior official as saying that an American envoy is scheduled to meet with Hamas representatives in an Arab country and hand them a letter from the Obama Administration.

    According to the report, the official said Washington has no choice but to work with Hamas due to its influence in the Arab and Islamic world.

    The 30-Year War in Afghanistan

    By George Friedman

    The Afghan War is the longest war in U.S. history. It began in 1980 and continues to rage. It began under Democrats but has been fought under both Republican and Democratic administrations, making it truly a bipartisan war. The conflict is an odd obsession of U.S. foreign policy, one that never goes away and never seems to end. As the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal reminds us, the Afghan War is now in its fourth phase.

    The Afghan War’s First Three Phases

    The first phase of the Afghan War began with the Soviet invasion in December 1979, when the United States, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, organized and sustained Afghan resistance to the Soviets. This resistance was built around mujahideen, fighters motivated by Islam. Washington’s purpose had little to do with Afghanistan and everything to do with U.S.-Soviet competition. The United States wanted to block the Soviets from using Afghanistan as a base for further expansion and wanted to bog the Soviets down in a debilitating guerrilla war. The United States did not so much fight the war as facilitate it. The strategy worked. The Soviets were blocked and bogged down. This phase lasted until 1989, when Soviet troops were withdrawn.

    The second phase lasted from 1989 until 2001. The forces the United States and its allies had trained and armed now fought each other in complex coalitions for control of Afghanistan. Though the United States did not take part in this war directly, it did not lose all interest in Afghanistan. Rather, it was prepared to exert its influence through allies, particularly Pakistan. Most important, it was prepared to accept that the Islamic fighters it had organized against the Soviets would govern Afghanistan. There were many factions, but with Pakistani support, a coalition called the Taliban took power in 1996. The Taliban in turn provided sanctuary for a group of international jihadists called al Qaeda, and this led to increased tensions with the Taliban following jihadist attacks on U.S. facilities abroad by al Qaeda.

    The third phase began on Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda launched attacks on the mainland United States. Given al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan, the United States launched operations designed to destroy or disrupt al Qaeda and dislodge the Taliban. The United States commenced operations barely 30 days after Sept. 11, which was not enough time to mount an invasion using U.S. troops as the primary instrument. Rather, the United States made arrangements with factions that were opposed to the Taliban (and defeated in the Afghan civil war). This included organizations such as the Northern Alliance, which had remained close to the Russians; Shiite groups in the west that were close to the Iranians and India; and other groups or subgroups in other regions. These groups supported the United States out of hostility to the Taliban and/or due to substantial bribes paid by the United States.

    The overwhelming majority of ground forces opposing the Taliban in 2001 were Afghan. The United States did, however, insert special operations forces teams to work with these groups and to identify targets for U.S. airpower, the primary American contribution to the war. The use of U.S. B-52s against Taliban forces massed around cities in the north caused the Taliban to abandon any thought of resisting the Northern Alliance and others, even though the Taliban had defeated them in the civil war.

    Unable to hold fixed positions against airstrikes, the Taliban withdrew from the cities and dispersed. The Taliban were not defeated, however; they merely declined to fight on U.S. terms. Instead, they redefined the war, preserving their forces and regrouping. The Taliban understood that the cities were not the key to Afghanistan. Instead, the countryside would ultimately provide control of the cities. From the Taliban point of view, the battle would be waged in the countryside, while the cities increasingly would be isolated.

    The United States simply did not have sufficient force to identify, engage and destroy the Taliban as a whole. The United States did succeed in damaging and dislodging al Qaeda, with the jihadist group’s command cell becoming isolated in northwestern Pakistan. But as with the Taliban, the United States did not defeat al Qaeda because the United States lacked significant forces on the ground. Even so, al Qaeda prime, the original command cell, was no longer in a position to mount 9/11-style attacks.

    During the Bush administration, U.S. goals for Afghanistan were modest. First, the Americans intended to keep al Qaeda bottled up and to impose as much damage as possible on the group. Second, they intended to establish an Afghan government, regardless of how ineffective it might be, to serve as a symbolic core. Third, they planned very limited operations against the Taliban, which had regrouped and increasingly controlled the countryside. The Bush administration was basically in a holding operation in Afghanistan. It accepted that U.S. forces were neither going to be able to impose a political solution on Afghanistan nor create a coalition large enough control the country. U.S. strategy was extremely modest under Bush: to harass al Qaeda from bases in Afghanistan, maintain control of cities and logistics routes, and accept the limits of U.S. interests and power.

    The three phases of American involvement in Afghanistan had a common point: All three were heavily dependent on non-U.S. forces to do the heavy lifting. In the first phase, the mujahideen performed this task. In the second phase, the United States relied on Pakistan to manage Afghanistan’s civil war. In the third phase, especially in the beginning, the United States depended on Afghan forces to fight the Taliban. Later, when greater numbers of American and allied forces arrived, the United States had limited objectives beyond preserving the Afghan government and engaging al Qaeda wherever it might be found (and in any event, by 2003, Iraq had taken priority over Afghanistan). In no case did the Americans use their main force to achieve their goals.

    The Fourth Phase of the Afghan War

    The fourth phase of the war began in 2009, when U.S. President Barack Obama decided to pursue a more aggressive strategy in Afghanistan. Though the Bush administration had toyed with this idea, it was Obama who implemented it fully. During the 2008 election campaign, Obama asserted that he would pay greater attention to Afghanistan. The Obama administration began with the premise that while the Iraq War was a mistake, the Afghan War had to be prosecuted. It reasoned that unlike Iraq, which had a tenuous connection to al Qaeda at best, Afghanistan was the group’s original base. He argued that Afghanistan therefore should be the focus of U.S. military operations. In doing so, he shifted a strategy that had been in place for 30 years by making U.S. forces the main combatants in the war.

    Though Obama’s goals were not altogether clear, they might be stated as follows:

    1. Deny al Qaeda a base in Afghanistan.
    2. Create an exit strategy from Afghanistan similar to the one in Iraq by creating the conditions for negotiating with the Taliban; make denying al Qaeda a base a condition for the resulting ruling coalition.
    3. Begin withdrawal by 2011.

    To do this, there would be three steps:

    1. Increase the number and aggressiveness of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
    2. Create Afghan security forces under the current government to take over from the Americans.
    3. Increase pressure on the Taliban by driving a wedge between them and the population and creating intra-insurgent rifts via effective counterinsurgency tactics.

    In analyzing this strategy, there is an obvious issue: While al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan in 2001, Afghanistan is no longer its primary base of operations. The group has shifted to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries. As al Qaeda is thus not dependent on any one country for its operational base, denying it bases in Afghanistan does not address the reality of its dispersion. Securing Afghanistan, in other words, is no longer the solution to al Qaeda.

    Obviously, Obama’s planners fully understood this. Therefore, sanctuary denial for al Qaeda had to be, at best, a secondary strategic goal. The primary strategic goal was to create an exit strategy for the United States based on a negotiated settlement with the Taliban and a resulting coalition government. The al Qaeda issue depended on this settlement, but could never be guaranteed. In fact, neither the long-term survival of a coalition government nor the Taliban policing al Qaeda could be guaranteed.

    The exit of U.S. forces represents a bid to reinstate the American strategy of the past 30 years, namely, having Afghan forces reassume the primary burden of fighting. The creation of an Afghan military is not the key to this strategy. Afghans fight for their clans and ethnic groups. The United States is trying to invent a national army where no nation exists, a task that assumes the primary loyalty of Afghans will shift from their clans to a national government, an unlikely proposition.

    The Real U.S. Strategy

    Rather than trying to strengthen the Karzai government, the real strategy is to return to the historical principles of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan: alliance with indigenous forces. These indigenous forces would pursue strategies in the American interest for their own reasons, or because they are paid, and would be strong enough to stand up to the Taliban in a coalition. As CIA Director Leon Panetta put it this weekend, however, this is proving harder to do than expected.

    The American strategy is, therefore, to maintain a sufficient force to shape the political evolution on the ground, and to use that force to motivate and intimidate while also using economic incentives to draw together a coalition in the countryside. Operations like those in Helmand province — where even Washington acknowledges that progress has been elusive and slower than anticipated — clearly are designed to try to draw regional forces into regional coalitions that eventually can enter a coalition with the Taliban without immediately being overwhelmed. If this strategy proceeds, the Taliban in theory will be spurred to negotiate out of concern that this process eventually could leave it marginalized.

    There is an anomaly in this strategy, however. Where the United States previously had devolved operational responsibility to allied groups, or simply hunkered down, this strategy tries to return to devolved responsibilities by first surging U.S. operations. The fourth phase actually increases U.S. operational responsibility in order to reduce it.

    From the grand strategic point of view, the United States needs to withdraw from Afghanistan, a landlocked country where U.S. forces are dependent on tortuous supply lines. Whatever Afghanistan’s vast mineral riches, mining them in the midst of war is not going to happen. More important, the United States is overcommitted in the region and lacks a strategic reserve of ground forces. Afghanistan ultimately is not strategically essential, and this is why the United States has not historically used its own forces there.

    Obama’s attempt to return to that track after first increasing U.S. forces to set the stage for the political settlement that will allow a U.S. withdrawal is hampered by the need to begin terminating the operation by 2011 (although there is no fixed termination date). It will be difficult to draw coalition partners into local structures when the foundation — U.S. protection — is withdrawing. Strengthening local forces by 2011 will be difficult. Moreover, the Taliban’s motivation to enter into talks is limited by the early withdrawal. At the same time, with no ground combat strategic reserve, the United States is vulnerable elsewhere in the world, and the longer the Afghan drawdown takes, the more vulnerable it becomes (hence the 2011 deadline in Obama’s war plan).

    In sum, this is the quandary inherent in the strategy: It is necessary to withdraw as early as possible, but early withdrawal undermines both coalition building and negotiations. The recruitment and use of indigenous Afghan forces must move extremely rapidly to hit the deadline (though officially on track quantitatively, there are serious questions about qualitative measures) — hence, the aggressive operations that have been mounted over recent months. But the correlation of forces is such that the United States probably will not be able to impose an acceptable political reality in the time frame available. Thus, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is said to be opening channels directly to the Taliban, while the Pakistanis are increasing their presence. Where a vacuum is created, regardless of how much activity there is, someone will fill it.

    Therefore, the problem is to define how important Afghanistan is to American global strategy, bearing in mind that the forces absorbed in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the United States vulnerable elsewhere in the world. The current strategy defines the Islamic world as the focus of all U.S. military attention. But the world has rarely been so considerate as to wait until the United States is finished with one war before starting another. Though unknowns remain unknowable, a principle of warfare is to never commit all of your reserves in a battle — one should always maintain a reserve for the unexpected. Strategically, it is imperative that the United States begin to free up forces and re-establish its ground reserves.

    Given the time frame the Obama administration’s grand strategy imposes, and given the capabilities of the Taliban, it is difficult to see how it will all work out. But the ultimate question is about the American obsession with Afghanistan. For 30 years, the United States has been involved in a country that is virtually inaccessible for the United States. Washington has allied itself with radical Islamists, fought against radical Islamists or tried to negotiate with radical Islamists. What the United States has never tried to do is impose a political solution through the direct application of American force. This is a new and radically different phase of America’s Afghan obsession. The questions are whether it will work and whether it is even worth it.

    Reprinting or republication of this report on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence at the beginning or end of the report, including the hyperlink to STRATFOR:

    “This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

    Missouri Is The Concord Bridge For Obamacare Repeal

    Filed under: Lies and more Lies, Obama, Progressives — Tags: , , , — - @ 9:47 am

    Source: Red State

    Missouri Is The Concord Bridge For Obamacare Repeal

    Posted by 24thstate (Profile)

    Monday, June 28th at 2:45PM EDT

    On August 3, 2010, the Missouri electorate will vote on Proposition C, the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act (MHCFA).  Have no doubt – this is the first shot fired against the power grab known as Obamacare.  If successful, if we beat back this overreach of federal power in Missouri, other states will move forward.  Should we fail – especially with low voter turnout, the media,the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats will gain a second wind.  I can think of few things more disastrous leading into November than giving the Democrats hope.

    Josie Wales, a lawyer from Missouri writing at Big Government, calls August 3 “the most important day in America“.” Missouri will be the first state to allow the public at large to voice its opinion on Obamacare.  Most of us know that the majority of Americans view Obamacare with disgust; disgust at the process by which it was passed and disgust by the burden it will impose.  We’ve been forced to speak through rallies and a diminished Republican party, until now.  Now there is an opportunity for the average voter to act upon that disgust.

    Why should you care?  What does a Missouri proposition have to do with the other 49 states?  MHCFA represents the first battle in the war against the bureaucratic, tax-happy nightmare that has saddled Americans over the last century.  Just as the Supreme Court gun cases are changing the debate on the Second Amendment back to gun ownershig being a fundamental right, states signalling their refusal to go along with individual and employer mandates will alter the debate on the proper role of the federal government.  At issue is a single idea – can the government compel you to purchase a product they design simply because you’re a US citizen?

    MHCFA is a call to arms for all freedom loving Americans, but even in our state there is complacency.  Polling looks good, so the Republican establishment is taking it easy.  They’re crossing their fingers and hoping no last minute barrage of ads derails the proposition, as has been done every time the Left wants something.  From direct mail to phone banks to television ads by outside groups, the Left will carpetbomb Missouri in the week before the vote, and conservatives will have no time to react.

    So we need your help.   Not with money.  Not with volunteers.  Though both would be nice, what we really need is the collective voice of conservative America.

    Support MHCFA.


    Supporting MHCFA is as simple as linking to the effort on the internets, posting an article about the effort on your blog, leaving a comment about the effort on a website, and mentioning the effort in any other social medium: Twitter, Facebook, church, work, bars, sporting events, airplanes, bank lines, family dinners….

    We need national recognition.  Recognition of the effort in Missouri will lend to its success.  If we succeed by large margins in Missouri, you can be sure that success will follow in other states across this great nation.

    Don’t get me wrong.  We’re not sitting idle.  Tea Party groups, conservative candidates, and conservative bloggers are out writing and knocking on doors and calling our connections to generate press.  But we need the folks at Red State to help.
    Please support the MHCFA in whatever method you choose, and visit the website:

    http://www.mohealthfreedom.org/

    If you’re writing about healthcare, link to something on Missouri.  If you’re reading about Healthcare in Missouri, link to that story, and leave a comment.  If you’re writing about The Healthcare Freedom Act, please send a note to Benjamin at rivercitytea@gmail.com and he will link back. If you’re writing about a healthcare lawsuit in your own state, send him a note and we’ll tie it back into the larger fight.

    We need noise on the issue more than anything else.  Anyone care to raise their voice?

    2010/06/28

    Our Border is a Moving Sidewalk

    Source: Human Events

    by  Deroy Murdock

    NEW YORK — While Americans march against Arizona’s new restrictions on unlawful immigration, hundreds of illegal aliens from countries awash in Muslim terrorists tiptoe across the US/Mexican frontier.

    According to the federal Enforcement Integrated Database, 125 individuals were apprehended along the US/Mexican border from Fiscal Year 2009 through April 20, 2010. These deportable aliens included two Syrians, seven Sudanese, and 17 Iranians, all nationals from the three Islamic countries that the US government officially classifies as state sponsors of terrorism.

    Federal authorities also track “Special Interest Countries” from which terrorism could be directed against America. Over the aforementioned period, 99 of those nations’ citizens also were nabbed on the border. They were: two Afghans, five Algerians, 13 Iraqis, 10 Lebanese, 22 Nigerians, 28 Pakistanis, two Saudis, 14 Somalis, and three Yemenis. During FY 2007 and FY 2008, federal officials seized 319 people from these same countries traversing America’s southwest border.

    Some such characters were confined in Arizona, which recently adopted a controversial law that lets cops ask the citizenship status of those they suspect of other possible violations. Atlanta’s WSB-TV recently publicized an April 15, 2010 “population breakdown” (PDF copy provided below) of immigrants detained at a Florence, Arizona facility. While 198 of the 395 males behind bars there were Mexican, 18 hailed from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

    Perhaps these gentlemen simply want to pursue the American dream. Worrisome signs suggest, however, that some may have arrived via blistering, cactus-adorned deserts so that they could blow Americans to smithereens.

    Besides Iranian currency and Islamic prayer rugs, Texas Border Patrol agents discovered an Arabic clothing patch that reads “martyr” and “way to immortality.” Another shows a jet flying into a skyscraper.

    “Members of Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization, have already entered the United States across our southwest border,” declares A Line in the Sand, a 2006 report (PDF copy provided below) by the House Homeland Security Investigations Subcommittee, then-chaired by Rep. Michael McCaul (R – Texas).

    “The same disturbing problem we identified four years ago still exists today,” Rep. McCaul tells me. “The number of undocumented aliens coming across our Southwest border from special interest countries that have ties to terrorism continues to increase, and unless we get serious about securing our borders, the terrorists will exploit this region as a way to slip into our country undetected so they can network, radicalize, and plot against us.”

    Even more disturbing are the uninvited terrorists and terror suspects who were arrested after entering America through our permeable underbelly.

    •Mahmoud Youssef Kourani pleaded guilty in March 2005 to providing material support to terrorists. First, Kourani secured a visa by bribing a Mexican diplomat in Beirut. He and another Middle Easterner then hired a Mexican guide to escort them into America. Finally, Kourani settled into Dearborn, Michigan’s Lebanese-immigrant community and raised cash for Hezbollah.

    •Miguel Alfonso Salinas was picked up in New Mexico near the international border in 2006. As Sara A. Carter reported in the June 8 Washington Examiner, one week of FBI interrogation exposed Salinas as an Egyptian named Ayman Sulmane Kamal. Evidently, he remains in federal custody.

    •Then-National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell said that in FY 2006 and FY 2007, at least 30 potentially dangerous Iraqis were found trying to penetrate America via Mexico. As McConnell told the El Paso Times: “There are numerous situations where people are alive today because we caught them.”

    •The Department of Homeland Security issued an April 14, 2010 “Intelligence Alert” regarding a possible border-crossing attempt by a Somali named Mohamed Ali. He is a suspected member of Al-Shabaab, a Somali-based al-Qaeda ally tied to the deadly attack on American GIs in 1993’s notorious “Blackhawk Down” incident in Mogadishu.

    •Captured in Brownsville, Texas, Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane, 24, pleaded not guilty in San Antonio on May 14 to federal charges that he “ran a large-scale smuggling enterprise” designed to sneak East Africans through Mexico into Texas, including “several AIAI-affiliated Somalis into the United States.” Al-Ittihad Al-Islami is yet another Muslim-extremist organization.

    •Daniel Joseph Maldonado, a convert to Islam, also has Somali ties. Maldonado, AKA Daniel Aljughaifi, was picked up in Kenya in 2007 after fleeing a Somali camp where he received terrorist training. According to a February 13m 2007 criminal complaint signed by FBI Special Agent Jeremiah George, Maldonado — AKA Abu Mohammed — had “no problem” with the September 11 attacks. Maldonado was returned to Houston for prosecution and is serving a 10-year federal prison sentence. As Rice University’s Joan Neuhas Schaan told KHOU-TV: “They had plans for him to come back to the United States and recruit female suicide bombers.”

    All this involves only the bad guys who the authorities nailed. Those who have stayed undetected after crossing the U.S./Mexican border to murder Americans remain — by definition — invisible.


    Mr. Murdock, a New York-based commentator to HUMAN EVENTS, is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.


    View this document on Scribd


    View this document on Scribd

    The danger of an Islamized Gaza

    Source: LA Times

    Between the Israeli blockade and the capricious imprisonments, torture and arrests for ‘morality offenses’ by Hamas police, the people of Gaza are prisoners twice over.

    By Bill Van Esveld

    The slim owner of Gaza City’s Gallery cafe has sharp eyes and a sharp tongue. It’s easy to imagine him conversing with artists and actors — he is also a theater director — far into the night. But he crossed a line. He allowed female patrons at his cafe to smoke hookah pipes and to talk with men. He ignored demands by plainclothes police to rein in “immoral” behavior. In early May, police interrogated and accused him of having extramarital affairs. To persuade him to confess, they beat him with a 2-inch-thick, leather-covered bamboo rod for 50 minutes, and later forced him to stand on one leg for two hours.

    The blockade of the Gaza Strip — brought into focus by Israel’s deadly interception of blockade-busting ships May 31 — is not the only problem faced by that territory’s besieged and impoverished population. As Human Rights Watch documented during a trip to Gaza in May, severe violations of personal freedom and repression of civil society groups that defend that freedom appear to be sharply on the rise. The Hamas government, trying to shore up its image as an Islamic reform movement in the face of challenges from more radical Islamist groups, is consolidating its social control by upping its efforts to “Islamize” Gaza.

    A notorious example is the expanded role of Gaza’s “morality police.” Last summer, these black-uniformed police began to patrol the beaches to ensure that men and women are dressed “appropriately” — there is no written rule but a woman was punished for swimming in a T-shirt and jeans — and that unrelated men and women are not mingling. They make sure clothing stores display only modestly dressed female mannequins in their windows. They have enforced bans on women riding motorcycles and on male hairdressers working in women’s hair salons. Couples walking down the street are routinely stopped, separated and questioned by plainclothes officers asking whether they’re married. “You basically have to carry a copy of your marriage license on you at all times, or risk being humiliated,” one young couple told us. And parents say their daughters are under pressure to dress more conservatively for school.

    But the problem goes beyond such invasions of privacy. In some cases, the security services use “morality offenses” to expand their authority, including punishing people for breaking rules that are not on the books. The cafe owner and several other residents, for instance, told Human Rights Watch that plainclothes detectives had targeted his cafe during the month before his arrest and torture. Waiters told us that business was down sharply after two detectives repeatedly questioned customers, particularly women, grabbed their cellphones and wrote down contact information, in an apparent effort to discourage them from patronizing the cafe. A police spokesman was unable to point to any legal authority for these actions. Detectives whom Human Rights Watch spoke to refused to give us even their names, or any other information.

    Although the morality code’s enforcers enjoy impunity for their abuses, several inmates of Gaza’s central prison appear to be guilty of nothing but bad luck. We met a mother of three children who couldn’t produce a marriage certificate, was accused of committing adultery — with her husband — and was jailed despite her testimony that her family has prevented her from obtaining the necessary documents because they disapprove of her marriage. A 19-year-old man — whose father won’t hire a lawyer to defend him — has been in jail without trial for more than a year because he is gay.

    Human Rights Watch also documented the case of a young couple whose parents refused to grant their wish to marry. The young man, a lanky, soft-spoken 21-year-old, was so desperate that in an attempt to shame their parents into agreeing to their marriage, the couple “confessed” to having had premarital sex — a crime under the penal code but rarely enforced before Hamas came to power — and turned themselves in to police. More than four months later, they were languishing in jail — the same jail, though prison authorities prevented them from seeing each other. The young woman, veiled and wearing a head-to-toe black chador, shyly asked us to pass on a message to her beloved: “I love you. I will never let them separate us, no matter how long I have to stay in jail. I miss you very much.”

    It is on the backs of young people like these that the Hamas government, facing discontent from militant religious groups that think it is failing to attack Israel and enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, is seeking to bolster its Islamic credentials.

    The Gaza government, led by Ismail Haniyeh, is also reducing the infrastructure for a civil society, including organizations that defend personal freedoms. Internal Security Service officers closed down six organizations in Gaza City and Rafah, including a women’s health society and the Woman and Child Development Assn. Hamas has denounced United Nations summer camps that allow boys and girls to play together, and set up competing gender-segregated camps. Although it criticized an unknown armed group’s attack on May 23 against a U.N. summer camp — the attackers tied up the camp guard, vandalized buildings and left a note threatening U.N. officials, along with three bullets — police prevented human rights groups from holding a sit-in the next day to protest the attack. That same day, the Interior Ministry prevented the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights from holding a workshop about its annual human rights report.

    The people of Gaza are now prisoners twice over. From the outside, Israel and Egypt have locked down Gaza’s borders, forcing at least 900,000 people into poverty and dependence on food handouts, although Israel recently announced it would allow in more goods, and Egypt formally relaxed the closure of Rafah this month. And within Gaza, Hamas is forcing people to live within the confines of a harsh moral code, and punishing those who try to exercise their few remaining rights and liberties. The world is rightly focused on Gaza’s Israeli prison guards, but it shouldn’t forget the confinement enforced by Gaza’s own Hamas.

    Bill Van Esveld is a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch.

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