Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Price of Being Nice

While looking into this recent cheese-bomb business I ran across references to a key decision by an airport screener, Michael Tuohey, on 9/11. It supports my theory that the fear of being called phobic about suspicious-acting Muslims poses a greater danger to the nation than any risk we’re facing from the misleading bugaboo of “Islamaphobia.”

“Michael Tuohey saw two of the hijackers on the morning of 9/11 and had the same instinct [to look at them more closely]. Tuohey worked the ticket counter at the airport in Portland, Maine for US Airways. He'll never forget that particular day amongst his 34 years of employment. At 5:43 a.m. on a bright Tuesday morning, two men wearing sport coats and ties approached his ticket counter with just 17-minutes to spare before their flight to Boston. He thought this pair was unusual. ‘It was just the look on the one man's face, his eyes,’ Tuohey told me. In front of him were Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari.

“’I looked up, and asked them the standard questions. The one guy was looking at me. It sent a chill through me. Something in my stomach churned. And subconsciously, I said to myself, “if they don't look like Arab terrorists, nothing does”. ‘Then I gave myself a mental slap. In over 34 years, I had checked in thousands of Arab travelers and I never thought this before. I said to myself, “that's not nice to think. They are just two Arab businessmen”.’ And with that, Tuohey handed them their boarding passes.” (“Profiling: Street Smarts by Any Other Name”).

'I'd Like an Aisle Seat. And Could You Hold the Cheese?'

In what has to be the most frightening development on the homeland security front so far, the TSA has released a bulletin placing beyond all doubt that terrorists in the USA have been conducting dry runs and dress rehearsals for attacks on US airliners.

On at least four occasions passengers, (ethnicity passed over in silence by the too-timid TSA), were found to have checked baggage containing simulated IEDs, outfitted variously with wire coils, electric switches, a 9-volt batteries, cell phone chargers, and sticks of modeling clay or block cheese, which share similar consistency to plastic explosive. That makes it ideal for testing x-ray detection of the working models.

And why would you try to smuggle a make-believe bomb in your Samsonite to be stowed a cell-phone call away below your airline seat? Two reasons come to mind. You’re crazy, or you’re looking for a hole in the system.

NBC News obtained the bulletin and ran it on their website last week. (“Incidents at U.S. Airports May Suggest Possible Pre-Attack Probing”). Without doubt my favorite line from it is this:

“Terrorists may repeat operational tests to desensitize, distract, or adapt plans for specific environments.”

"Desensitize" is the operative verb in this case. We already know a strong pattern is at work wherein domestic jihadists, howl on cue and in unison against “profiling and Islamaphobia” the second there's even a hint of law enforcement action against any Islamist bad guy. This method has achieved astounding success in quieting criticism from the nonMuslim population. Now when some new security test by a Middle Eastern male is reported, the average person just shrugs. What would have been an outrage during those few weeks folowing 9/11 is now just no big deal.

And to a large extent Americans have also gotten desensitized to double standards applied to protect Middle Easterners.

At least we’re desensitized when we’re still on terra firma.

I happen to think that just before takeoff, or at 23,000 feet, Islamic desensitizing or distracting passengers isn’t quite doing the trick. In fact, I’m sure it doesn’t. Similar to the old slogan about there being no atheists in foxholes, I’ll wager even the most conscience-smitten PC chump relapses into rational thinking when he and his loved ones are confined in a tiny cabin in the sky, and suddenly at risk from members of an international gang with a very, very bad record for murderous behavior.

And when post-9/11 passengers or crew in flight have been called upon to come to their own defense, they’ve consistently done so, the way the passengers on the US Air flight did when they refused to take off with the clearly bent six provocateur imams aboard, ("Flying While Still Remembering 9/11"), or the rugby pileup on top of Richard Reid.

In fact, it is only when PC airlines and government poofs apply their deadly rationalizations that the risk factors start to go back up.

For example, when the federal government and the airlines elected prevention of “discrimination” in screening to be the higher priority over preventing the deaths of innocents from terrorism.

Michael Smerconish interviewed 9/11 Commissioner John Lehman, shortly after the April 2004 hearing in which then National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice testified ("Profiling: Street Smarts by Any Other Name"):

“Lehman's focus was the transition between the Clinton and Bush administrations. He told Rice that he was "struck by the continuity of the policies rather than the differences," and then he proceeded to ask Rice a series of blunt questions as to what she was told during the transition.
Among Lehman's questions was this: "Were you aware that it was the fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory?"

Rice replied: "No, I have to say that the kind of inside arrangements for the FAA are not really in my...." (Lehman quickly followed up: "Well, these are not so inside.")

Smerconish realized the significance of the exchange, and interviewed Lehman himself soon after the hearing. Smerconish describes it in a piece at NRO (“Listen to Lehman”):

“’We had testimony a couple of months ago from the past president of United, and current president of American Airlines that kind of shocked us all,’ Lehman told me. ‘They said under oath that indeed the Department of Transportation continued to fine any airline that was caught having more than two people of the same ethnic persuasion in a secondary line for line for questioning, including and especially, two Arabs.’

“Wait a minute. So if airline security had three suspicious Arab guys they had had to let one go because they'd reached a quota?

“That was it, Lehman said, ‘because of this political correctness that became so entrenched in the 1990s, and continues in current administration. No one approves of racial profiling, that is not the issue. The fact is that Norwegian women are not, and 85-year-old women with aluminum walkers are not, the source of the terrorist threat. The fact is that our enemy is the violent Islamic extremism and the overwhelming number of people that one need to worry about are young Arab males, and to ask them a couple of extra questions seems to me to be common sense, yet if an airline does that in numbers that are more than proportionate to their number in particular line, then they get fined and that is why you see so many blue haired old ladies and people that are clearly not of Middle Eastern extraction being hauled out in such numbers because otherwise they get fined.’”

Sort of affirmative action for terrorists. As far as I can find out, the quota system has never been corrected.

Then there was the situation recounted in blogger Annie Jacobsen’s August 2004 account of Northewst flight #327 from Detroit to LA, (“Terror in the Skies, Again?”). In it, she describes how a planeload of passengers, including Jacobsen, her husband, and her young son, were terrorized for four hours by 14 Middle Eastern males doing a dress rehearsal for a hijacking or a bombing. One of the federal air marshals on the plane later admitted all the suspicious behavior actually did happen, but blew Jacobsen's account off because no federal crime had been committed, such as interfering with the flight crew. and Time Magazine (“An Air Marshal’s View of Flight 327”), both tried to certify Ms. Jacobsen’s account as an “urban myth.” They both cited the feds’ explanation that the Middle Eastern passengers turned out to be who they said they were (Syrian traveling musicians), and ultimately weren’t charged with committing an actual crime while aboard (such as interfering with the flight crew). From this they reasoned that Jacobsen’s fears that the men’s behavior was suspicious and far from innocent was just passenger “overreaction.” Besides, the feds claimed, (falsely), only inexperienced passengers got the willies, while no one in the flight crew was concerned.

Whether or not they committed an overt federal crime on that date is hardly the whole point. Nor does it follow that lack of an overt crime indicates all is well. Especially when the terrorist threat we face is ongoing, complex, and requires the connecting of circumstantial dots to ferret out.

A bank robber casing a bank a few days before he plans to pull his holdup wouldn't show up carrying a weapon and a stick-up note, with a getaway car running outside with at the curb. He comes in, looks around, maybe conducts some small transaction, the whole time pretending to be normal and harmless. He’s committing no crime, but he’s not innocent. So why is it incredible that otherwise legitimate traveling Syrian musicians, sympathetic to jihad, are recruited and become willing to do a dry run that stops far short of an overt violent act, are pieces in a terror puzzle? Or, more to the point, why are vigilant citizens who point it out shut down as “overreacting”?

In fact, Homeland Security’s own Inspector General’s report of the Flight 327 incident, released in 2006, confirms that the behavior of the Middle Eastern passengers was extremely suspicious. It also revealed that it wasn’t only passengers who saw suspicious activities, but at least three flight attendants reported suspicious behavior, at least twice, and the captain notified LAX to have security standing by at the request of one of the air marshals. Then, after flight 327 landed, “the names of the suspicious passengers were run through Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) databases, indicating the musical group’s promoter (promoter) had been involved in a similar incident in January 2004.”

According to a TSA incident report of January 28, 2004, the promoter had been “one of eight passengers acting suspiciously aboard Frontier Airlines Flight 577 from Houston, through Denver, to San Francisco. Flight attendants reported all eight passenger kept trying to switch seats while boarding and during the flight, made repeated service requests in what the attendants described as an effort to keep the flight crew occupied. One took a cell phone into the ‘front lavatory,’ remained in the lavatory for over 15 minutes, but did not appear to have the phone when leaving the lavatory.”

Is it so incredible that an Islamist music promoter doesn’t only promote gigs, but promotes opportunities to contribute to the greater Jihad?

Now after three years the statements by Lehman, and stories like Annie Jacobsen’s seem like old news. But it was just last year that the six imams pulled their dress rehearsal in Minneapolis. Nor have we seen many any signs that TSA security has gotten better. And, CAIR and the six imams have used their ejection from the US Air flight to bring a lawsuit against civilian passengers to try to scare future vigilant witnesses into silence.

Now, we get news of multiple bomb rehearsals.

One of the things that struck me about the rehearsal of the six imams was that, if they were trying to gauge the limits of passengers’ willingness to put up with provocative behavior long enough to enable future terrorists to get an onboard plot in motion, then their particular test revealed passengers won’t be willing to put up with it. In case of the six imams, the passengers wouldn’t even allow the plane to take off while these gemulks were still aboard.

The jihadists have likely concluded that post-9/11 passenger vigilance makes destruction of an airplane in flight impractical by means of the “muscle hijacker” method used so effectively on 9/11 to gain control of the passenger cabin and cockpit. Maybe they’ve gone back to the drawing board and decided a bomb stowed in the luggage compartment, activated by cell phone, is a better idea.

The 9/11 Commission found that the 9/11 hijackers had conducted dry runs in advance. Certainly had they been detained on those dry runs they also would have been found to have not committed any federal crime--yet.

I'm not asking for federal law enforcement to arrest Middle Eastern males whose behavior is supicious, but not illegal. I'm only asking for greater vigilance, and maybe a bit more curiosity. When you've got guys coming back from the lavatory smelling of toilet chemicals, or running up the aisle full-tilt towards the cockpit, a bit of voluntary follow up from the guys with the silver stars would be reassuring.

The Inspector General's report was very critical that the FBI and the Federal Air Marshal Service had comletely fallen down by relasing these guys too soon, failing to flag the incident for Homeland Security, and only bothering to do a follow-up investigation after seeing reports on the story weeks later on cable news. The report also described how that both the FBI agent and air marshal weren't interested in taking witness statements after the flight, telling the pilot and co-pilot they "weren't needed," and only taking two passenger statements because the two passengers insisted on giving them.

Hey, fellas, we all know flying tires you out, but this is ridiculous.

It’s an axiom of the mental-health industry that, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Nobody puts together mock IEDs with block cheese because they’re trying to practice their religion in peace.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How Profiling Saves Lives, and Fear of 'Islamaphobia' Gets People Killed

The Democratic Congress is at this moment obstructing the “John Doe legislation,” (Protecting Americans Fighting Terrorism Act), sponsored by New York Rep. Peter King. The legislation “protects citizen whistleblowers who report suspicious activity from being sued.” (“Disarmed by the Dems”).

The amendment arose after the six imams thrown off the US Air flight last year sued the elderly couple who reported their provocative behavior to airline authorities.

CAIR's behind that lawsuit, and its purpose is absolutely clear: to send the message that in the future anyone who thinks he might be witnessing possible suspicious or dangerous behavior by Muslims would be better off not reporting it to anyone. In a close call, dreading the headache of a lawsuit might be just enough to keep a wavering whistleblower from saying something that could save many lives.

Dragging fellow passengers into a courtroom is just one more tool jihadists would love to have in their campaign to get nonMuslims to self-censor. It will be bad enough if anyone attempting to report suspicious Muslim activity risked costly litigation by well-financed activist groups like CAIR; still, the vast majority of cases where questionable behaviors by Muslims are deliberately overlooked is the fault of what we nonMuslims do to ourselves.

I'm talking about our fear of being called names like "racist," which has been driven so deep into us that we censor ourselves long before any jihadist Gestapo needs to step in.

ITEM: Earlier this year a 23-year-old Circuit City clerk was credited with foiling the plot of the Fort Dix attackers for contacting authorities about suspicious material on a customer DVD. “[H]e saw a tape of men in Muslim attire firing guns,” and shouting "Allah Akbar." He waited overnight and talked it over with his family, wrestling with the question, “‘Should I call someone or is that being racist?’” In the end, he called the FBI. (“King amendment”).

ITEM: Debra Burlingame describes this well-known instance:

“It has been nearly six years since 19 ordinary-looking men boarded four commercial airliners, killed all the pilots and then flew the planes into buildings and the ground.

“One of those most haunted by that day is the airline employee who checked in two of the hijackers that morning. He told the 9/11 commission that the pair, traveling on first class, one-way, e-tickets, ‘didn't act right.’ Though he selected them for secondary screening, he didn't request a more thorough search because ‘I was worried about being accused of being “racist” and letting “prejudice” get in the way.’”

No one's suggested either the store clerk or the airline employee acted out of an irrational fear of Muslims. Instead, each of them describes showing up to work on their respective fateful days with another pre-existing, and entirely different, fear lurking within.

They were both afraid of being called “Islamaphobic.”

In both of them this fear was so pronounced it played a direct role in their decisions. The store clerk, acting post-9/11, managed to overcome his fear. But first he had to wrestle with it overnight, and we'll never know how close he came to saying nothing.

Then the airline employee on 9/11, lacking the experience of what was going to happen only a short time later in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania, allowed his fear to divert his better judgment and his duty.
Michael Smerconish interviewed the screener and learned exactly how it happened ("Profiling: Street Smarts by Any Other Name"):
“Michael Tuohey saw two of the hijackers on the morning of 9/11 and had the same instinct. Tuohey worked the ticket counter at the airport in Portland, Maine for US Airways. He'll never forget that particular day amongst his 34 years of employment. At 5:43 a.m. on a bright Tuesday morning, two men wearing sport coats and ties approached his ticket counter with just 17-minutes to spare before their flight to Boston. He thought this pair was unusual. ‘It was just the look on the one man's face, his eyes,’ Tuohey told me. In front of him were Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari.

“’I looked up, and asked them the standard questions. The one guy was looking at me. It sent a chill through me. Something in my stomach churned. And subconsciously, I said to myself, “if they don't look like Arab terrorists, nothing does”. ‘Then I gave myself a mental slap. In over 34 years, I had checked in thousands of Arab travelers and I never thought this before. I said to myself, “that's not nice to think. They are just two Arab businessmen”.’ And with that, Tuohey handed them their boarding passes.”

As Ms. Burlingame writes, “We disarm ourselves when we succumb to political correctness - which encourages us to second guess our common sense and look the other way.”

Imagine this same fear planted in the hearts of many tens of millions, many scores of millions of us, and you may have some idea why it is that so many double standards are tolerated by your fellow citizens, government officials, and the media when it comes to Muslims. Everybody's scared.

I’m not going to try coming up with a suitable term that denotes the irrational fear of being called, considered, or (worst of all), accused by oneself of Islamaphobia. The term “phobia” has been all but ruined by the homosexual lobby, anyway. But a reminder couldn’t hurt of how those who properly employ the term define “phobia” “a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger.”

Sort of like being called a name.

Still, those night-after-night news reports, and the endless screen crawl, (70% of which describe Islamic murders on some unhappy part of the globe), have their effect. They tend to cause the anxiety we feel toward all those real flesh-and-blood people promising to kill us to feel even bigger than the anxiety we might feel about being called intolerant. Even with all the thought control we’ve been put through, our instinct for survival can trump all that if we see enough examples of what’s going on. And we’re seeing plenty.

(And what else except some kind of thought control can explain how many millions and millions of us can’t see what's all around us?)

And because all that increased terror activity we see risks diluting our inner terror at being accused of profiling, Muslim extremists like CAIR have to come up with some external method to shut down any prohibited speech from us about Islam. If they can’t make you too blind to see, then the next best thing is to make you too scared to say what you can't help seeing.

That's where the legal jihad comes in. As Steve Lowry writes today, ("King amendment"), without Peter King’s amendment, people in situations like the store clerk and the airport screener “will have to worry not just about being called racist, but about being sued if their suspicions prove unfounded.”

Prior to the six imams’ lawsuit, CAIR and their fellow travelers used propaganda techiques, intimidation, and our court system, to try to silence critics of Islam--effectively prohibiting any criticism that links Islam with terrorism. Recently the Islamic Society of Boston filed a suit for libel against 17 defendants, including “a number of Boston residents, a Boston newspaper and television station, and Steven Emerson,”(“Be Careful What You Sue For”), critics who'd brought to light the ISB’s ties to terrorism. Daniel Pipes recently explained how the ISB lawsuit represents a warning about “radical Islam's legal ambitions”:

“The Islamist movement has two wings, one violent and one lawful, which operate apart but often reinforce each other. Their effective coordination was on display in Britain last August, when the Islamist establishment seized on the Heathrow airport plot to destroy planes over the Atlantic Ocean as an opening for it to press the Blair government for changes in policy.

“A similar one-two punch stifles the open discussion of Muhammad, the Koran, Islam, and Muslims. Violence causing hundreds of deaths erupted against The Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoons, and Pope Benedict, creating a climate of fear that adds muscle to lawsuits such as the ISB's. As Mr. Emerson noted when the Muslim Public Affairs Council recently threatened to sue him for supposed false statements, ‘Legal action has become a mainstay of radical Islamist organizations seeking to intimidate and silence their critics.’” ("Islamists in the Courtroom").

As we see now with the suit from the six imams, the legal threats are going beyond targeting scholars and reporters to targeting private citizens, like the “John and Jane Doe” defendants in Minnesota. They did nothing more than pay attention to their surroundings, and then use a cell phone to alert authorities when they witnessed actions that, as it turned out, were intentionally belligerent and provocative. The imams’ lawsuit actually charges that the couple “’purposely turned around to watch them’” in the boarding area and then “’made a cellular phone call.’”

Turned around to watch them. That count could have been written by any kid in the back seat during a family road trip. The King amendment would place lawful citizen action like that off limits to lawsuits.

But the majority in Congress doesn’t think that’s a good idea. As Ms. Burlingame explains, “According to key Democrat leaders, John Doe protection will encourage ‘racial profiling.’”

Lowry sums it up this way:

“The Democrats oppose fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, oppose key provisions of the Patriot Act, oppose President Bush’s electronic-surveillance program, oppose Guantanamo Bay, oppose the aggressive interrogation of terrorism suspects, and now they oppose lawsuit-free passenger vigilance. If only they took the terror threat as seriously as that man who may have to defend his cell-phone call in court.”

Speaking Truth to Pollen: After Mouse Martyrdom on Hamas TV, Bumble Bee Calls for Jihad

Hamas TV’s recently martyred Mickey Mouse knockoff, Farfur, has been replaced by Bumble Bee Nahool. (“Bumble Bee Replaces Mickey Mouse Lookalike on Hamas TV”).

Nahool introduced himself this way to child MC Saraa:

"I am Nahool, Farfur's cousin...I want to continue the path of Farfur, -- the path of 'Islam is the solution; the path of heroism; the path of martyrdom; the path of the Jihad warriors. Me and my friends shall continue the path of Farfur.

"And in his name we shall take revenge upon the enemies of Allah, the murderers of the prophets [i.e. the Jews], the murderers of innocent children, until Al-Aqsa will be liberated from their filth."

Welcome to the show, chirps Saraa.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Sneeze Alert: Political Progress in Iraq, and a Judge Wearing Plame-Proof Robes

It’s allergy season, and if you were in the middle of sneezing you may have missed some critical news in Detroit’s premiere news daily, the once-great Detroit News.

First, there was an in-depth, one-inch report, (or as in-depth as you can get in 31 words), in a teeny-weeny sidebar “Iraq update,” attached to a buzzkill article entitled “'Fear' dominates Iraq."

The tiny story reads in full:

Sunnis return to parliament
Sunni legislators returned to Iraq's parliament Thursday after a five-week boycott, raising hopes the assembly can make progress on power-sharing bills demanded by Washington before the lawmakers take a month's break.

Now, you may recall that, earlier this week, the US Senate shut down all normal business for some 36 or more hours in order to grandstand on an Iraq war funding amendment premised on the Democratic argument that there has been absolutely, positively no political improvements in Iraq to justify the continuing military surge.

This slogan of no progress was repeated approximately four times per hour for a day and a half. It wasn’t true, as these slogans never are true, but that doesn’t matter now.

I would expect that, even setting aside the other previous political progress that the Democrats flatly refused to acknowledge, that the return of Sunni legislators after a five-week boycott is both welcome and unexpected news of political progress. Even more surprising and welcome for Democrats, who are committed to the dogma that Iraq is embroiled in an intractable civil war between Sunnis and Shias, which should make it all the more remarkable and cheering that one side in the war would show up at parliament to work on legislation peacefully with the other side.

The other buried news was on on the back page of the front section, just below “Scientists say checkers-playing computer can never lose.” It's an AP story reporting that Valerie Plame’s lawsuit against the Bush administration was just tossed out of court. (“Judge dismisses CIA leak case suit.”)

Though I’m sure the disappointed couple left the courtroom without benefit of being frog-marched, I’ll bet Ambassador Wilson and his wife were hopping mad at Judge John D. Bates’s opinion.

This also deserved a bigger headline.

The legal and political saga of Valerie Plame has been with us for four years, and continues to be a rallying point for enemies of the President. Because of it, innumerable Congressional hearings have been launched, thousands of articles, and millions of inches of snotty commentary have been written smearing the President as “leaking” confidential information. Based solely upon the mythical crimes against Ms. Plame, Democrats have called for everything from impeachment of Bush and Cheney to the use of the guillotine for executive branch officials who anger Washington socialites.

So one would think it would be a bigger story than this, sort of as if Planet Earth were suddenly found to be rotating from east to west.

Yesterday the court dismissed the Plame case in part for a lack of jurisdiction. But the dismissal was also because the court found no merit in Ms. Plame’s claims that White House personnel violated her privacy rights by discussing her and her irritating husband after they insinuated themselves into the national debate over the invasion of Iraq.

The critical bit about the judge's opinion was left out of the AP/News story, but the Washington Post included it in their story. (“Plame's Suit Against Top Officials Dismissed”).

Judge Bates wrote “there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."

There should never have been any doubt about this, and for those of us who have never sworn a blood oath against George W. Bush, it seems rather obvious. But once in a while it takes an adversarial process, a strict rational evidentiary standard, somebody on the other side raising objections to unfair arguments, and a judge with a gavel, to undo years of slanders amassed by false reporting in an unbridled press.

I love it when this happens.

UM-Dearborn Picked a Bad Time to Lie About Hidden Costs

Just in time for the University of Michigan Board of Regents’ announcement of tuition hikes raising UM-Dearborn student costs by 7.9%, (“With state aid down, U-M hikes tuition”), Dearborn Underground has obtained University documents showing how school officials planned to spend more than three times the officially stated cost of $25,000 to install Islamic ritual foot baths.

The documents also show that University officials knew the real costs months before UM-Dearborn Director of Public Relations Terry Gallagher began sending out talking points to inquiring alumni, taxpayers, and reporters: talking points falsely reporting the $25,000 figure, as well as misleading inquirers and news media about the public source of the funding.

Emails and other documents obtained from the University show that on June 4, 2007, in anticipation of planned news stories about the project in the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, Terry Gallagher drafted notes providing answers to key questions about the project.

Just before that, a posting by Debbie Schlussel a few days earlier, on May 30th, tipped off the public about the foot baths, in turn leading to angry inquiries to UM from alumni and concerned taxpayers. Debbie's post may have finally prodded the local media to finally report on the foot baths. (Dearborn Underground also posted the details on May 1 and again on May 28.). Prior to Debbie’s post, the University’s plan had managed to escape nearly all public notice and media attention.

All indications to date are that the University wanted it that way. Staying below the radar worked for many months, as UM's decision to install at least one of the foot baths in the campus University Center was made as early as October 12, 2006, when the subject was discussed at a meeting of senior University officers.

A June 5th email reveals that Gallagher sent his notes to ACCESS communications director, Hannan Deep, for her thoughts. Her reply expressed approval for his talking points, urging Gallagher to keep his responses on message, especially to keep repeating his “top key message: No tax payer dollars are being used for the project. (this seems to be everyone’s concern).” After that, Gallagher sent his talking points to UM staff as an aid for interviews and answering questions.

An internal copy of a memo from University Provost Susan Martin, also recommended the notes to UM staff, and described increased media attention “over the past several days.” Martin's memo said that “[S]ome of the information in the blogs and internet postings about the proposal is not accurate,” and were being reported “as if they are true.” As a remedy, Martin attached Gallagher's talking points.

Gallagher also forwarded his notes in responses to email inquires from unhappy alumni and taxpayers, and provided these "facts" to reporters as background information for articles they were writing. Detroit News reporter Karen Bouffard, and Detroit Free Press writer Niraj Wairkoo both received copies.

But it’s turning out that it was Gallagher’s talking points that are “not accurate” and have been widely reported “as if they are true.”

The Real Cost

For instance, under Gallagher's talking-points heading, “What is the cost of this project?”, the fact-sheet states, falsely, that:

“We have not yet received the proposal from the architect or solicited bonds bids yet, but we estimate that the total cost to install two foot-washing stations to be approximately $25,000.”

The stated amount is not accurate. According to a December 6, 2006 UM email, subject New Renovation Project Grants, the projected budget to “modify space to create 2 new footbaths and two new unisex TRs [toilet rooms]” was $80,000. A purchase order also was issued for the same project on April 3, 2007 for the same amount of $80,000. $10,000 of that was slated to pay fees for architectural firm designs and plans for the proposed renovations.

Nor is Gallagher’s statement accurate that the University hadn’t yet received proposals from the architect. Records reveal that the University had received at least two proposals from different architect firms in February and March 2007, respectively. Both proposals incorporated the University’s own proposed construction budget of $70,000. The University also told Debbie Schlussel at the end of May that only $2,000 had been spent so far; but the $10,000 invoiced by Niagara Murano had already been approved the previous April).

None of the records, proposals, budget items, or invoices anywhere mention a figure of $25,000.

The University will undoubtedly attempt to explain the $55,000 discrepancy as primarily the cost of constructing the 2 unisex toilet rooms already planned, leaving the installation of the foot baths as a minor portion only representing $25,000.

But there never was any separate plan to construct unisex toilet rooms absent the decision to install foot baths. Instead, the unisex toilet rooms now have to be built to provide suitable access to the foot baths, and to mitigate the loss of restroom space, including the loss of at least one existing handicapped toilet, resulting from the decision to install special foot baths.

Further, the University’s own talking points make clear that the whole project was intended to solve the very problems caused by Muslim students using restroom sinks to wash their feet:

“We believe that these modifications [to our existing facilities] will benefit all students by providing appropriate facilities that do not interfere with the use of existing restrooms.”

In the end, not only is the plan not going to add to the University's toilet facilities, but unimpeded access to the new toilet in the unisex restroom will be impossible with potentially hundreds of Muslim students needing to use the same room to wash their feet several times a day.

It's Still Public Money

Gallagher’s second talking point that's the real kicker:

“What is the source of the funding?

“No tax dollars are being used for the project; the funding is being drawn from fees assessed to our students for campus infrastructure maintenance and renovation.”

This is the number one bit of misinformation UM wants to spread. As Hannan Deep at ACCESS urged him, this is the University’s “top key message.”

And he’s stayed true to it. In response to a concerned taxpayer inquiry as recently as July 17, Gallagher gave this explanation:

“The proposed project will be paid for with funds received from an infrastructure fee collected from all students; those funds are part of the campus general fund. While the annual appropriation we receive from the state also is part of the campus general fund, the accounts are separate. It's clear that you disagree with this project and I don't expect to change your mind, but I believe we have consistently and accurately described the funding source.”

It doesn’t matter if the accounts are separate as long as they're all sourced to the general fund. There is no way that campus operations, facilities, and maintenance are paid for with student fees alone. Besides, students (or their parents) are required to pay those fees, they and their parents are certainly "the public," and once the money is handed over, its public money, as it's under the control of a government university. Do they really think they can make us believe this is not public money?

We can’t be certain if Sue Martin’s June 5 email to “All Staff,” claiming blogs were posting inaccurate information was meant to refer to the funding details, but it's a reasonable assumption. After all, in order to contradict the "not accurate" blogs, Martin attached Gallagher’s talking points to her email!

Neither our postings on May 1 or 28, nor Debbie Schlussel’s on May 30th, contained any inaccurate information about public funding. Debbie reported accurately that the money was coming from “the University of Michigan general fund.” She went on to explain, correctly, that "if you are a taxpayer, you're paying for them, as the general fund is made up of federal and state monies and paid tuition fees."

In fact, it is a reduction of state contributions right now that's behind the UM Board of Regents' decision to raise tuition.

And, as we saw above, Gallagher admits in his most recent email the money still comes from the campus general fund.

So there's no inaccuracy here

UM's Endorsement of Islam

And there's one more talking point I want to include:

“Why are you furthering a specific religion?

“We are not furthering one faith over another. Instead, we are providing a service that many of our students need and value. This project also means that other campus restrooms can better serve the needs of all students.”

This is the worst kind of language-twisting. Any action good or bad, from shoveling someone’s snow to pushing drugs to committing murder-for-hire, can be called “providing a service” that somebody “needs and values.” The point isn’t whether the University is providing a service, but whether the University is placing public resources at the service of a particular religion in an unlawful way.

Clearly, the foot-bath project is furthering Islam in preference to all other faiths, or to any purely secular point of view. All students, Muslim and nonMuslim, are required to pay student fees that in turn are diverted to support this project. Meanwhile, only one class of students stands to benefit from the foot baths--Muslim students.

And as for the project freeing up other campus restrooms to better serve the needs of all students, that's an example of solving one problem by creating another. It was the University that created the restroom problem in the first place by tolerating student misuse of the facilities.

Nor is it at all likely that installing only two foot baths, in different buildings, is going to solve the problem of “accommodating” 950 Muslim students, in addition to Muslim staff and faculty, whom we are told need to wash their feet before praying five times a day.

More likely than not, there are still going to be students far off in other campus buildings who aren't going to travel to the University Center or the Fairlane Center to wash their feet. There will still be misuse of the campus's other restrooms.

So the real cost: $80 grand. And now the Board of Regents are boosting tuition at UM-Dearborn 7.9%.

Which only makes the $80,000 price tag seem like an even worse idea.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CAIR's Dawud Walid Explains the ACLU

Dawud Walid, local spokesman for CAIR Michigan, posted the following on his personal blog on Tuesday:

Revisiting the facts regarding "foot bath" controversy at U of M - Dearborn

Regarding the ongoing controversy about the scheduled installation of "foot baths" at the University of Michigan - Dearborn, I'd like to present the following facts:

Fact #1 - The installation of the foot baths at the University of Michigan - Dearborn in two unisex bathrooms are not Muslim only bathrooms. They are open to the entire public regardless of their gender or religion.

Fact #2 - Safety modifications are frequently made in public areas when the need arises. The university cannot legally say that no one can wash their feet for prayer or any other reason. Having people wash their feet in high traffic bathrooms causing the floor to get wet presents a safety hazard to all that enter.

Fact #3 - Most people get grossed out seeing someone washing their feet in a face bowl. For hygiene purposes, people would shy away from using a face bowl where someone just washed their feet in it.

Fact #4 - Public educational institutions factor in religious needs all the time. Although masked in non-religious language, schools close during Christmas and Easter time because it would not be feasible to leave the schools open when a vast majority of the students are going to be absent. In the Philadelphia and New York City, schools are closed for Yom Kippur for the same reason, right? If any district or university has a sizeable religious population outside of these two, should they not be accomodated as well?

The ACLU's position of not fighting the foot bath issue is based upon facts #1 and #2.

The hypocrisy of the whole situation, however, resides in fact #4. The loudest voices against the "footh bath" situation are themselves fundamentalists within their own faiths, bordering on being zealots. Their Islamophobic rhetoric is veiled under the guise of separation of church and state. The zealots, however, have no problem with their faiths being accommodated [sic].

You may recall that director of the Michigan ACLU, Kary Moss, took a vain stab at defending the foot baths (which are being built purposely top facilitate Muslims’ prayers), as being a “reasonable accommodation,” and "an attempt to deal with a problem, not an attempt to make it easier for Muslims to pray."

Once the laughter died down, the Moss and ACLU had stopped talking. They were contacted recently for a July 10 CNSNews article, (“Mosque and State: Taxpayer Dollars, Time Devoted to Islam in Schools”), but declined to add anything until their “formal opinion” was issued on July 14.

Well, July 14 came and went, and there’s been no sign of any formal opinion, though we at DU have been anxiously looking for it, damned curious to see the ACLU’s reasoning.

Instead, what we get is Dawud Walid “revisiting” the controversy at his blog, even though a controversy requires a forum for discussion, and the local media has presented a united front against discussing this topic. For a summary of media discussion of this story since the one-day report 5 weeks ago, there is this:


In Tuesday's post, Walid attempts to explain himself the ACLU’s decision not to fight the foot baths. But I find it hard to believe the ACLU would ever endorse his reasoning.

Walid repeats that the foot baths are not targeted to favor the Muslim students because they’ll be “open to the entire public regardless of their gender or religion.”

The ACLU knows, even if Walid doesn’t, that this isn’t the standard that applies. The ACLU still battles nativity scenes, portraits of Jesus Christ, and replicas of the Ten Commandments in public places, even when “the entire public” is welcome to look at them, not just Christians. The point isn’t whether the suspect government action is open to all, it’s whether or not the government action endorses a particular religion.

As it does, for instance, in constructing purpose-built Muslim foot baths.

Nor are we buying Walid’s attempt to categorize the installation of ritual foot baths as “safety modifications frequently made in public areas when the need arises.”

This is either a religious accommodation, or it is a safety issue, but not both. The foot baths don’t compare to handicap toilets or wheelchair ramps. No one ever suggested the rest room sinks weren’t safe for washing faces and hands. If people washing their feet in busy rest rooms is a safety hazard (likely), then the University can remedy the problem by posting signs forbidding the practice.

It’s true, as Walid says, that the University “cannot legally say that no one can wash their feet for prayer or any other reason.” But that doesn’t mean the University can’t intervene to stop an unsafe, unhygienic, and irritating practice in student rest rooms. They can say you can't wash your feet in the handbowls, especially if it's not safe. They enforce the smoking ban, don’t they?

Yet Walid is just stuck on the notion that, if the government doesn’t provide people the means to “wash their feet for prayer,” then the government is actually forbidding people from practicing their religion.

I’m having trouble believing the legal eagles at the ACLU provided Walid with these talking points. But if they did, I’m not surprised they’ve been unwilling to include them in their own “formal opinion.”

Walid, as always, ends his remarks by attacking critics of the foot baths, "the loudest voices," as Islamophobes, in this case presuming to understand our inner characters as "fundamentalists...bordering on zealots."

I don't know how he can say we're the loudest voices, when even though we've tried to be loud, no one can hear a thing we're saying. As for whether or not I'm a fundamentalist, he has no way of knowing that, anyway. Nor do I think Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, which tends to agree with us, (on this one at least), is a "fundamentalist" organization.

Is this really what the ACLU has in mind?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bush's Surgeon General Censored: Maybe It's Just as Well

You may or may not have heard about the little tempest in a teapot from ex-surgeon general Richard Carmona. ("Ex-surgeon general faults White House").

Dr. Carmono claims he was censored by the White House, prevented from talking about science for political reasons.

At one point, he told a congressional committee he had run "afoul of politics on teen pregnancy prevention. Although the administration emphasizes abstinence from sexual relations, Carmona said he believed a variety of approaches was needed, including contraception for teens who are sexually active."

According to Carmona, the administration "'did not want to hear the science … but wanted to preach abstinence, which I felt was scientifically incorrect,'" Carmona testified."

I never did do that well in science, myself. But I'd love to see the experiment that illustrates how sexual abstinence, if the object is teen pregnancy prevention, can be a "scientifically incorrect" method.

NOW Takes on "The Bachelor,' Swears They're Still Relevant

The National Organization for Women (NOW) just wrapped up their national conference at Dearborn’s Hyatt Regency yesterday. ("National Organization for Women returns to metro Detroit").

It’s one of those small ironies that NOW’s national conference is being hosted by a city where women in hijabs, niqabs, and burqas are commonplace, and where the local liberal press enthusiastically celebrates a Middle Eastern culture that views a woman “as a pearl that needs to be hidden.” (“Free Press Discovers a Patriarchy It Approves Of”); ("Veils and the Cricket Test").

The press wasn’t interested in any of that stuff. The feature angle was nostalgia for the last national conference sponsored by the Detroit NOW chapter in 1977, and a comparison with how NOW is fighting for its life today.

“Back then," columnist Laura Berman over at the Detroit News gravely recalls, “women were 51 percent of the population and living on the fringe.” (“NOW fights for its life as feminists get older”). That’s when “NOW tapped into what Betty Friedan called ‘the worldwide revolution of human rights.’”

The Dearborn Press & Guide quotes former Detroit chapter president Jacquie Steingold saying NOW continues “to stress… human rights overall.” By "human rights" she means “economic justice, reproductive rights, pay equity, disability and gay rights.” The “main bulk” of this year’s conference activities were devised to get women “better informed of the state of women’s issues globally." (“NOW national conference is Friday at Hyatt”, 7/11/07).

But nothing much has been reported this time of NOW tackling the global human rights issue of the treatment of women in Islam.

Instead, NOW President Kim Gandy announced the “hot topics” for this year’s conference were “misogyny in Hollywood and the media; electing a feminist president; women and war; universal healthcare; media reform in the wake of the Imus controversy; and the impact of the recent Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights, pay equity and school integration.” (“National NOW Conference Opens in Detroit, Celebrates Women Taking Charge”).

And the keynote speaker, our own Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, spoke truth to the pressing social injustice of popular attitudes about women in pop culture.

“Her suggestion would be going after some reality TV shows, like ‘Wife Swap,’ or ‘The Bachelor.’"There are a huge number of shows that suggest that women are weak and thoughtless," she said. ‘It's important for us to take a strong stand against that.’” (“Granholm urges NOW to change pop culture”).

Wow. Pretty heavy stuff, eh?

But NOW's conference hasn't had a thing to say about the failed suicide attack in London a couple weeks ago, though it was targeted at women leaving nightclubs after Ladies Night. (“Jihad's Target: Women”).

Then there are all those forced marriages, honor killings, and femlae gential mutilations. In fact, the examples of women being deliberately targeted in Islam are legion, and global.

As Phyllis Chesler and Nancy Kobrin ask in their article at FrontPage Magazine,

“When will western progressives, especially feminists, ‘get’ that Muslim terrorists hate women --especially infidel women who are intellectually or sexually independent and whose independence taunts, tempts, and enrages them?

“That should come as no surprise. Islam’s record of treating women is abominable. Islamic gender apartheid targets Muslim women for maximum punishment (lashing, stoning to death, political gang-rape, honor-murder) when they are in any way perceived or misperceived as even slightly independent (e.g. if they want to marry men of their own choosing, divorce dangerously abusive husbands, or simply attend college.) But, even when they have committed no such "crime," many Muslim, Arab, and African women are genitally mutilated; most Muslim and Arab women are routinely beaten as daughters and wives. They are forced to "cover" their hair, faces, bodies, and threatened with maximum punishment when a wisp of hair or too much ankle is showing. They are forced to accept and embrace polygamy and purdah (physical sequestration).

“These onerous practices have penetrated the West. Increasingly, masked and silent women are appearing on our streets; their presence is oddly menacing. At the very least, they clearly do not approve of your ways because they have chosen a visibly different path. The fact that some women may view hijab and niqab as a legitimate and humble expression of religious submission or freely choose to be modestly covered as a way of proclaiming themselves ‘off-limits’ to western secular promiscuity does not change the fact that their presence also constitutes a walking advertisement for jihad.”

Veiled and silent women appearing on Dearborn’s streets, in fact, only a short bus ride from the Hyatt Regency.

In fairness, NOW has not been utterly silent about Islamic misogyny, having a few times over the years made some principled statements about the mistreatment of women in Sudan, (“Violence Against Women in Sudan Reveals Common Weapon of War”), and raised concerns over the US “trading away women’s rights” by endorsing the pro-Sharia elements of the new Iraqi constitution. (“Congress Members Join NOW in Urging Bushto Fight for Iraqi Women”).

But by and large feminism refuses to confront Islam’s attitudes about women head-on, preferring to hide behind abstractions about how “[v]iolations of women's human rights are intertwined with a male-dominated culture that supports male aggression and violence, while promoting women as symbols of virtue and ethnic identity, setting them up as enemy targets. Because of this, any long-term strategy to stop violence against women must consider the patriarchal culture in which this violence is committed.”

If this is suposed to be an oblique reference to Islam, it is obscured by NOW’s long misuse of the term “patriarchy” to connote a household in which the husband works and his wife stays home to care for her children.

The feminist refusal to address these issues is further explained, as Jamie Glazov writes at FrontPage Magazine, (“Muslim Rape, Feminist Silence’'), by the women’s movement being systemically incapable of acting against its own commitment to multi-culti preconceptions, even to defend against a naked evil.

That's why feminists wouldn’t even condemn the epidemic of Muslim males committing gang rapes in Europe, because “admitting the Muslim rape epidemic, and the theology and institutions on which it is based, and denouncing it, would violate the central code of the ‘progressive’ leftist faith: anti-Americanism and cultural relativism. No culture can be said to be better than any other - unless it is American culture, which is always fair game for derision and ridicule. But to criticize any Third World culture in general - and an adversary culture in particular - is to surrender the political cause and faith.”

First Muslim Congressman to Atheists: 'I'm No Nut-Ball'

I thought the following report at Little Green Footballs was interesting:

Telegraph Covers Ellison's Bush=Hitler Statement

US media have completely given a pass to Congressman Keith Ellison for his outrageous comparison of the 9/11 attacks to the Reichstag fire. You have to read British papers to find out anything more about the incident; here in the US the nanny media have decided we don’t need to know, and shouldn’t be interested anyway.

Here’s the Telegraph’s account:

Bush like Hitler, says first Muslim in Congress.

Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler’s later seizure of emergency powers.

“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Mr Ellison said. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”

To applause from his audience of 300 members of Atheists for Human Rights, Mr Ellison said he would not accuse the Bush administration of planning 9/11 because “you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box - dismiss you”.

Vice-President Dick Cheney’s stance of refusing to answer some questions from Congress was “the very definition of totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship”, he added.

Yes, that's totalitatarianism exactly: refusing to answer some questions.

Still, it isn't clear to me if Ellison is or isn't accusing Bush of planning 9/11. Refusing to make the accusation just because doing so will get him thrown into the "nut-ball box" isn't exactly a denial--nor an act of courage.

But once again, the real story here isn't that a Democratic hack playing to a liberal audience says something completely reckless and irrational on what should be a serious topic. The story is how the press has given it a complete go-by.

And when the press stops doing its job to protect the one-sided ravings of a single political party, isn't that closer to something that helps define "totalitarianism" then some simple-minded charge about the Vice President refusing to answer some questions?

Your Bashful Press at Work

The following story from NewsBusters is yet one more example of how important news, ignored by a compliant press, isn't news at all:

Air Force Airman Shot By Anti-war Protestor on July 4, Media Mum

Posted by Noel Sheppard on July 16, 2007 - 10:45.

It’s approaching two weeks since an Air Force Airman was shot by an anti-war protestor in Willingboro, New Jersey.

Yet, apart from an Associated Press article which conveniently ignored the apparent motives of the assailant, a New York Post op-ed by Michelle Malkin, and a mention by Glenn Beck on CNN's Headline News, not one major mainstream media outlet has reported the horrific event in print or on the air.

Not one.

To set this up, the Associated Press reported the day after the shooting (h/t NB reader CSM Robert E. Wilson, currently serving in Iraq):

An airman from McGuire Air Force Base was in critical condition after being shot by another man who then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide, officials said.

According to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office, Matthew J. Marren, 22, of Pennsauken, drove to the Willingboro home that the airman, Jonathan Schrieken, 22, was renting at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Marren got out of his vehicle and shot Schrieken, who was outside the house, one time in the chest, using a small-caliber firearm. Marren then turned the gun on himself.

Schrieken was transported to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he was in critical condition Thursday, said Angel Lopez from the McGuire public affairs office. She said Marren was not affiliated with the military.

Schrieken is a loadmaster with the 6th Airlift Squadron based at McGuire, officials said.

As noted by Patrick Poole at the American Thinker July 9, the AP “never mentioned Marren's motive for shooting Schrieken.”

On July 6, reported the incident, and the piece got picked up at

The Pennsauken man who shot and wounded a member of the U.S. Air Force before killing himself left suicide notes that indicated he was “angry at the government and wanted to make a statement” on Independence Day, one of the man’s relatives said yesterday.


Marren’s aunt, Terina Henderson of Trion, Ga., said she spoke to Marren’s mother yesterday who told her Marren left two notes, one in his home and one in his car, indicating he was upset with the government.

She said she did not know the exact wording in the notes, but said Marren was “mad at the government and wanted to make a statement … that’s why he did what he did on the Fourth of July.”

So, AP ran a piece on this July 5, with and the following day connecting an anti-war element to the shooting. Yet, no major print or television press outlet deigned to report the matter.

Three days later, on July 8, Charles Johnson reported at Little Green Footballs that he received a message from a reader that included the following about this subject:

My son’s best friend, Jon, who’s in the Air Force stationed in New Jersey at Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base was shot by a crazed anti-military white guy on Independence Day and he remains in critical condition. He had been on leave here in Ohio and got back to his home off base and was unpacking stuff from his car when this 22 year old guy walked up to him and asked him if he lived in the house. When Jon said yes, the guy said “not any more” and shot him point blank in the chest. He tried to shoot him again, but his gun jammed. Jonathan made it into the house. The guy then shot himself.

Still no major print or television media focus.

Finally, on July 11, the New York Post published the following
op-ed by Michelle Malkin which (emphasis added):

Now, imagine the scenario flipped: What if a soldier had attempted to murder a peace activist over the holidays in order to “make a statement”? The Times would be holding front-page vigil, and Katie Couric’s brow would be furrowed for a week. The yakkity yaks on The View would be clucking their tongues about the culture of violence bred by the military — and who knows what Rosie O’Donnell would be dressing her poor child in to exploit the story on her website.

Funny how the Root Causes crowd becomes so incurious about the root causes of crime when the suspects are anti-military nutballs and antiwar protesters. To the extent leftists pay any attention at all to this attempted murder, you can expect it to be downplayed as an isolated incident.

Never mind the pro-fragging comments made by troop-bashing academic fraudsters like Ward Churchill; the iconic banners that proclaim “We support our troops when they shoot their own officers” and “Don’t impeach Bush . . . execute him”; the countless acts of vandalism against military recruitment offices nationwide since 9/11; and the burning of soldiers in effigy by hate-filled peaceniks.

The next day, Glenn Beck said the following on his CNN Headline News program:

There`s a devastating story involving a 22-year-old senior airman with the 6th Airlift Squadron by the name of Jonathan Schrieken. On July 4th, he had gone outside of his house. He was shot in cold blood by Matthew Marren in the chest. Marren then turned the gun on himself and saved the taxpayers, quite frankly, a lot of money. His suicide notes reportedly said that he was angry at the government, and he desired to make a statement on the Fourth of July.

Well, an anti-government maniac makes a statement that almost kills a military man on the most patriotic day of the year and you haven`t heard the story? How is it even possible? Outside of some local media and Michelle Malkin, who wrote it in her column, the story has almost been invisible. Let me ask you this question: Would that have been the case if a crazed soldier had killed a peace activist to make a statement? I doubt it. We`d still be talking about it today.

Yes, Glenn, we would. Yet, it appears that of all the reporters in the major media, only you and Michelle thought Airman Schrieken deserved the courtesy of having his story told.

How utterly graceful.

For those interested, AT’s Patrick Poole included the following update to his post:
Readers wishing to send Airman Schieken a get-well card and thank him for his service to our country can reach him at:

Jonathan SchriekenRoom 720 by the door
Cooper University Hospital
1 Cooper Plaza
Camden NJ 08103

Godspeed, Airman.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Media and the Democrats are Lying When They Say the Surge Has Failed

Whether or not Joseph Goebbels actually was the one who said that if people hear a lie often enough it would be widely accepted as truth, I think the principle of the idea is plain enough. And the bigger the lie, the more often it has to be repeated.

When coming up against a big-lie strategy subtlety and a careful amassing of evidence really don’t work. The big lie has to be faced head on, and directly contradicted.


Harry Reid is lying when he says there’s “simply no evidence that the escalation is working.” There is, and he knows it.

Jack Murtha was lying when he said, before the surge had even fully begun, that “surge is not producing the results that were promised.” Not only was it foolish to say such a thing before the surge had even started, but no one believed a word of anything this sorry crook had to say, including himself.

Matt Lauer and Andrea Mitchell are lying when they say “that Iraqi government officials have failed to meet any of the key benchmarks that were put in place as part of that surge,” and “if there were any doubt about the surge it ended with the continuing death toll from Iraq.”

The mainstream press in general is consistent in misrepresenting to viewers and readers that “Not one of goals set for Iraq to be met.” This is a lie, as 8 out of 18 have been met, and two have mixed results.

And the reason they are lying is because any evidence of progress in Iraq threatens the fundamental big lie about the Iraq war, namely that It Can Never Be Won No Matter What, So We May As Well Just Give Up And Pull Out. When evidence of progress surfaces, it's hard to argue away, because there isn't supposed to be any in the first place. So instead it has to be denied flat out.

These people aren't telling the truth. And Americans depending on the media or the Democratic politicans in Congress for information are not being given the truth, just like they haven’t been truthfully informed about so many other things: (the 8 US Attorneys, the reasons we invaded Iraq, Katrina, the 2000 election, Scooter Libby, and so on and on and on).

But I find there is good news out there about the success of the surge in Iraq , if I'm just willing to work to get hold of it.

One way to hear some good news is by listening to Maj. General Rick Lynch, Commander of the Third Infantry Division in Iraq, who was interviewed this morning on Bill Bennett’s show (hurry before the interview gets archived and won't be available for free).

Lynch says it is "totally accurate to say we have the enemy on the run " in Iraq. He also says local populations are rising up across Iraq to join the coalition, fed up with Al Qaeda. Lynch also says his soldiers are re-enlisting in droves, and tell him all the time, “We’re glad we’re here.”

Another great source is former acting Army chief of staff General Jack Keane. On July 9 he gave a genuinely outstanding, in-depth assessment of the surge at an AEI panel. Audio available here.

Then there is Omar, who blogs from Baghdad at “Iraq the Model,” describing how:

“Iraqis are awakening, one very telling example can be seen in the ongoing operation in Diyala; members of the 1920 revolution brigades, once bitter enemies of the US military and Iraqi government are now assisting US and Iraqi military in fighting al-Qaeda even though the majority of the Iraqi soldiers and officers are Shia.

“If the change in exclusively Sunni Anbar is good then the change in Diyala is good beyond words.”

Then there is Kimberly Kagan’s report, (“Moving Forward in Iraq”), in which she says that

“Violence in Baghdad and Anbar Province is down dramatically, grassroots political movements have begun in the Sunni Arab community, and American and Iraqi forces are clearing al Qaeda fighters and Shiite militias out of long-established bases around the country.

“This is remarkable because the military operation that is making these changes possible only began in full strength on June 15. To say that the surge is failing is absurd. Instead Congress should be asking this question: Can the current progress continue?”

Then there are more direct sources, like US Central Command's website, or blogs that specialize in collecting “Good News from Iraq: News the MSM Won’t Show You.”

I've never been much of one for making converts. Our purpose here at DU isn't to change anybody's mind. Besides, I’m afraid at this point that Americans aren’t changing their minds on these things any more. We’re either supporting the war in Iraq, and the larger war against jihad, or we aren’t. If you didn't care about facts to start with, you aren't going to start liking them better now.

Just as long as you know you aren't getting facts from the media and the Democrats in Congress.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ralph Peters on 'The "Quit Iraq" Caucus'

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters gives this timely view in the New York Post of the latest Congressional effort to end the war in Iraq the hard way: by deliberately losing it.


July 11, 2007 --

EVEN as our troops make serious progress against al-Qaeda-in-Iraq and other extremists, Congress - including Republican members - is sending the terrorists a message: "Don't lose heart, we'll save you!"

Iraq's a mess. Got it. The Bush administration has made so many mistakes I stopped counting a year ago. But we've finally got a general in Baghdad - Dave Petraeus - who's doing things right. Iraqi politicians are still disgracing themselves, but our troops are killing America's enemies - with the help of our former enemies.

Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq is suffering a humiliating defeat, as fellow Sunni Muslims turn against the fanatics and help them find the martyrdom they advertise. Yet for purely political reasons - next year's elections - cowards on Capitol Hill are spurning the courage of our troops on the ground.

The frantic political gamesmanship in Congress would nauseate a ghoul. Pols desperate for any cover and concealment they can get have dragged the Iraq Study Group plan from the grave.
Masterminded by former Secretary of State Jim "Have Your Hugged Your Saudi Prince Today?" Baker, the report is a blueprint for a return to yesteryear's dictator-smooching policy (which helped create al Qaeda - thanks, Jimbo!).

That Baker report reminds me of cheap horror films where the zombies just keep coming back - except that zombies retain a measure of integrity.

But if Republicans are rushing to desert our troops and spit on the graves of heroes, the Democratic Party at least has been consistent - they've supported our enemies from the start, undercutting our troops and refusing to explain in detail what happens if we flee Iraq.
So I'll tell you what happens: massacres. And while I have nothing against Shia militiamen and Sunni insurgents killing each other 24/7, the overwhelming number of victims will be innocent women, children and the elderly.

Bosnia? That was just rough-necking at recess compared to what Islamist fanatics and ethnic beasts will do. Given that Senate Majority Misleader Harry Reid and Commissar of the House Nancy Pelosi won't tell us what they foresee after we quit, let me lay it out:

* After suffering a strategic defeat, al-Qaeda-in-Iraq comes back from the dead (those zombies again . . .) and gets to declare a strategic victory over the Great Satan.

* Iran establishes hegemony over Iraq's southern oil fields and menaces the other Persian Gulf producers. (Sorry, Comrade Gore, even that Toyota Prius needs some gasoline . . . )

* Our troops will have died in vain. Of course, that doesn't really matter to much of anyone in Washington, Democrat or Republican. So we'll just write off those young Americans stupid enough to join the military when they could've ducked out the way most members of Congress did.

* A slaughter of the innocents - so many dead, the bodies will never be counted.

But I hope somebody tries to count the dead after our Congress kills them. As for those on the left who sanctimoniously set out rows of shabby combat boots to "teach" the rest of us the cost of war, I fully expect them to put out displays of women's slippers and children's shoes to show the world how many innocents died when they "brought our troops home now." (Note to the demonstrators - better start bulk-ordering those slippers and booties now.)

I hate the long-mismanaged mess in Iraq. I wish there were a sensible, decent way to get out that wouldn't undercut our security and produce massive innocent casualties. But there isn't. Not now. And, like it or not, we have a moral responsibility as well as practical interests in refusing to surrender to the butchers in Iraq.

This has been the Bush-Cheney War. But it will only be fair to call the carnage after we run away the "Reid-Pelosi Massacres."

Ralph Peters' new book, "Wars of Blood and Faith," goes on sale next week.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Press & Guide, ADC Merger in the Works

Hello, Dearborn.

Your hometown newspaper, the Dearborn Press & Guide, is continuing its policy of publishing as “news” stories unedited articles written by Muslim advocacy organizations, such as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

One such story, “DHS incident management team discusses UK terror incidents,” ran in Sunday’s online edition of the Press & Guide. Go to the ADC website and you'll see it is all but identical to the “ADC News” piece posted over there.

The article discusses a July 1 conference call between the ADC and the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Treasury, and Health and Human Services officials, initiated in response to the London and Glasgow bombing attempts of just 2 days earlier. The article says that ADC is an active member of the DHS’s “Incident Management Team,” created after 9/11 to develop “best practices that will combat extremism and radicalization while protecting civil rights and civil liberties.”

But the purpose of the call was not to offer community assistance to DHS in combating extremism and Islamic radiclaization here in the US. Instead, the ADC wanted to mau-mau the feds and the press into self-censoring the blazingly obvious fact that the failed UK suicide attacks were perpetrated by Muslim extremists engaging in a religiously motivated act of jihad. According to the piece:

“ADC emphasized the need for continued dialog and cooperation with law enforcement and other government agencies in order to combat negative misconceptions and the stereotyping of entire communities based on the actions of a few individuals.”

The ADC also “issued a reminder to members of the media to be mindful of using terminology that would associate these terrorist incidents with any specific religion as a whole or any particular ethnic or racial communities. Rather, as the officials clearly indicated, these are the deplorable actions of extremist individuals.”

You can see for yourself the Press & Guide didn't need any reminder. They've been on board for ever so long.

And tragically, the feds at least say they're willing to go along with denying that black is black. “The federal officials assured ADC and the other organizations that there is no evidence suggesting the terrorist incidents in the UK have any relation to the United States. The officials also stated that these incidents are not and should not be reflective of any specific religion or communities and should not be taken as such by members of the media or the general population.”

The UK’s willingness to deny that Muslim religious extremism, violence, and plots in that country were associated with Islam helped create the very environment that incubated the London and Glasgow bombers, and hundreds, if not thousands more, like them. This will not be the last such attack against Britain.

The ADC is clearly pressing for the same insane policy here. Obviously, the purpose of the Incident Management Team is not to be a "bridge" between the Arab American community and DHS to more effectively head off jihadist attacks in America. Its only mission is to enforce against US media and law enforcement the same policies of censorship and denial of connections between terrorist activity and Islam that have once again proved so disastrous in the UK.

Nowhere does this article describe even one example of practical cooperation the ADC plans to offer the government in actually combating radical Muslim extremism in the American Arab community.

Rather, even while the debris from the UK plots is still being swept up--and the FBI itself has reported that “two of the people detained for the bungled car bombings had sought work in the United States,” (“U.K. readies charges against bomb suspect’)--the "Incident Management Team" is reviewing with the Muslim community a laundry list of social service initiatives and promises not to imperil “civil liberties.” The bullet points include proposed conferences with “community leaders to understand the thoughts and hopes of young people from these communities,” and describe extorted pledges from the feds to “continue to be active in prosecuting hate crimes, acts of employment discrimination, and upholding the free exercise of religion by all communities.”

I remind local Dearborn readers that actionable cases of local hate crimes against Muslims are almost non-existent, (and usually involve nothing more menacing than graffiti or vandalism), and instances of denials of free exercise of religion to Muslims pending in local courts are still stuck at 0. The myth of anti-Muslim hate crimes is one of the most often referenced, and seldom concretized, social problems faced in the metro area.

The problem we're all facing is not that mosques are being shut down by government officials. It's that radical Muslims are being nurtured, funded, and sent out from within Muslim communities to do harm, and the larger community is not allowed to talk about it out loud.

So how has an attempt at mass murder by Muslims against women and kids in the UK turned into a Department of Homeland Security initiative to accept blame for phantom civil rights violations against American Arabs?

Are dirty looks at veiled women the only kinds of incidents the DHS "Incident Management Team" was created to fight?

Wasn't the DHS's mission to protect all Americans from terrorism?

And Dearborn, aren't you just so proud of your hometown newspaper?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Color of Language

The NAACP is having their convention in Detroit right now, and on Monday they’re planning to hold a funeral for the N-word. (“NAACP convention: Can 'N-word' funeral bury hatred?”)

For those of who you aren’t sure what the N-word denotes nowadays, (and why would you, as the F-word went from meaning a profanity to now meaning,“fag”?), the N-word still rhymes with “wigger”.

And speaking of rhymes, the point of this interment is to symbolically urge hip-hop artists to stop using the word. One of the article's quoted experts explains that "the word's usage is down considerably among whites, [but] it's 'as out of control as it has ever been' among African-Americans."

Targeting other African Americans is a significant departure for the NAACP, which the last few years has focused most of its attention on blaming everything on white racism. That, and maintaining their working relationship with Louis Farrakhan, to whom NAACP officals publicly gave an enthusiastic ovation in 2005 when he explained "that New Orleans levees were intentionally blown up after Hurricane Katrina in order to flood the section of the city housing poor blacks."

Back to the N-word funeral. According to the Detroit News, "culture watchers and members of the hip-hop generation are doubtful the ceremony will have any effect at all.” But I’m not so sure.

The last time the NAACP buried a racial term it went away forever, at least from the lips of white Americans. I’m referring to the expression “colored people,” which is resting peacefully inside the acronym of the organization itself. At one time, the official name was used interchangeably with the acronym, and people used to proudly refer to the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” Now all news outlets exclusively use "NAACP." Partly it's to save precious space in newspapers. But really it's from unadulterated terror of violating PC guidelines.

In fairness, the full name still appears on the NAACP website.

(By contrast, the term “abortion” has been terminated by the former "National Abortion Rights Action League,” which has re-named itself NARAL Pro-Choice America, and pretends it was always called that on its website, carefully avoiding mention of the hallowed procedure it is dedicated to preserving. As everyone knows, "choice" and "abortion" are perfect synonyms, which is why waitresses are always saying, "With the pasta you get your choice of soup, salad, or an abortion!").

Back to the N-word funeral. I only mention all this about the NAACP because I find it odd that, next to only the N-word, nothing can get white people in racial hot water faster than referring to African-Americans as “colored people.”

I’ve always thought this strange, because while the N-word has always been an epithet intended to hurt and insult, the phrase “colored people” is at best a euphemism, and was intended to be polite.

Just as strange, during the 1980s the racial authorities dictated that the phrases “people of color” or “person of color” were more correct even than calling someone an African-American. That's hardly much of a distinction from “colored people.” (Nor has DU been able to confirm rumors the organization is planning to change its name to the "NAAPC").

And on that point, though I never liked the comic strip Bloom County, I do find this one exchange from that strip circa 1988 illustrates where I'm coming from:

Mom: That's the most adorable little colored girl playing outside.

Steve: "Colored"? You're saying "colored people" in 1988? You know better, Ma.

Mom: Then why the "National Association for Colored People? I don't think Negroes mind at all.

Steve: Don't say "Negroes," Ma! You can't say "Negroes"!

Mom: Can I say "United Negro College Fund"?

Steve: You are baiting me, Ma!

Dad: That's it. We're leaving.

Mom: Stay put, Reginald. "Mister Socially Sensitive" isn't finished shaming his parents into enlightenment.

Steve: Everybody just calm down. Let's agree to use the New-Age term "People of Color."

Mom: People of Color.

Steve: People of Color.

Mom: Colored people.

Steve: NO!!

Dad: We're leaving.

People of the Book, Beware

"The fact remains that not a single Christian or Jew lives in peace in the Muslim world, and if it is truly our nation's foreign policy to spread democracy around the world, this issue is the perfect topic for us to press. Back at home, raising Islam's global war on Christianity should be the immediate response to the seemingly endless media grievance machine of radical Islam's Western apologists. Until they begin to address the new Holocaust perpetrated in the name of Islam, their complaints and denials are nothing but bald hypocrisy."

The above is an excerpt from Patrick Poole's, of American Thinker, chilling but thorough glimpse of the targeting of Christians in Muslim-controlled parts of the world.

Islam's Global War against Christianity

By Patrick Poole

From Nigeria to Indonesia, Christians are under siege in virtually every single country in the Muslim world, the victims of countless acts of discrimination, depredation, brutality, and murder that are so widespread and systematic that it can rightfully be called the new Holocaust. This time, however, the perpetrators of this Holocaust aren't wearing swastikas, but kufi skull caps and hijabs.

Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are subject to relentless attack and teeter on the brink of extinction at the hands of the "Religion of Peace": Palestinian Christians in Gaza and the West Bank; Assyrian, Syriac and Chaldean Christians in Iraq; Coptic Christians in Egypt; Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea; Armenian Orthodox Christians in Turkey; and Maronite Christians in Lebanon.

Several of these communities date back to the beginning decades of Christianity and all have weathered wave after wave of Islamic persecution for centuries and more, but in the very near future some will simply cease to exist. In our lifetime, the only trace of their past existence will be in footnotes in history books (and probably only Western history books at that).

Meanwhile, we in the West hear much from radical Islam's apologists how the US is engaged in a war against Islam citing of our military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are lectured on the inviolability of the Muslim ummah and justifications of defensive jihad.

But an extensive search this past weekend of the websites of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Student Association, the Fiqh Council of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee - the most visible institutional representatives of Islam in America - found not a single mention or reference of the religious persecution of Christians by their Islamic co-religionists, thereby making them tacit co-conspirators in the Final Solution to the Christian problem in the Muslim world.

The global war on Christianity by Islam is so massive in size and scope that it is virtually impossible to describe without trivializing it. Inspired by Muslim Brotherhood ideology and fueled by billions of Wahhabi petrodollars, the religious cleansing of Christians from the Muslim world is continuing at a break-neck pace, as the following recent examples demonstrate.

Iraq: In the current issue of the American Spectator, Doug Bandow
observes that centuries of dhimmitude have left Christians in the war-torn country without any means of self-defense. Washington policymakers have refused to lend assistance for fear of showing partiality, despite the murder of hundreds of Iraqi Christians, the kidnapping and torture of Christian clerics, the repeated bombings of Christian churches, the torching of Christian businesses, and the flight of close to half of the entire Iraqi Christian population since April 2003. Those who remain have been subject to the imposition of shari'a by the Shi'ite Mahdi Army and Sunni militias (al-Qaeda doesn't bother with such niceties, preferring to murder them immediately instead), including the recent published threat in Mosul of killing one member of every Christian family in that city for Christian women not wearing the hijab and continuing to attend school. (Be sure to remember that the next time an Islamist apologist claims that the hijab is a symbol of women's liberation.)

Egypt: Journalist Magdi Khalil chronicles in a new report ("Another Black Friday for the Coptic Christians of Egypt") the campaign of violence directed against Christian Copts almost weekly immediately following Friday afternoon Muslim prayers. Inspired by Islamist imams preaching religious hatred in mosques all over the country and protected by government officials willing to look the other way, rampaging mobs of Muslims set upon Christians churches, businesses and individuals, from Alexandria to cities all the way up the Nile. Coptic holy days are also favorite times for Muslim violence, which the Egyptian media likes to describe as "sectarian strife" - as if it were actually a two-sided affair.

Please read the rest of this gripping article here.