Saturday, October 25, 2008
For instance, Diana West has just written about how Obama’s campaign was meeting with some Islamic bad guys in “hotly contest Virginia”:
Earlier this month, several news organizations reported that Minha Husaini, the Obama campaign director of Muslim outreach, participated in a non-advertised September meeting in hotly contested Virginia with about 30 Muslim leaders. Among them were Nihad Awad of CAIR and Mahdi Bray of MAS -- both leaders of groups the government has designated as unindicted co-conspirators and Muslim Brotherhood affiliates. Also present was Johari Abdul Malik, the imam of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque, aka "the 9/11 mosque" because two of the 9/11 hijackers worshipped there. (So did Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, an Al Qaeda member now serving a 30-year sentence for plotting to assassinate President Bush, and also Hamas chieftain and UASR founder Mousa abu Marzook.)
Another person attending the meeting was Mazen Asbahi, the former Obama director of Muslim outreach who quickly resigned in early August after news broke about his ties to unindicted co-conspirators. This was not his first post-resignation campaign-related event. At a luncheon during the Democratic National Convention, Investor's Business Daily reported Asbahi as saying that his resignation was a "strategic decision," and "that he was participating in campaign conference calls on Muslim outreach."
The Obama campaign has pleaded ignorance concerning the September meeting, with campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt telling NBC News producer Jim Popkin that campaign staffers, including Husaini, wouldn't have "attended if they were aware of the complete list of attendees." The campaign had no comment on Asbahi's presence, and, oddly, wouldn't allow reporters speak with Muslim outreach director Husaini.
What are voters to make of this? Did Obama campaign staffers abandon the event on learning who was there? The meeting went on as scheduled. Did the campaign later denounce these controversial, to say the least, groups in media statements? Apparently not. One unidentified meeting participant told Popkin that "some in the Obama group knew ahead of time that top CAIR officials would be in attendance," adding: "There was some hope it wouldn't get out" into the media. (“Look Who's Endorsing O Now”).
There’s been a lot of that, hasn’t there, from the Obama campaign? I mean, a lot of Obama and his folks hoping things won’t get out into the media. Considering the cooperative spirit of the media when it comes to Obama, I’m sure that’s a hope we can believe in.
We mentioned last month how Obama likes to keep his meetings with Muslim leaders on the QT as much as possible. (“Bridge to Muslims, or Bridge Club Meeting?”):
Obama sent a couple of his staffers to Southfield, to meet with Arab Americans “to shore up support from a pivotal community in a key swing state.”
But he didn’t show up himself. Never does. Obama so far hasn’t shown up to meet with a group of Michigan’s Arabs yet in person. Last year, he sent only an adviser to a conference in Dearborn of the Arab American Institute. ("The Arab American Institute's Hezbollah Shish Kebabs").
Then, when Obama addressed 20,000 supporters at Joe Louis this June, he pointedly failed to meet with local Muslims leaders. ("Obama addresses diverse Detroit crowd").
He did meet with Hezbollah-supporter Imam Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, but he did so secretly, miles outside of Dearborn, and well under the radar, which was easy because local media kept radar turned off anyway.
What I take from this is that Obama is running an extremely deceptive campaign. He doesn’t want the American electorate to know who his friends are, who his political cronies are, who his ideological associates are, or what the real kernel of his governing philosophy is going to be.
While on the Republican side of things lots of commentators have been crying out for McCain to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin, or even that McCain be McCain, on the other side it’s taking an army of thousands to ensure that, whatever happens, Barack is never caught in the open just being Barack.
God forbid that the FBI would ever want to be guilty of “labeling" anything as it relates to a manhunt or a criminal investigation.
That's how they explain their genuflection to their Muslim BRIDGES partners.
The FBI removed the term “honor killing” from the WANTED poster for double-murder suspect and fugitve Yasser Abdel Said, who murdered both his daughters, Sarah Said, 17, and Amina Said, 18, “because they had disgraced the family by dating non-Muslims and acting too 'Western.'” (“FBI Removes 'Honor Killing' From Murder Suspect's 'Wanted' Poster"):
The FBI removed all mention of the controversial term “honor killing” from the wanted poster of a double-murder suspect after FOXNews.com ran a story announcing the use of the term.
Yasser Abdel Said, wanted for the murder of his two daughters, has eluded authorities for almost a year. The bodies of the young women — Sarah Said, 17, and Amina Said, 18 — were discovered in the back of a taxicab in Irving, Texas, on New Year's Day.
According to family members, Said felt he was compelled to kill his daughters because they had disgraced the family by dating non-Muslims and acting too "Western.”
The girls’ great aunt, Gail Gartrell, has always called the case an “honor killing.” And for a few days — until last Friday — the FBI publicly agreed.
“The 17- and 18-year-old girls were dating American boys, which was contrary to their father's rules of not dating non-Muslim boys,” The FBI "wanted" poster read early last week.
“Reportedly, the girls were murdered due to an 'Honor Killing.'”
• Click here to see the "Honor Killing" wanted poster the FBI took down.
Some Muslims have objected to the term "honor killing" because they say it attaches a religious motive to a crime, which could lead to discrimination against Muslims.
The FBI said Tuesday that it had deleted the term because the FBI never meant to attach a label to the case. Special agent Mark White, media coordinator in the bureau's Dallas office, told FOXNews.com that the FBI changed the wording “because the statement was not meant to indicate that the FBI was ‘labeling’ anything.
"The person who wrote it up did not see the misunderstanding that [the original wording] would create,” White said.
• Click here to see the FBI's new poster.
White added that the FBI should not be in the business of calling cases anything that is not described in law.
The ugliest thing about this is that the FBI's decision to politically correct their WANTED poster wasn't even in reaction to the usual pressure tactics from CAIR and their other BRIDGES buddies. The FoxNews report says that CAIR hadn't said anything to the feds about the poster, but the feds "made the change on their own initiative after seeing media reports about their poster."
That's when they've got you, you know. Not when they're breathing down your neck to influence your next move, but when they're nowhere around (except in your head), and you plan your next move based on what you think will make them happy.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs covered the Islamist Day Parade in New York last Sunday (“ISLAMISTS DAY PARADE GETS UGLY”):
UPDATE: 10/14/08 In a conversation yesterday with Lars Hedegaard of the Free Press Society in Denmark, he made a very sagacious point. When Muslims lie down on Madison Avenue, it is not an act of prayer, it is an act of territorial control.
Notice how they line up - a line of soldiers, like a file. Rank and file. It's like an Army lined up for battle. That's what it is.
When they "paraded" down Madison Avenue, they are alternate yelling Allahu Akbar (Allah is great!) and Takbir! (expansion!) . . . .
Also, it's noteworthy the policemen in uniform dropped to their knees and prayed on Madison Avenue while on duty (see pics). They removed their hats and shoes to pray. Now look, on their own time they can do what they want. But that is unacceptable. I am sure that shiz would not fly if it were a Christian, Jew, Jehovah, wiccan, pagan ...... bottom line seperation of church and state.
It is disturbing to think that the thin blue line is being erased and we only need to look across the pond to see the dark future.
According to Detroit News Islamic Affairs Correspondent Gregg Krupa,
Arab-American and Muslim leaders complained to federal law enforcement officials Thursday that members of their community are being detained without cause amid a crackdown on immigration violations that began late last month.During the monthly meeting of Building Respect in Diverse Groups to Enhance Sensitivity (BRIDGES), which was formed by community leaders and law enforcement in 2003 to build cooperation and air grievances, the leaders said people who normally remain free on bond, or because of court-issued stays, have been detained in county jails. Others were arrested with no apparent cause, they said. ("Arab leaders say people wrongfully held").
It's now being reported that, thanks to the influence of Imad Hamad and other BRIDGES enforcers, immigration officials have actually lowered the number of illegal aliens being deported from the Arab community--and ICE officials are proud of it:
Officials of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said a smaller percentage of men of Arab descent and Muslims are being deported than in past years.
"Members of the Arab community represent a very small percentage of our detained population, currently only 5 percent," said Khaalid Walls, a public affairs officer for ICE in Detroit. "In 2007, only 6 percent of our removals were from the Arab community and now in 2008 that percentage is 2 percent."
There. Who says affirmative action doesn't work?
Not that BRIDGES leaders are satisfied, as they're continuing to complain that too many illegal aliens are being detained, as they say, for no reason. Which sort of bypasses the glaring point that illegal immigrants being detained for being here illegally is, ipso facto, a reason for detaining someone.
I don't know how Krupa's article ever passed anyone's smell test. This pathetic example of government abuse was as good as it got:
"My stepdad landed from Lebanon today and they took him from the airport to a hospital room, and they are holding him and not letting us see him," said Mohamed Elkadri of Canton. His stepfather, Mahmoud Hammoud of Dearborn was held Thursday at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Wayne. "He needs his medication."
I'll admit Oakwood doesn't have the best reputation. But I hardly see how being transported directly from the airport to the hospital is proof of government neglect of a detainee's health.
Naturally, and of no surprise, Krupa's article contains not a single word why Elkadri's stepfather might have been detained at the airport after arriving from Lebanon. (No visa, maybe? Unlawful documents? Or just lurking ICE officials who spotted him and said, "Hey, Roy, look at that sick guy coming off Air Arabia Flight 910 from Beirut. He look Arab to you? Let's get him!")
No matter. He's here now, so the ICE quota system gives him a 98% chance of being able to remain here as long as he wants.
Now the kerfuffle has become local, thought not losing its kerfuffle scale. According to Detroit News Islamic Affairs Correspondent Gregg Krupa, the DVD, "mailed to tens of thousands of households in Macomb and Oakland counties and distributed as advertising in local newspapers is being decried as bigotry by some Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, who say it portrays radical Islam as a demonic force bent on world domination." ("Interfaith leaders call 'Obsession' DVD hateful").
Disclaimer: I haven’t managed to see this documentary, and I didn’t get the insert, because we get the Detroit News at our house. As seen in the article, both the Detroit News and Free Press decided not to distribute this piece of advertising for unstated reasons. (I’ll state them. They're afraid of being mau-maued by Dawud Walid, CAIR, and the ADC--probably with unannounced drop-in visits right before lunchtime). But I know the documentary was shown on both CNN and Fox News Channel in prime time, and I have no reason to doubt that the documentary is an informative and accurate piece of work. And my opinion includes Krupa's article, which nowhere calls into question the factual accuracy of "Obsession." [TR].
One Dearborn doctor complains about the documentary this way:
"What the movie is doing is trying to label all Muslims as supporting terrorists," said Mir Asghar of Dearborn, a doctor and a Muslim. "There is a small group of extremists, like al-Qaida and the Taliban, and we are 100 percent against them and behind all efforts against them. But we are 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide and we are a voice of moderation."
And the "interfaith" angle of the opposition sounds something like this:
Robert Bruttell, an adjunct professor of religion at the University of Detroit and a member of Interfaith Scholars, which is part of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion, said, "The movie is appalling, a piece of the most blatant sort of pernicious propaganda. We have formed a task force to see what we can do to countervail against it."
Cool! A task force!
Task Force Agenda:
Idea Number One: Employ censorship tactics to countervail against Islamo-critical information.
Idea Number Two: Create a countervailing documentary, (e.g., "Islam Means 'Peace'"), richly illustrated with example after example of the numerous, unequivocal, public, denunications of Islamist terrorism by Islamic political, religious, and cultural leaders, and examples of the uniform condemnation of violent Islamist attacks from within the greater Muslim community across the globe. . . .what's that? We don't? There aren't? We can't??
OK. Then as I was saying, returning to Idea Number One. . . .
Among the "distortions" the documentary is alleged to be spreading is that "[t]he sacred Islamic principle of jihad -- a personal or community struggle against evil -- is misidentified as a commandment to Muslims to make war against the United States and Europe."
But the most interesting bit to me is this:
The Council on American Islamic Relations has asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether the nonprofit group that distributed it is a "front" for pro-Israel groups aiming to affect the presidential election. A liberal Jewish organization, Tikun Olam, has asked the Internal Revenue Service to review the tax-free status of the Clarion Fund, questioning whether it is independent and nonpartisan, as required of nonprofits. . . .
. . . Muslims and others point to the targeting of swing states like Michigan, Virginia and Missouri and areas like Macomb and Oakland counties by the Clarion Fund. Those critics say it is an attempt to influence the election by scaring the electorate, so voters are more likely to vote for the candidate they think will best defend national security.
Let’s think about this, because I think this is what's really going on here. The objection to “Obsession” by “Muslims and others” is that it might scare voters into voting “for the candidate they think will best defend national security.” But isn’t it a good thing to select the candidate who will better defend national security? And don’t Obama, and McCain both claim to be the better candidate to defend national security?
What’s really going on here is that the DVD--which mentions neither McCain nor Obama, Democrats nor Republicans--and which was made long before anyone knew who the party nominees would be--really is effective at raising “awareness of the threat of radical jihadism.” And on that issue there really has been a distinctive difference between the two parties on this issue both before and after 9/11, but especially after.
Which leaves this question:
Why do CAIR and the ADC care so much that voters select the president in November with a lower awareness of that threat?
Friday, October 17, 2008
Media flagship The New York Times has committed umpteen Ivy-League trained Masters of Journalism to prowl the records halls of Ohio digging up the dirt on one Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, under serious suspicion that the individual known to police by his alias,“Joe the Plumber,” is in reality an undocumented Republican. ("Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant”):
Thomas Joseph, the business manager of Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, based in Toledo, said Thursday that Mr. Wurzelbacher had never held a plumber’s license, which is required in Toledo and several surrounding municipalities.
He also never completed an apprenticeship and does not belong to the plumber’s union, which has endorsed Mr. Obama. On Thursday, he acknowledged that he does plumbing work even though he does not have a license.
His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes back taxes, too, public records show. The premise of his complaint to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts. Contrary to what Mr. Wurzelbacher asserted and Mr. McCain echoed, neither his personal taxes nor those of the business where he works are likely to rise if Mr. Obama’s tax plan were to go into effect, they said.
Name is Sam not Joe? Makes an honest living as a plumber without union membership?? Owes a small tax debt???
Well, I know I feel betrayed by Joe the Plumber.
They'll probably find out next that he actually likes it when his taxes go up, and wouldn't have minded Obama's tax hike at all.
Now Joe must join the ranks of other famous and outspoken persons who, upon examination, were discovered to be unlicensed posers, such as Abe Lincoln (who practiced law in Illinois without benefit of ABA sanction), and Jesus of Nazareth, (the myth of whose "Jewish carpenter" status has now been debunked by higher critics denying His lack of union sanction).
(I know what you're thinking: Does Obama meet his own high standard? He sure does. He never community organized, and still doesn't, without the express sanction of the official community organizing governing body, ACORN).
If Joe the Plumber's imposture as a legitimate member of the working class doesn't demand prompt investigation by House and Senate committees in the new Democratic Congress, I don't know what will.
Now that's what’s happening already to Joe (the Plumber) Wurzelbacher, who made the mistake of questioning Obama’s tax policies in what’s turned out to be a much more hard-hitting way than John (the Aisle-Reacher) McCain has done so far. The media hates anyone who does a better job campaigining for John McCain than McCain does himself.
So now Joe’s a target. (“Election star "Joe the Plumber" lacks license”).
CINCINNATI (Reuters) - After Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama made him into the most famous plumber in America, it turns out Joe Wurzelbacher isn't a licensed plumber after all. Oh, and his real name is Sam.
The morning after he emerged as the unexpected star of Wednesday evening's U.S. presidential debate, Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, found himself at the center of a media frenzy, with reporters camped out on his front lawn and his phone ringing off the hook.
But it wasn't long before the Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics revealed that Wurzelbacher was not a licensed member of their trade.
Gee, I wonder why it wasn’t long before the union boys chimed in? Maybe as long as it took for reporters to Google the number of the union office just on the off-chance that one of the fat union bosses might have a pre-existing loyalty to the Democratic Party.
As the Reuters reporter helpfully points out,
The plumber's union, like almost all labor groups in America, backs the Democratic Party.
"The real Joe the Plumber supports Barack Obama," Herrera said.
And what makes Herrera so confident about who the “real Joe the Plumber” supports? Maybe in Toledo all gen-u-ine union plumbers are already being safely card-checked?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The liberal media frets over conservative anger, but are blind to a torrent of liberal hate.
By Michelle Malkin
When a few unruly McCain-Palin supporters show their anger at campaign rallies, it’s national news. It’s an epidemic of “Weimar-like rage” and “violent escalation of rhetoric,” according to New York Times columnist Frank Rich. It’s the “re-emergence of the far right as a power in American politics,” according to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. It’s a mass movement of GOP crowds “gripped by insane rage,” according to newly minted Nobel Prize–winner Paul Krugman.
Too bad they don’t give out global awards for the Blindest Eyes in Punditocracy. We’ve just hit a trifecta.
Are a few activists on the right getting out of hand? Probably. Between massive ACORN voter fraud, Bill Ayers’ and Jeremiah Wright’s unrepentant hatred of America, and John McCain’s inability to nail Barack Obama on his longtime alliances with all of the above, conservatives have plenty to shout about these days.
But a couple of random catcallers do not a mob make. And there’s an overflowing abundance of electoral rage on the left that won’t make it onto your newspaper’s front page.
Last month on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a small, brave contingent of McCain supporters marched through the streets with campaign signs. They were met by a menacing horde of New Yorkers who displayed their disapproval with a barrage of jeers and vulgar gestures. (“The number of middle fingers in the ‘progressive crowd’ is directly proportional to the number of Ph.D. degrees in the 10-block radius,” one of the witnesses wryly observed.) A YouTube video of the confrontation now has half a million views. But don’t expect to find it on the nightly news. It doesn’t fit the Angry Right narrative.
Neither does the near-riotous reaction of Obama supporters to a McCain-Palin sign in Democrat-dominated Prince George’s County, Md. Buried in a back local section, the Washington Post reported this week that “pandemonium” broke loose when an unsuspecting businessman erected a “Country First. McCain/Palin.” message on the marquee at his Colony South Hotel & Conference Center.
“Operators of neighborhood e-mail group lists cried foul to their memberships. The NAACP logged calls. Community leaders demanded boycotts of the hotel, a common venue for Democratic events,” the little-noticed article reported. A black professor called the sign “a stink bomb in the middle of the living room” of Obama land. The poor hotel manager, Alan Vahabzadeh, surrendered. “I didn’t even realize it was going to be like this.”
Can’t blame him for missing the fiery hint from Portland, Ore. — where two deranged vandals were arrested after throwing a Molotov cocktail at a McCain yard sign in the middle of the night. Nope, that didn’t make it into the columns of Rich, Dionne or Krugman. Doesn’t fit the Angry Right narrative.
Speaking of “violent escalation of rhetoric” you never hear about:
Obama supporters in Philadelphia sported “Sarah Palin is a [disgusting vulgarism referring to female genitalia]” T-shirts and yelled, “Let’s stone her, old school” over the weekend.
An Internet artist has designated Palin an “M.I.L.P.” — “Mother I’d Like to Punch“ — and published a drawing of a man’s fist knocking a tooth out of the Alaska governor’s mouth and the glasses off her face.
“ABORT Palin” graffiti has sprouted on the sidewalks of Seattle, and “Abort Sarah Palin“ bumper stickers are spreading in Web stores.
Palin-bashing Madonna performs before an audience of thousands, screeching and threatening to “kick her a**.”
Getty Images publishes a photo of a man pointing a fake gun at the head of a cardboard cutout of Palin on display at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition building.
And no one blinks. Not a peep from the Obamedia.
But when Palin simply spotlights Obama’s longtime relationship with Weather Underground terrorist Bill “We Didn’t Do Enough” Ayers?
“Inciting violence,” frets NBC reporter Ron Allen. “Concerned . . . for Sen. Obama’s safety,” agonizes ABC reporter Terry Moran. “Beyond the pale,” cries Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. As if the no-holds-barred Obama campaign has ever had a rhetorical pale to stake.
All the world’s a Kabuki stage for the selectively outraged over rage.
Meanwhile, American writer Jerome Corsi, who's just published a book critical of barack Obama, was forcibly detained last week in Kenya, held incommunicado for many hours, and thrown out of the country under extremely suspicious circumstances. It now appears that Kenyan officials detained Corsi at gunpoint so as to forestall Corsi revealing at a news conference what he’d learned of “Barack Obama's unexplored political connections with a repressive regime.” ("Kenya's Corsi caper").
The revelations are believed to have included facts about now-Prime Minister Odinga.
According to Joseph Farah at WorldNet Daily, (where Corsi is a senior staff reporter), there was no justifiable reason to accuse Coris of violating immigration laws during his visit:
Corsi made no secret of his mission in Kenya. He announced his intentions upon arriving in the country. He disclosed on his customs forms the purpose of his business trip. He met with some of the nation's top officials, sharing with them his objectives. He didn't travel around the country covertly. His every move was watched. Operating in a potentially unsafe environment, he understood there was more safety in the light than in the shadows.
Everything went just fine until it was time to announce his findings at a press conference. That's when Kenyan authorities determined it would be just too much for their prime minister to be implicated in wrongdoing on Kenyan soil.
I'm not sure what their intentions were when they grabbed Corsi on Tuesday. I'm not sure if they expected to release him a few hours later. I'm not even sure if they were thinking that far ahead. The important thing, it seems, was to stop him from holding that press conference.
I can tell you that many thousands of dollars in bribes had to be paid to officials to get them to release Corsi and his traveling partner and publicist, Tim Bueler. What would have happened if that money had not changed hands? We'll never know.
I can also tell you that all of the major media accounts of the critical events leading up to Corsi's release were inaccurate and biased in ways that were astonishing to me as a journalist.
By way of example of this weak reporting, the AP reported Corsi’s detention this way on October 7th:
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The American author of a best-selling book attacking Barack Obama as unfit for the presidency was being deported from Kenya on Tuesday, a criminal investigations official said.
Jerome Corsi, who wrote "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," was picked up by police Tuesday for not having a work permit, said Carlos Maluta, a senior immigration official in charge of investigations.
He was briefly detained at immigration headquarters before being brought to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for deportation, said Joseph Mumira, head of criminal investigations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. (“Kenya deporting US author of anti-Obama book”).
Note how easy the AP goes on such reporting fundamentals as “how” and “why?” It seems enough for the AP to merely point out that Corsi had written a book critical of Obama, and was therefore detained and deported after a criminal investigation. Hey, the crime of criticizing Obama in Kenya speaks for itself, right?
According to Corsi’s own account of it, which he told to Farah by cell phone as soon as he was let go, he was “held without food, stripped of his passport and cell phone and denied the opportunity to make any calls or talk to the press.”
Nor, apparently, was he allowed to talk to anyone from the American Consul. No visit from the Consul or comment by them is mentioned in any of the stories, though Corsi's detention was being reported almost as it was happening, so someone at the consulate had to have had notice of it. I’d like to know where they were in all this?
Nonetheless, it appears that law-enforcement based Barack Obama Truth Squads are active on at least two continents. (So far no detentions reported in Missouri).
Much as I hate to say it, it is looking increasingly possible that Obama is going to be our next President. If Odinga and his thugs are a sample of the kind of friends he’s been promising to make for us around the world, then God save us all.
And what are Obama and Odinga so worried about coming to light?
According to Mark Hyman:
By mid-February 2008, more than 1,500 Kenyans were killed. Many were slain by machete-armed attackers. More than 500,000 were displaced by the religious strife. Villages lay in ruin. Many of the atrocities were perpetrated by Muslims against Christians.
Who is Odinga? He’s a member of “Parliament representing an area in western Kenya, heavily populated by the Luo tribe, and the birthplace of Barack Obama's father.” He represented the Orange Democratic Movement Party in last year’s election against the winner, re-elected President Mwai Kibaki.
According to Hyman:
This was not Mr. Odinga's first brush with notoriety. Like his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the main opposition leader in the 1960s and 1970s, Raila Odinga is a Marxist. He graduated from East Germany's Magdeburg University in 1970 on a scholarship provided by the East German government. He named his oldest son after Fidel Castro.
Raila Odinga was implicated in the bloody coup attempt in 1982 against then-President Daniel Arap Moi, a close ally of the United States. Kenya has been one of the most stable democracies in Africa since the 1960s. The ethnic cleansing earlier this year was the worst violence in Kenya since that 1982 coup attempt.
Mr. Odinga spent eight years in prison. At the time, he denied guilt but later detailed he was a coup leader in his 2006 biography. Statute of limitations precluded further prosecution when the biography appeared.
Someone else backing him was Barack Obama. Dating back to 2004, Obama has had several personal meetings with Odinga here in the U.S. Then in 2006 Obama traveled to Kenya for six days to actively campaign on behalf of Odinga. Not surprising, Obama’s stump speech for Odinga included declarations that “Kenyans are now yearning for change.”
Obama denied that his reason for going to Kenya was to boost Odinga's campaign, "but his actions and local media reports tell otherwise."
Odinga also tried to deceive the public about his strong Muslim backing:
Mr. Odinga had the backing of Kenya's Muslim community heading into the election. For months he denied any ties to Muslim leaders, but fell silent when Sheik Abdullahi Abdi, chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum, appeared on Kenya television displaying a memorandum of understanding signed on Aug. 29, 2007, by Mr. Odinga and the Muslim leader. Mr. Odinga then denied his denials.
The details of the MOU were shocking. In return for Muslim backing, Mr. Odinga promised to impose a number of measures favored by Muslims if he were elected president. Among these were recognition of "Islam as the only true religion," Islamic leaders would have an "oversight role to monitor activities of ALL other religions [emphasis in original]," installation of Shariah courts in every jurisdiction, a ban on Christian preaching, replacement of the police commissioner who "allowed himself to be used by heathens and Zionists," adoption of a women's dress code, and bans on alcohol and pork.
President Kibaki attempted to meet with all opposition leaders in January 2008 in an effort to bring an end to the post-election violence. Odinga refused to attend. Eventually, Odinga’s campaign of violent opposition was rewarded when President Kibaki offered him the Prime Minister office—the No. 2 spot—in his government, in exchange for an end to the attacks. Odinga was sworn in this April 2008.
Continued . . . .
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Martti Ahtisaari's Nobel Peace Prize yesterday won't get European elites buzzing as in past years (See: Gore, Al and Carter, Jimmy). In his diplomatic and political career, the former Finnish President brokered peace on various continents -- yet also recognized clear limits to good intentions. . . .
The Nobel Committee highlighted his midwifing of Namibia's independence and peace in Indonesia's separatist province of Aceh. But Mr. Ahtisaari's failures are as notably instructive.
In the early 1990s, he ran the U.N. mission to Iraq after the first Gulf War, watching Saddam Hussein's repression up close. Twelve years of frustrated diplomacy later, and against the grain of conventional European opinion, Mr. Ahtisaari found himself defending the U.S. invasion, the absence of a nuclear or biological weapons program notwithstanding. "Since I know that about a million people have been killed by the government of Iraq, I do not need much those weapons of mass destruction," he said.
Does that make him as dumb as George W. Bush? Or George W. Bush as smart as this year's Nobel Prize winner?
I'm just asking.
According to the London TimesOnline,
The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.
Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.
This is justified by using the UK’s Arbitration Act, which gives the rulings of arbitration tribunals the power of law, provided both parties in a dispute agree to be bound by the agreement. This is the brainchild of Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the new sharia courts.
But arbitration, which has been around for years, has only ever been used to resolve civil matters, like private lawsuits, business disputes, contract disputes, and the like, and not criminal matters. Arbitration has not been used to resolve criminal issues, because one party is the government, and consequently has the police power to enforce the most fundamental civil rights recognized by the nation.
But the new sharia courts in the UK, naturallement, are the exception.
. . .Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.
It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.
We know from looking at “BRIDGE” programs what Muslims “working with the police” means. It means the police only act with Muslim leaders' permission. And now that the sharia courts have the enforcement power of British law, it means the cops have to enforce sharia decisions. Or, at least until the British get acclimated, at least drop criminal investigations after sharia courts have spoken.
Siddiqi said he expected the courts to handle a greater number of “smaller” criminal cases in coming years as more Muslim clients approach them. “All we are doing is regulating community affairs in these cases,” said Siddiqi, chairman of the governing council of the tribunal.
Domestic violence case are criminal matters. Since they have to do with violence, they can range anywhere from simple assault to murder. How’s that working out so far in the UK?
In the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.
In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.
Siddiqi said that in the domestic violence cases, the advantage was that marriages were saved and couples given a second chance.
Or, abusive husbands are given a second chance, while their wives are pressured by the larger community--or by naked fear-- to drop the matter.
I know, I know: why would any battered wife ever withdraw her domestic complaint against her husband--unless it was a completely free, voluntary decision, free of duress or fear?
But it's not only in criminal matters that the sharia courts are reaching disturbing decisions. They also apply a starkly different standard in civil matters.
There are concerns that women who agree to go to tribunal courts are getting worse deals because Islamic law favours men.
Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons.
The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia. Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts.
In other words, the sharia courts do no apply British laws on inheritance, or provide what we over here call “equal protection under the law,” a principle we got originally from Great Britain. (Not to mention that these sharia rulings are discriminatory based on sex). No government agency, private employer, or any other private contract in the UK could discriminate this way without breaking discrimination laws.
The thing of it is, just because parties agree to arbitration doesn’t mean they get to make up their own laws. Wherever in the West arbitration is used it’s spelled out clearly which jurisdiction's civil laws--whether of the state, province, principality, or nation--will be applied in resolving the dispute. If the civil law forbids usurious interest on a contract, the arbitrator can’t legally award a usurious interest. If the civil law forbids applying an unlawful discriminatory standard, the arbitrator cannot legally apply a discriminatory standard. It's illegal everywhere in the UK.
But once again, Islam has carved out an exception for itself.
The UK sharia courts have already accomplished a true parallel system, official recognition of a separate system of law based on the Koran that does not afford the protections of the British Constitution--nor even respect them. And that is exactly what the Muslim leaders had in mind when they gouged out this chink for Islam.
That parallel system means if you’re a woman and you have the misfortune to be born into a segment of the British Muslim community controlled by such sharia courts, you can’t expect the same civil rights against violence, disinheritance, or any other discrimination that a British nonMuslim woman enjoys.
It also means that one legal system is mortally cracked, like a failing dam, and against it presses a sharia system with the force of an ocean.
Next week is Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week on 75+ college campuses
by David Horowitz
Students on 75 campuses have signed up to host events during our third “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” This is an extraordinary turnout (and there will be more campuses by Monday) in a presidential election year when many student activists are campaigning for campuses. The theme of this fall's protest is "Stop the Jihad on Campus." Our targets are groups such as the Muslim Students Association which brings jihadist speakers to campus and their allies in the fifth column left, which has just produced a "report" attacking those who oppose the terrorist war against America as "Islamophobes." Not surprisingly Robert Spencer and I top the list.
Author and activist David Horowitz will be on campus [Central Michigan University] next week to present a keynote speech entitled "Stop the Jihad on Campus" as part of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
Horowitz will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium. The event is sponsored by Campus Conservatives and will be open to the public.
Bill Clinton was in town Friday to stump for what he calls the “pro-life” position--or at least that misunderstood segment of the pro-life cause that wants to kill embryos to feed the biotech jackpot of embryonic stem-cell research. (“Clinton backs stem cell bill”).
Says Clinton about Proposal 2:
“This is the pro-life position, this is the pro-health position, this is the pro-science position and this is definitely the pro-Michigan position,” Clinton told more than 500 supporters at a fundraiser for MichiganCure, the group backing Proposal 2, which Michigan voters will consider on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The star of the fundraiser was Laura Jackson, 19, who has been paralyzed from the neck down for five years due to a cheerleading accident that broke her neck. She and her family claim “she has seen major improvements after a treatment based on stem cells she received in China.”
Borrowing a page from the Gospel According to John Edwards, Clinton promised the crowd that "Stem cell research will tell us how to give Laura a chance to walk again. And then we'll all be her cheerleaders."
Unfortunately, Ms. Jackson and her family have been claiming the controversial treatment led to improvements since at least December 2004, when her story was reported in The Guardian. ('I Don't Know How It Works'). In December 2004 they reported she could breathe off her ventilator for 15 minutes. A year later, they claimed she could breathe off her ventilator for 30 minutes. She is still confined to her wheelchair, four years after her "treatment."
Regardless, Ms. Jackson is not the beneficiary of embryonic stem cells of the type addressed in Proposal 2. Proposal 2 (for now) is limited to the use of frozen embryos that were not being used for implantation, and were to be discarded anyway. Laura, if she benefited at all, was "treated" with cells taken from the noses of aborted fetuses, fetuses at least 16 weeks along. The inventor of this technique, (which he practices in China almost exclusively on American patients with spinal cord injuries and money), is Dr. Hongyun Huang. As with all magic, he admits he doesn't know how it all works. ('I Don't Know How It Works').
The cells, harvested from the olfactory bulbs inside the noses of foetuses, seem to have unusual properties, which may include the ability to stimulate change in the nervous system. Ideally, says Huang, the foetuses should be 16 weeks old to achieve the best results. He says the mothers all give their consent for the embryos to be used in this way and do not receive payment. The Guardian asked to be shown where they come from, but was told this information was too sensitive.
The Guardian was unable to confirm whether or not the embryos give their consent along with their mothers, although Huang confirmed that the embryos definitely don't receive payment. Nor could the Guardian confirm reports that Huang came up with the idea for the whole thing while playing "got your nose" with his sole non-aborted three-year-old niece.
And I can tell you I'm personally creeped out, and apparently so is the Guardian writer, Jonathon Watts, with the whole Chinese "never-mind-where-we-get-all-the-aborted-fetuses" thing.
But lest anyone think I'm being unduly dismissive of Huang--even anti-science about it--you need to know that
None of [Huang's] claims has been proven to western scientific standards, but Huang's willingness to think the unthinkable in order to cure the incurable is inspiring hope; so much hope that patients are putting aside ethical qualms, paying tens of thousands of dollars and flying to Beijing to act as his guinea pigs.
Complicating the debate is Huang's lack of statistical data and and his refusal to carry out the double-blind trials considered necessary in western circles to rule out the placebo effect. The Chinese neurosurgeon says such tests are unethical because they involve cutting someone open and only pretending to treat them. "This would not be legal in China," he says. "Even if it was, I wouldn't do it. Double-blind trials only harm the patient."
And they say we're anti-science.
Lastly, I should point out that Laura's father, Daryl, whom the Guardian quotes, obviously in error, as saying he doesn't "agree with abortion," is nowhere as staunchly "pro-life" as, say, Bill Clinton.
In 2004 Laura's father said:
"We need 100 more Dr Huangs. And we need more cells. It's a different government over here. They have to trim the population. There are 15 to 20 million abortions in China a year. If everyone who was aborted could save a life, there would be no sick people left in the world."
Other than that, he's personally opposed to abortion. I have no doubt that Daryl Jackson's badly distorted views are the result of the tragedy he has witnessed in his daughter's life. But distorted they are, as even Guardian reporter Jonathon Watts noticed. Watt's can't help commenting on this statement of Daryl's:
"I don't agree with abortion, but it will happen anyway. In the US, we do abortions but don't use the cells. In China, they don't just take life and destroy it - they give something back. It's like lemonade out of lemons. You take something bad and you make it good." Such reasoning requires a moral somersault, but it is one that can be done easily in China. That is enough to generate hope.
Hope of some sort, anyhow. But not, apparently, cures. Laura Jackson appeared at the fundraiser Friday night still paralyzed from the neck down, still in her wheelchair, four years after being Huang's guinea pig.
There is no doubt that Proposal 2 is going to lead to an increased demand for "more cells," more fetuses, more "lemons" to make lemonade, more sources of the magical organs of human beings to feed this ghastly science. There is no doubt that this industry will eventually start demanding both cloning, and then more aborted fetuses, whether for their noses, or some other part of their murdered corpses.
--Mark Steyn, Lecture at Hillsdale College, March 13, 2008.
--The New York Times, October 10, 2008.
Here's a bit of news to think over during the current national crisis over an Alaskan governor firing her Commissioner of Public Safety.
From the October 10, 2008 American Thinker:
Not just good news - really good news from Iraq
One of the reasons for the success of the surge in Baghdad was the construction of blast walls that separated Sunni and Shia neighborhoods. These walls gave a certain level of security to both sides who had been ravaged by sectarian violence for months.
The walls come a tumblin' down. ..
Market by market, square by square, the walls are beginning to come down. The miles of hulking blast walls, ugly but effective, were installed as a central feature of the surge of American troops to stop neighbors from killing one another.
"They protected against car bombs and drive-by attacks," said Adnan, 39, a vegetable seller in the once violent neighborhood of Dora, who argues that the walls now block the markets and the commerce that Baghdad needs to thrive. "Now it is safe."
Slowly, and not without some fear, the Iraqis are beginning the process of taking responsibility for their own internal security:
On Oct. 1, the Sunni-dominated Awakening movement, widely credited with helping restore order to neighborhoods that were among the most deadly, passed from the American to the Iraqi government payroll in Baghdad. There is deep mutual mistrust between the new employer and many of its new employees, many of whom are former insurgents.
Another element of the transition, which has attracted far less notice than the Awakening transfer, is the effort by the Iraqi Army to begin turning over neighborhoods to the paramilitary National Police. In the future, its officers, too, will leave and be replaced by regular police officers.
All three moves mark a transition to an era in which Iraq's Shiite-dominated government seeks more control over its own military and sway over America's.
"The Iraqi security forces are now able to protect Iraq," said Joaidi Nahim Mahmoud Arif, a National Police sergeant in Dora, in southern Baghdad. "They will depend on themselves above all."
It really is just about over. There may be some backsliding as the bitter enders seek to make a statement thinking they can affect the American election. And there is still a very long way to go to build a society where the past is forgotten and forgiven so that Sunnis and Shias can live together in peace.
But it is the Iraqi's problem now. There is very little the American military can do from here on out. They've done quite enough, thank you. They've won the war.
A more accurate re-statement of the Palin report’s conclusions would be to say that Governor Palin acted well within her authority as governor, broke no laws, and the worse thing that could be said is that her efforts as governor to get rid of a state trooper happened to be based in part upon her personal knowledge of Wooten--personal knowledge she had because her sister had been married to him, and because Wooten Tasered her nephew. and had threatened to kill Palin’s father, among other things.
The only nefarious object ever identified in the report was Sarah and Todd’s desire to get Michael Wooten off the Trooper force. That is, they weren’t motivated by kickbacks, political ambition, loyalty by ACORN, a payoff to powerful interest groups, or anti-American instincts, which is to say, the panel didn’t find that Governor and Todd Palin went so far as to behave like Democrats.
After banging on for several paragraphs about what Todd did and Governor Palin “allowed” Todd to do, the most the Times has to say about just what it was about Wooten that had the Palins so concerned was that: “As a result of several complaints against Trooper Wooten, he was suspended from the state police force for five days.”
Doesn't sound so bad. But we can be more specific than that:
• Mike Wooten, 35, has been a trooper since 2001. He has been married and divorced four times. One of his marriages was to Palin's sister, Molly McCann, with whom he had two children. That marriage ended in 2006. His behavior leading up to the divorce led Palin's and McCann's father, Chuck Heath, to file a formal complaint about him to the state police.
• Heath and Sarah Palin, who was not yet governor, said that Wooten had threatened to kill Heath — telling McCann that Heath "would eat a f***ing lead bullet" if he hired a lawyer for her. They also charged that he had used a Taser on his own 11-year-old stepson, had drunk beer in his patrol car and had shot a cow moose without a license (the latter a crime in Alaska, where such licenses are not easy to come by).
• The state police investigated these charges and substantiated all of them. Col. Julia Grimes, then head of the Alaska State Troopers, suspended Wooten for 10 days. . . . (“About That Trooper”).
When Palin became governor, she knew Wooten was still on the force. Apparently, the fact that she knew the bad guy personally meant she was supposed to recuse herself and leave the decision to her insubordinate Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan. Well, she did that, and he didn’t do his job. Which is why they make executives, like Palin, to do what needs doing. Which in this case meant getting rid of the commissioner, Monegan, who was serially insubordinate on other matters, as well. Wooten is still a state trooper. (Doesn't matter. Someone likee Whoopi Goldberg will still accuse Sarah of slamming Wooten into Gitmo).
The damning finding in this 263-page report reads this way:
“I find that, although Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety.”
Not the sole reason. That's it. That's what all the headlines are about.
But by tomorrow morning Democrats will be demanding her resignation and accusing her of "high crimes."
The condensed version of the New York Times story on this in this morning’s Detroit News is a hoot. “Panel: Palin abused authority in firing”.
The article leads off this way: “Gov. Sarah Palin abused the powers of her office by pressuring subordinates to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, an investigation by the Alaska Legislature has concluded.”
But within four paragraphs of this lead, announcing the new “abused her powers” Democrat talking point, the NYT reporter writes this:
The document concludes that Palin both acted upon her public interest in seeking the firing of Wooten and created a conflict of interest by forcing subordinate employees to choose between doing her bidding or not. [Ed. note: So having to do what your boss wants instead of what you want is now a "conflict of interest"? TR].
It says: "Gov. Palin's firing of Commissioner Walt Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads."
It cites the Alaska Constitution, which says "the governor may discharge department heads without cause" and that department heads "serve at the pleasure of the governor."
"In light of this constitutional and statutory authority, it is clear that Gov. Palin could fire Commissioner Walt Monegan at will, for almost any reason, or no reason at all."
Then after these four paragraphs, detailing how far within her rights the Governor actually was in doing what she did, what comes next?
"I feel vindicated," Monegan said.
So Governor Palin did nothing wrong, but Monegan is vindicated? And the report makes clear that Governor Palin could fire Monegan at will, and yet, the reason for this witchhunt was that she fired Monegan?
How do they get away with this stuff?
Here's why. According to the New York Times, “Minutes after the report was released, the Obama campaign sent an Associated Press article in an e-mail message to reporters, with the subject line, “Palin ‘unlawfully abused her authority.’ ” It contained no other comment.”
But the almost universal lead in media stories about "abusing her power" wasn't the only significant finding, nor the only possible lead. For instance, I would have used this one: “Panel finds that Governor Palin’s firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and lawful authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.” That’s not spin. It comes directly from the report.
If you don’t hear anything else except yelling back and forth about this on the slug-out cable shows over the next few days, keep this statement from the report in mind. It is the second sentence in the two-sentence finding that says Palin abused her power:
“In spite of that, Governor Palin’s firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and lawful authority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.” p. 8.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
It seems that sides still cannot reach a compromise, as, for the second time in as many months, Arab-American leaders rejected a letter submitted to them by 19th District Court Judge Richard Wygonik on Sept. 18 addressing alleged offensive remarks he made during a July conversation with Dearborn Heights Councilman Tom Berry.
After meeting with a subcommittee representing the Congress of Arab American Organizations (CAAO) in August, Wygonik and his attorney, Noel Saleh, agreed to draft a statement acknowledging having caused a "misunderstanding" without admitting to having made all of the comments, which were allegedly made during a fundraiser for current Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
A first draft submitted in August was rejected by the CAAO subgroup, which said it didn't include a "straightforward apology," according to American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Regional Director Imad Hamad, and went on at too much length about Wygonik's record of fair treatment in the courtroom — which, Hamad said, was never an issue.
"Unfortunately, we haven't been able to reach an agreement as of yet," Saleh said. "We're trying to find the proper solution, but we're having a hard time with that."
Wygonik and his wife, Adrenne, were at the fundraiser, and thought they were having a private conversation that included Tom Berry. According to the email that Berry sent around later, he describes "the judge's wife Adrenne Wygonik as having said, 'Arab parents don't know how to raise kids, letting them run around, starting trouble everywhere they go.' He said the judge agreed, saying 'Yeah, especially those from Salina and Fordson.'"
Wygonik also defined Talal Chahine as a "crook, Arab terrorist." Wygonik has refused to apologize for this statement, "because he is a criminal and the judge shouldn't have to apologize for that," according to his attorney, Noel Saleh.
Hamad's statement that Wygonik's treatment toward Arab-Americans in the courtroom "was never an issue" was directly contradicted by fellow subcommittee member Kalid Shajrah, who said in August "that a judge whom Arab Americans appear in front of every day may have such hidden biases, is disturbing and needs to be addressed."
In fact, Hamad's latest comments on Wygonik's courtroom demeanor directly contradicts Hamad's own statements in July, when he said this:
"It's not about debating the legal issues of Talal Chahine, it's about the nature of the offensive and very biased remarks about the entire community and being very specific about the two schools," he said.
"We have great concern because it's coming from a court judge. Many of those who appear or practice before him are Arab American. If these allegations are true, what is the plight of the people appearing in his court?"
There's either an issue of Wygonik having a record of bias towards Arab Americans in his court or there's not. Since Hamad's more recent statements backpedal from his earlier one rasing alarms about how Arab Americans are treated in 19th District Court, and Hamad is now now claiming that Wygonik's courtroom treatment is "not an issue," I'm inclined to think Hamad and fellow subcommittee member Osama Siblani were unable to turn up any evidence of bias in Wygonik's courtroom.
So if, as Hamad says, Wygonik's "record of fair treatment in the courtroom. . . was never an issue," then why is Wygonik being persecuted? For expressing his private opinions during what the Press & Guide reported to be "a private conversation"? Even if Wygonik, as a member of the species homo sapiens, has some private prejudices, if he keeps them out of his courtroom, where's the problem?
Hamad refused to discuss the alleged comments by Wygonik with the Press & Guide on Monday, only adding "that the issue was addressed yesterday during a meeting at the Lebanese-American Heritage Club. 'We don't want to open up another discussion because that wouldn't help in the attempt to resolve this issue,' Hamad said. 'We just want to move forward.'"
So now, even what Wygonik actually ever said is no longer the issue.
Then it's not about Chahine, not about any professional wrongdoing by Wygonik on the bench, and it's not about what he may--or may not--have said in a private conversation.
Then what is the issue? And what does it mean to "move forward"?
Taubman is dropping $22 million on his very own Taubman Institute for Medical Research to show his support for stem cell research. He’s invited Bill Clinton to come to a fundraiser at his very own Taubman Air Terminal at Oakland International Airport. (Maybe some day your fertilized eggs will be destroyed for science in his very own Taubman Giant Embryo-Powered Cure-a-Tron).
Berman positively gushes over Taubman:
“He is, always has been, a man with an eye for the way the world is going -- and that eye has made him a billionaire. ‘When I look at a chair,’ he says, nodding at the Josef Hoffman chair in his study, another museum-quality piece, ‘I see not only how to make it different, but better.’"
That’s what makes him an expert at both science and ethics. (Oh, and Taubman says this of his nine months in the big house for price-fixing at Sotheby’s: "a complete waste." At least corrections officials could have given him a plate of embryos so he could cure Crone’s Disease.)
Berman dishes up the usual cogent breakdown of the issues surrounding Proposal 2. On the one hand, scientists and other proven smart people like Taubman see this as a no-brainer. Not only will embryonic stem cell research cure all disease, period, it will be the re-making of Michigan’s struggling economy by creating jobs.
But then how does she explain the other hand? Not by mentioning anywhere that embryonic stem-cell research requires the destruction of living human embryos. She wouldn’t want to draw attention to the grave ethical issue involved in destroying one human being to satisfy some other human being’s “right” to a cure.
The closest she comes is to say the MiCause, the main opposition organization, “is being funded by the Michigan Catholic Conference and Michigan Right-to-Life, both groups who contend that life begins at conception and oppose allowing scientists to develop new stem cell lines.” Oh, my. In this day and age people are still carping on how “life begins at conception”? Where’d they ever come up with that silly notion?
I’m sure most of you parents all remember something like this scene in your own lives:
HUSBAND: Hi, honey, I’m home. How was your day?
WIFE: I went to see Dr. Jones today. He says I’m pregnant. Eight weeks along.
HUSBAND: Really? I have no idea what that means.
WIFE: He says there’s still no scientific consensus on what it means.
WIFE: He says there’s something in there, but science still can’t say what. He says some of the more primitive religions consider it a baby, but, you know….we've never put any stock in that.
HUSBAND: Dang. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. So what’s for dinner?
And as for what Berman calls the opposition to “allowing scientists to develop new stem cell lines,” I’m at least loosely affiliated with both Michigan Catholic Conference and Michigan Right-to-Life, (that is, I’m a Catholic and an RTL supporter), to assure one and all that that’s flatly untrue. We don’t object to new stem cell lines in the least, provided they aren’t created by destroying human embryos. You know, for people who pride themselves on nuance, this should be an easy distinction to make.
Those of us morally opposed to lethal embryonic research are probably more conscious than others about the developments in adult stem cell therapies, see for example
“Adult Stem Cells: 72, Embryonic Stem Cells: 0”;
“Diabetics cured in stem-cell treatment advance”;
“Real-World Successes of Adult Stem Cell Treatment”,
all of which we support without reservation. But the media avoids reporting on these because they contradict their themes of the urgency of harvesting embryos, and the anti-scientific mentality of people who oppose cloning.
Berman also accuses our side of lying about where Prop 2 might lead:
“[P]ublicly, they're attacking the ballot issue by suggesting it will raise taxes (the proposal has no such provision) and open the door to cloning. (Cloning is banned by law in Michigan.)”
True, the proposal doesn’t raise taxes, and cloning is banned--for now. If the ballot proposal did contain a tax hike—here in Jenny Granholm’s and Andy Dillon’s "blown-away" Michigan--it would go down in flames like the Hindenburg--only with hotter flames. Better leave that tax increase for later! And as for there being a ban on cloning in Michigan, state legislators have already been at work for several years to pass bills legalizing cloning, so it’s not as if that ban can't disappear some day.
And because constitutional amendments naturally lead to an altered legal landscape, what’s wrong with pointing out where Prop 2 will lead, especially if it’s based on the experience of other states? For instance, the California amendment prohibits buying and selling human eggs, and now their scientists are demanding a lifting of the prohibition, crying that the shortage of eggs is keeping them from the promised breakthroughs:
"You need to have enough eggs to make this thing work, and when you have enough eggs it does work," said Dr. Sam Wood, chief executive of La Jolla-based Stemagen Corp.
"If these guidelines weren't in place, we'd already have many (stem cell) lines and be much closer to a treatment for devastating illnesses for which these are so well suited," Wood said. (“Scientists: Egg shortage hurts stem cell research”).
So both the taxing situation and the cloning situation could easily change, and Prop 2 makes that more likely, not less.
Not to mention that if Proposal 2 passes, it will be almost impossible to pass legislation thereafter to limit cloning or any other abuse; that’s because Prop 2 contains a provision making it unlawful to pass any laws that in any way hinder any possible benefit that might result from embryonic stem cell research. Maybe the amendment does have that defect, says the pro-Prop 2 Detroit News editorial board helpfully. But if the necessity for regulations ever did arise, “a process is in place to revise the state Constitution.” Wow, as easy as that?
Berman finds absolutely compelling Visionary Taubman's opinion on the necessity of lethal embryonic research:
“He's convinced that he's involved in a historic moment, equivalent to the discovery of antibiotics, one that will cure disease and forever change the way medicine is practiced.
"’Before antibiotics, the doctors could treat you with aspirin, and that was it. Antibiotics changed the world. Now, embryonic stem cell research is going to do the same thing.’ says Taubman.”
Right. Embryonic stem cells. Antibiotics. Same thing. Now that’s nuance.
Here’s a quick quiz. Everyone who’s ever been cured or known someone cured with antibiotics raise your hand. Now, everyone who’s ever been cured or known someone cured, or even seen an actual report or heard of anyone, anywhere, who’s ever been cured of anything as a result of embryonic stem cell therapy, raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?
(Extra credit: on average, how many humans die in the manufacturing of antibiotics?)
As even the New York Times (no champion of embryos to say the least) said only last year, “For all the hopes invested in it over the last decade, embryonic stem cell research has moved slowly, with no cures or major therapeutic discoveries in sight.”
Invested over the last decade. Remember, a decade is so long Obama, Biden, & Pelosi swear that's too long to make drilling our own oil worthwhile. And not only have there been no cures, but none are in sight. That’s even farther off than the sinking of Manhattan from global warming. At least Al Gore can see that.
“But that’s an unfair criticism,” some will object, “because in time we will find those cures. It’s only a matter of more time and money and acquiring and grinding up enough embryos until at last we cure MS, diabetes, or whatever is wrong with our [insert family member’s name here.] And provided we can keep you religious nuts from stopping us! In fact, you call yourself a Christian? Yet how dare you condemn poor [insert family member’s name here] to a lifetime of [insert family member’s worst symptoms here]?!”
A year ago, the reports of scientists discovering a way to turn human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells was being praised as an advance that would moot the ethical controversy over destroying embryos.
Those of us who’ve been following the abortion issue were thrilled at this advance, but knew better than to think it would make the demand for lethal embryonic research drop off. Not a chance. And here’s why. The mad rush for embryonic stem cell research has nothing to do with finding a cure for Michael J. Fox. It's got nothing to do with getting your grandma back from the nursing home to her quaint Craftsman bungalow. The whole purpose is to clear the way for human cloning, and, like abortion, they’re determined to protect cloning from all legal restrictions once it’s here.
Does Taubman know any of this, or care? I doubt it. Does it matter? After all, he's a guy who can look at a chair and make it better. Why couldn't he make Michigan better? Here’s Berman on Taubman's heroic gamble:
“Restless, ambitious, intellectually curious still, Taubman is betting that he can help Michigan understand that this research will create jobs and cure disease. ‘It will cure diabetes, heart disease, ALS,’ he says. ‘I believe in it.’ . . . .
‘I'm betting on it,’ he says, and laughs. ‘It's a big bet.’"
Well, ha, ha, ha. Yes, it’s a big bet. Except the biggest bets are the ones where the odds are longer that you’ll bet wrong. And unlike his business gambles, if Taubman loses he doesn’t just file personal bankruptcy and start over. If he’s wrong, Michigan’s humanity loses. He’s betting for all of us, and the ante is a doorway to a Michigan industry where “scientists” dispatch human lives from 9 to 5.
The last time a civilized nation threw the dice on that, snake eyes came up. It made Dr. Mengele laugh, too.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
According to the AP report on the “outcry” as many as one person cancelled his subscription to The Oregonian in protest, and dozens of people showed up outside the Portland newspaper’s offices in a demonstration that appeared far from spontaneous.
As seen in the photo below, this Pete Seeger fan is holding a pre-printed sign with a Star & Crescent logo. Fair enough. Free speech is the whole point, at least on our side. The Oregonian identifies this gentleman as Wilbur Wood, and quotes him saying, “’I'm glad to see that it looks like a diverse group. That shows that we care about this whether we're Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or none of the above,’ says Wood.”
What gets me is the sign being waved by the man behind Wood, with a similar Star & Crescent logo, declaring, “WE ARE ALL ONE COMMUNITY”.
Ye gods. I have a feeling he’s none of the above, an overwhelming demographic likelihood since Oregon is, as the Baptists used to say, the most “unchurched” state in the Union. But since one of the outspoken organizers of the protest was United Church of Christ minister Rev. Chuck Currie of Faith Voices for the Common Good, a Christian peace&justice™ outfit, I’m wondering why none of the signs show Christian crosses or Stars of David.
Come now. Here in Dearborn, no one would try that in mixed company, because we all, both infidels and Sons of Allah, know better.
(“Local Arab Americans Call for National Unity-- Islamic National Unity”).
Muslims are in the House of Islam, the rest of us infidel sons of apes and pigs are the House of War--fit for nothing but conversion, heavy taxation, or violent death. ('Anatomy of Surrender'). The only "One Community" that matters to Islam is the ummah, the one nation of Allah.
Get a clue Oregon. You could start by actually watching the DVD.