Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Wall Street Journal says that both leaders “were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America’s handling of the announcement” about Iran’s second clandestine nuclear facility. Both France and Britain wanted to make the announcement at the UN a day earlier, when it would have had much greater effect, and been more logical, as the Security Council Obama was chairing was “devoted to nonproliferation.”
Why the wait? While Sarkozy was pushing for the announcement while still at the UN, the “Administration told the French that it didn’t want to ‘spoil the image of success’ for Mr. Obama’s debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde.”
“We thought we'd never see the day when the President of France shows more resolve than America’s Commander in Chief for confronting one of the gravest challenges to global security. But here we are.”
Here we are indeed.
Read the entire article here.
What They're Telling Us [Mark Steyn]
This piece by Lloyd Marcus, a black conservative, is called "Stop Allowing the Left to Set The Rules," and deals with the alleged racism of the anti-Obama opposition. As Mr. Marcus notes:
The Left published a cartoon depicting former black Secretary of State Condolezza Rice as an Aunt Jemima; another depicted Rice as a huge-lipped parrot for her Massa Bush. Neither were considered racist by their creators or publishers, or even widely condemned on the Left.True. Nobody minds liberal commentators expressing the hope that Clarence Thomas "will die early from heart disease like many black men," etc. Contemporary identity-group politics are prototype one-party states: If you're a black Republican Secretary of State, you're not really black. If you're a female Republican vice-presidential nominee, you're not really a woman. What's racist and sexist here is the notion that, if you're black or female, your politics is determined by your group membership.
In opposition to black Republican Michael Steele's campaign to run for U.S. Senate, a liberal blogger published a doctored photo of Steele in black face and big red lips made to look like a minstrel. The caption read, "Simple Sambo wants to move to the big house". Not one Democrat denounced these racist portrayals of black conservatives.
But, if we're talking about letting the Left "set the rules," Mr. Marcus's column reminded me of a larger point: Don't take your opponents at face value; listen to what they're really saying. What does the frenzy unleashed on Sarah Palin last fall tell us? What does Newsweek's "Mad Man" cover on Glenn Beck mean? Why have "civility" drones like Joe Klein so eagerly adopted Anderson Cooper's scrotal "teabagging" slur and characterized as "racists" and "terrorists" what are (certainly by comparison with the anti-G20 crowd) the best behaved and tidiest street agitators in modern history?
They're telling you who they really fear. Whom the media gods would destroy they first make into "mad men." Liz Cheney should be due for the treatment any day now.
Sad to say, many who should know better go along with it. Our old comrade David Frum wrote a piece called "Whose Side Is Glenn Beck On?" Well, in the space of a week Beck claimed the scalps of Van Jones, ACORN and that Yosi Sergant guy at the NEA, none of whom should ever have been anywhere near the corridors of power but who'd still be there if it weren't for Beck. So whoever's side he is on, it seems pretty clear he's not on the Obama administration's. Hence, Media Matters's sudden obsession with such pressing concerns as Glenn's mom's three decade-old suicide.
The media would like the American Right to be represented by the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, decent old sticks who know how to give dignified concession speeches. Last time round, we went along with their recommendation. If you want to get rave reviews for losing gracefully, that's the way to go. If you want to win, look at whom the Democrats and their media chums are so frantic to destroy: That's the better guide to what they're really worried about.
In honor of the president’s mission his chief political adviser, David Axelrod, revised Danny Kaye’s version of, “I’m Hans Christian Andersen” from the 1950s film for the president to sing as he descends from Air Force One.
“I’m Barack Hussein Obama”
(Jauntily, to the melody of Frank Loesser's “I’m Hans Christian Andersen”.
I'm Barack Hussein Obama
I've many a dream to sell
And though my plans are in a ditch
I'd say I sell them rather well
First I'll fix health care, then I'll tame Iran
When I have a moment free
When I'm not otherwise preoccupied
As Chicago's guy, with an ACORN lie
Or a skip across the sea!
I'm Barack Hussein Obama,
Obama, that's me!
I'm Barack Hussein Obama,
My tongue's like a babbling brook
Gushing forth ideas radical
Taken straight from Alinsky's book
I depend on all you simple fools
To recall just a phrase or two
Not to throw a fit, just to take the bit
Not to realize while you're hearing it
All we've got in store for you!
I'm Barack Hussein Obama,
Obama, that's who!
They really love me at the Times
They more than get the hint
The Van Jones mess, ACORN's distress
Not a word there fit to print!
What's 'round and 'round the Net, you see
Will never bother me,
Not when NBC can't stop hailing me,
which is merely to remind myself
I'm Barack Hussein Obama,
Obama, that's me!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Unless you are a connoisseur of small pictures of bearded, brooding fanatical clerics there is not much reason to collect Iranian currency. But I kept one bill on my desk at the State Department because of its watermark—an atom superimposed on the part of that country that harbors the Natanz nuclear site. Only the terminally innocent should have been surprised to learn that there is at least one other covert site, whose only purpose could be the production of highly enriched uranium for atom bombs.
Pressure, be it gentle or severe, will not erase that nuclear program. The choices are now what they ever were: an American or an Israeli strike, which would probably cause a substantial war, or living in a world with Iranian nuclear weapons, which may also result in war, perhaps nuclear, over a longer period of time.
Understandably, the U.S. government has hoped for a middle course of sanctions, negotiations and bargaining that would remove the problem without the ugly consequences. This is self-delusion. . . .
Though you would not know it to listen to Sunday talk shows, a large sanctions effort against Iran has been underway for some time. It has not worked to curb Tehran's nuclear appetite, and it will not. Sooner or later the administration, whose main diplomatic initiatives thus far have been a program of apologies and a few sharp kicks to small allies' shins, will have to recognize that fact. (“There Are Only Two Choices Left on Iran”).
Please read the rest of what he has to say here.
On Sept. 24, singer-poet Leonard Cohen packed a 45,000-seat stadium near Tel Aviv for a concert designed to raise funds for one of his pet projects -- an organization that promotes reconciliation -- with a good measure of success --between Palestinian and Israeli families whose members have been killed or injured during this protracted conflict.
Some fringe groups of Israel-bashers urged a boycott of the concert, but failed miserably, as was clearly demonstrated by the huge turnout.
So how does the Washington Post report this event? As a triumph of hands-across-the-divide efforts to sow amity and cooperation between the two sides -- the full realization of what Cohen was trying to accomplish -- in the teeth of organized attempts to torpedo the concert?
No, siree. Washington Post correspondent Howard Schneider deftly shapes his account to give top play to vociferous critics of the concert and follows this up with a recitation of other recent anti-Israel boycott attempts. A triumph for Cohen and a feather in Israel's cap are turned upside down into a twisted picture of Israel behind the eight ball.
How do Schneider and the Post manage to give their readers this distorted piece of anti-Israel bias.?
Start with the headline, a tipoff of Schneider's real agenda -- "Singer Leonard Cohen Performs in Israel, Against Backdrop of Criticism ."
Read the rest of it here.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
An editorial in today's Washington Times suggests the “torch has been passed” for leadership of the free world:
Israel is looking like the new leader of the Free World. The previous leader,the United States, resigned this role last week at the United Nations to take the position of global community organizer. This was made plain by President Obama in his speech, titled "Responsibility for Our Common Future," in which he heralded "a new chapter of international cooperation." By contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a blunt and forceful call to action in the central challenge facing free people today. This is the struggle of "civilization against barbarism" being fought by "those who sanctify life against those who glorify death." (“Leader of the Free World no more”)
There wasn't nearly enough coverage of Netanyahu's powerful speech, which I hope you take the time to watch.
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come and to those who left in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity, and you brought honor to your countries. But to those who gave this holocaust denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere, have you no shame? Have you no decency?
A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies the murder of 6 million Jews? While promising to wipe out the state of Israel, the state of the Jews? What a disgrace. What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations.
Now, perhaps - perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime, perhaps they threaten only the Jews. Well, if you think
that, you're wrong - dead wrong. History has shown us time and time again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many, many others, for this Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst on to the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.
In the past 30 years, this fanaticism has swept across the globe with a murderous violence that knows no bounds and with a cold-blooded impartiality in the choice of its victims. It has callously slaughtered Muslims and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherence of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward, regimented society where women, minorities, gays, or anyone else deemed not to be a true believer, is brutally subjugated.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
It was one thing when attacks on criticsof Obama’s health-care agenda focused on prominent individuals like Sarah Palin. Only people who strongly support Palin were bothered by the way she was ridiculed and slandered.
Now this is personal.
This isn’t about Rep. Joe Wilson or Sarah Palin. It’s about you. It’s not about Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh, or even the KKK, or the Nazi Party.
It’s about you.
The president, and his pledged mouthpieces, have fanned out across the media to condemn you, any and all of you who dare disagree with his health-care agenda, as hate-filled racists.
Those cries of "racism" and aren't aimed at somebody else this time. Somebody out there who might be controversial, or “fringe” or goes too far. Somebody on TV you don't really know.
Now they're saying those things about you.
If you oppose Obama and/or his health-care plan, you are a racist; there is no other conceivable explanation for your opposition.
It’s quite simple really, as they explain it.
You only question Obama and the Democrat plan because you’re wallowing in the “inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.” (Jimmy Carter).
It’s because you are one of the people who “just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.” (Maureen Dowd).
Your opinion that the president has made false statements about his plan makes you one of those “people with white hoods running through the countryside again.” (Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson)
It’s because you’re part of “element in this country that doesn’t want to accept him as the president,” and you’re frustrated because “Nobody can use the N-word in public anymore.”(Mitch Albom)
The Left went all in when they threw this the race card. There's only one way this can work for them, that's only if they can convince:
all the Americans who don’t find Obama a truth-telling man;
and all the Americans who don’t believe the health-care package Obama & Co. have tried to railroad through Congress since July is the best thing for all of us;
and all the American independents who simply want a full discussion of the details and consequences of a radical re-fashioning of our health-care system before we burn every health-care bridge in the country--
—they have to convince all of these Americans, all of us, that the only reason we think that and feel that and say that is because we hate black people, and for no other reason.
It's not enough for them to convince each other. It doesn't matter that Clyburn and Carter and Olbermann and Albom are convinced.
They have to convince us.
Would you bet on that?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Asif Shahzad ASSOCIATED PRESS
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan A terrorism suspect recently detained in Pakistan is the same Swedish national once held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, police said Monday. He and others in his group were reportedly trying to join al Qaeda in the country's lawless tribal areas.
The development appeared to underscore the difficulty with predicting the path that detainees at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will take upon their release, with the Pentagon having acknowledged that a small but notable percentage of one-time inmates have joined, or rejoined, militant groups.
Dera Ghazi Khan police Chief Mohammad Rizwan told the Associated Press that authorities made the identification after interrogating the man, Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali. A copy of his Swedish passport obtained by the AP showed that his face matched that of previously published photos of the man held at Guantanamo.
"I do confirm that he is the same person. He is a very dangerous man," Chief Rizwan said.
Ghezali was arrested on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan, a southern Pakistani town, on Aug. 28 along with a group of foreigners including seven Turks and three other Swedes who lacked proper immigration stamps.
A Swedish man with the same name was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 and held for two years at Guantanamo. The United States released him in 2004.
Ghezali -- born in Sweden to a Finnish mother and Algerian father -- was reportedly part of a group of 156 suspected al Qaeda fighters arrested in 2001 by Pakistani authorities while fleeing Afghanistan's Tora Bora mountains. Ghezali, who is believed to be 30 years old, has denied ties to al Qaeda and said he was in the region only to learn more about Islam.
The other Swedes arrested were identified as Munir Awad and Safia Benaouda and a young boy who was apparently their son, according to a police report obtained by the AP through the Interior Ministry.
Benaouda and Awad are the same names of two people who also have been in the news before.
A Swede named Safia Benaouda, then 17, was held by Ethiopian authorities after being taken into custody along the Somalia-Kenya border in 2007. She told a Swedish newspaper that she was interrogated for weeks by white foreigners and asked about extremism in Sweden. A man named Munir Awad was identified as her fiance.
The Benaouda who was held in Ethiopia is the daughter of Helena Benaouda, chairwoman of the Swedish Muslim Council.
In Sweden, where the arrests have made headlines, Helena Benaouda told the tabloid Expressen over the weekend that she had not been able to reach her daughter, whom she thought was in Saudi Arabia.
"She is supposed to be in Mecca to celebrate Ramadan. But now I haven't been able to reach her by telephone, and as a mother and grandmother I am now very worried," she was quoted as saying. "If it turns out that this is my daughter, I will obviously seek an explanation to this."
By Mohammed Jamjoom
AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- A 12-year-old Yemeni girl, who was forced into marriage, died during a painful childbirth that also killed her baby, a children's rights group said Monday.
Fawziya Ammodi struggled for three days in labor, before dying of severe bleeding at a hospital on Friday, said the Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Children.
"Although the cause of her death was lack of medical care, the real case was the lack of education in Yemen and the fact that child marriages keep happening," said Seyaj President Ahmed al-Qureshi.
Born into an impoverished family in Hodeidah, Fawziya was forced to drop out of school and married off to a 24-year-old man last year, al-Qureshi said.
Child brides are commonplace in Yemen, especially in the Red Sea Coast where tribal customs hold sway. Hodeidah is the fourth largest city in Yemen and an important port.
More than half of all young Yemeni girls are married off before the age of 18 -- many times to older men, some with more than one wife, a study by Sanaa University found.
While it was not immediately known why Fawziya's parents married her off, the reasons vary. Sometimes, financially-strapped parents offer up their daughters for hefty dowries.
Marriage means the girls are no longer a financial or moral burden to their parents. And often, parents will extract a promise from the husband to wait until the girl is older to consummate the marriage.
Children's organization UNICEF issued a statement Monday saying: "Child marriages violate the rights of children in the most deplorable way. The younger the girl is when she becomes pregnant, the greater the health risks for her and her baby.
"Girls who give birth before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s. Child marriage denies girls of their childhood, deprives them of an education and robs them of their innocence."
"More must be done to address the underlying causes in order to prevent tragic deaths like those of 12-year-old Fawziya and her baby," the statement added.
The issue of Yemeni child brides came to the forefront in 2008 with 10-year-old Nujood Ali.
She was pulled out of school and married to a man who beat and raped her within weeks of the ceremony.
To escape, Nujood hailed a taxi -- the first time in her life -- to get across town to the central courthouse where she sat on a bench and demanded to see a judge.
After a well-publicized trial, she was granted a divorce.
The Yemeni parliament tried in February to pass a law, setting the minimum marriage age at 17. But the measure has not reached the president because many parliamentarians argued it violates sharia, or Islamic law, which does not stipulate a minimum age.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Kelvin W. Scott, the director of the Michigan Civil Rights Department, said they had been aware “that tensions between local youths of various ethnic groups were high even before Tuesday's incident. He said tensions may have been escalating in the days before the attack.” No one was arrested, but the four attackers responsible for the assault, two girls and two boys, were being referred to “conflict resolution training.”
Of absolutely no surprise, CAIR-MI is calling “for the incident to be investigated and prosecuted as a hate crime.” Our favorite civil rights leader is still having trouble recognizing the distinction between investigations that uncover the facts, and subsequent decisions about whether or not those facts point to a hate crime having been committed.
Actually, if I believed in hate crimes as a matter of law, which I don’t, I would probably concede that this does sound like an assault motivated by hate: most student assaults between races are motivated by hate, at least on one side, if not always on both sides. And in southeastern Michigan, the black and Arab communities are not known for their strong mutual affection.
When MDCR explains this incident in the context of already-rising tensions “between local youths of various ethnic groups,” Muslim vs. black, or Arab vs. black strife must have something to do with it. I expect the two Muslims siblings, (regardless of who said what first) found themselves in an argument with the four black students, who thought they’d settle it by opening up a can of whup-ass.
I’m sure this kind of thing happens in America only about five days a week. When you hear about kids like this getting sent down for “conflict resoluton training,” it's because they can't even imagine settling any disagreement, no matter how minor, without resorting to violence.
You can bet this isn’t the kind of case Walid and CAIR want to get their hands on, what with the assailants being black teens, instead of white kids whose parents watch Fox News. These facts don’t support CAIR’s Islamophobia theme, the one Walid has been repeating all these years without being able to back up: that white, non-Muslim, Americans have besieged and persecuted the country's Muslims on an ascending scale of savagery since about five minutes after news of the 9/11 attacks reached our redneck ears. But these are desperate times for Islamophobia.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Today’s Detroit News had an article reporting a Pew survey that shows “Americans” having “more favorable views about Muslims” since 9/11, while at the same time we also “believe Muslims in the United States face more discrimination than any other major religious group.” (“Poll: 58% believe Muslims face discrimination”).
The only group that gets treatedworse, in the opinions of those surveyed, are homosexuals, “with almost two-thirds of Americans saying homosexuals are discriminated against a lot.”
I’d say CAIR has some work to do if they want Muslims to be Number One Victim. Here’s a brainstorm. How about a Triangle-CAIR coalition? Man, those guys would be the Victims from Hell.
This Pew survey doesn’t measure objective facts, just what Americans perceive. And what many Americans perceive, especially Americans who rely on sound bites and/or reports of sound bites from friends and family, is what the media repeats most often.
For instance, for five straight years the media, led by the New York Times, repeated day in and day out that the detention camp at Gitmo was a combination Stalinist gulag and Hitler death camp. Then after five years surveys showed the American people had a negative perception of Gitmo. Now where do you suppose they got that idea?
Then there’s the Duke “rape” case. Valerie Plame. Katrina. Millions of my fellow Americans, God bless their souls, still think that the Democrats freed the slaves and America fought a war in the 1940s to free the world from the Republican Party.
This blog has had to respond to repeated news articles that led off with unsubstantiated declarations, reported as historical truth, that there was a post-9/11 “surge of hate crimes”, violence, discrimination and “profiling” against American Muslims, who as likely as not would be kidnapped and renditioned into the Bush gulag as make it to work on any given morning.
Dawud Walid, leader of Michigan CAIR, stated simply, repeatedly, and falsely: “Our community has been under siege since 9/11.”
In January 2008, I wrote:
How prosaic and ineffective it feels to write, simply, that there is no “siege” against the Arab community in Dearborn, not since 9/11, nor ever. The very suggestion is an insult to every resident of the area, Arab, Muslim, or non-Muslim.If you don’t agree, don’t bother calling me names if you aren’t going to show up with facts to the contrary.
Since 9/11 Americans have been told two things about Islam more or less without letup in the news, in popular shows, and by their lesser informed spiritual leaders: 1) that Islam is a religion of peace being “hijacked” by a teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy few hundred guys called “terrorists” and 2) that Muslims face a hailstorm of hate crimes every time they leave their houses.
Then we get a guy elected to be President who was saying during his campaign speeches things like, "If there is an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney, it threatens my civil liberties."
So why would it be surprising that after eight years of hearing this Americans have a more favorable view of Muslims (they’re peaceful!), and believe they face a lot of discrimination (they’re under siege)? And on top of which, thanks to George W. Bush, we haven’t had a repeat of 9/11, and have been allowed to forget about Mohamed Atta and Osama bin Ladin, and all that unpleasant stuff about jihad?
Not surprising, the media has been reporting since as far back as the early 1980s that homosexuals, (statistically among the highest-paid, best-educated, and best-postured (males, anyway) people in the country), have been suffering unceasing discrimination, hate, and “intolerance.”
Hollywood has been forcing harmless gay characters on us since Billy Crystal was in “Soap,” all the while telling us that the only thing Bubba and his NRA buddies would rather be doing than shooting Bambi is beating the brains out of some guy in a turtleneck with a ball bat. Is it any wonder Americans “perceive” that homosexuals are even worse sufferers of discrimination than Muslims? Look at the head start they've had! (Oh, it makes me so mad I could just spit!)
Dawud Walid’s response to the survey, (or maybe it's just his automatic response to being approached by a reporter), was to say, “Discrimination towards Muslims has steadily increased according to our own study. It seems Islam-phobia has drastically increased.”
That really isn't what the survey said, but then, Dawud's always saying shit like that.
It’s a living, I guess.
But this nugget is worth the price of the whole article:
But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.
Item: This out-of-control response by Chicago writer Ray Hanania on Congressman Joe Wilson’s capital crime of having “yelled not once but twice (!!!) while President Barack Obama explained to the American people what he hopes his health care reform plan means for the American people.” :
Wilson should be impeached and forcibly removed from the Congress. His apology, which only came after he was denounced by U.S. Senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain and other members of his party.
But while Wilson asserted that he let his emotions get the best of him, the outburst symbolized the animosity and hatred that separates Republicans from the Democrats and that has targeted President Obama, the nation’s first African American chief executive officer.
It’s not emotion. It is driven in part by a deep seated racism. Deep down in Wilson’s emotions is a powerfully growing sentiment of racist hatred that does not allow even a reasoned discussion about an issue so important as health care. (“Joe Wilson should resign from Congress over hateful attack”).
She posted on her Facebook page right after the president's speech:
After all the rhetoric is put aside, one principle ran through President Obama’s speech tonight: that increased government involvement in health care can solve its problems.
Many Americans fundamentally disagree with this idea. We know from long experience that the creation of a massive new bureaucracy will not provide us with “more stability and security,” but just the opposite. It's hard to believe the President when he says that this time he and his team of bureaucrats have finally figured out how to do things right if only we’ll take them at their word.
Our objections to the Democrats’ health care proposals are not mere “bickering” or “games.” They are not an attempt to “score short term political points.” And it’s hard to listen to the President lecture us not to use “scare tactics” when in the next breath he says that “more will die” if his proposals do not pass.
In his speech the President directly responded to concerns I’ve raised about unelected bureaucrats being given power to make decisions affecting life or death health care matters. He called these concerns “bogus,” “irresponsible,” and “a lie” — so much for civility. After all the name-calling, though, what he did not do is respond to the arguments we’ve made, arguments even some of his own supporters have agreed have merit.
In fact, after promising to “make sure that no government bureaucrat .... gets between you and the health care you need,” the President repeated his call for an Independent Medicare Advisory Council — an unelected, largely unaccountable group of bureaucrats charged with containing Medicare costs. He did not disavow his own statement that such a group, working outside of “normal political channels,” should guide decisions regarding that “huge driver of cost ... the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives....” He did not disavow the statements of his health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and continuing to pay his salary with taxpayer dollars proves a commitment to his beliefs. The President can keep making unsupported assertions, but until he directly responds to the arguments I’ve made, I’m going to call him out too.
It is meant to be a diversion from the issue of the public option covering immigrants, which it almost certainlt is going to do.
It won’t work.
Only 10 days ago the AP was celebrating the release of the Iraqi who threw his shoes at George W. Bush. “Muntadhar al-Zeidi's act during Bush's last visit to Iraq as president turned the 30-year-old reporter into a folk hero across the Arab world amid anger over the 2003 invasion.”
Vocal outbursts during sessions of a deliberative body are not that shocking. At worst it was a breach of decorum, but compared to standards lowered by Democrats and liberal activists in recent years, it is really rather tame. All of us lived through eight years of former President Bush being accused by Congressional Democrats of being a liar, a Nazi, a racist, a murderer, and worse, Cindy Sheehan being hailed for her obnoxious behavior, and Bush being openly booed and hissed by Democrats during a State of the Union speech.
I applaud Wilson for, literally, standing up and calling out the president when he deserved to be called out. I also applaud him for apologizing for incivility, while reiterating his disagreement with Obama’s statement.
Monday, September 07, 2009
For anyone with common sense and a willingness to look at what we were allowed to learn about Obama's background and associations, nothing about Van Jones is the least bit surprising. Nothing about Obama's penchant for government by radical, unaccountable czars is the least bit surprising. What is surprising is that smart people continue to treat these developments as if they were abberations that somehow happen independent of Obama, as if the president just needs to do a better job of vetting staffers. The selection of Van Jones is who Obama is and what he is about. Bad things are not happening to our president; our president is doing bad things — as we should have known he would.
The first appearance of this video in a Utah schoolhouse only days before Obama’s presidential address to America’s Youth, and at the very moment when Department of Education-created lesson plans about how students can help the president were hotlined to prinicipals, seemed like just too much of a coincidence.
And it still seems reasonable to me that fertile brains in Obama’s support staff opportunistically deployed the video at this time as part of Obama’s initiative to get America’s kids on his side.
But the video wasn’t created at the administration’s direction. It was originally produced by Ashton and Demi as their inaugural gift for Obama, a declaration of their intention to help the One transform reality.
During the presidential inauguration, actors/human/animal right activists Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore stepped up with a staggering group of other well-known [sic] entertainment A-listers and went on the record for very personal “I Pledge” declarations on how they’ll make the world better in 2009 and beyond. The video, directed by Moore was presented to President Obama during the festivities. One outspoken pledge was by Moore who stated that she and Kutcher were determined to help free 1,000,000 people currently in slavery, within five years.A less outspoken Jason Bateman didn’t go that far, pledging only that he would limit his toilet-flushing strictly to when he poops. Mainly, the staggering group of A-listers take turns flexing their self-esteem and telling the camera what they pledge: to smile more, to get to know their neighbors, to stop buying bottled water, to buy a hybrid. One guy who’d never heard of Medicare pledged to fight for health care for seniors.
But it’s not the individual pledges that matter. What matters is when Ashton and Demi pledge themselves to be a “servant to our president, and to all mankind.”
Depending on the broadness of your theology, that may be a distinction without a difference.
For an audience of grade-school kids, the overall commercial message of this video is, “we’re really cool, and you can be cool too by pledging to Obama.” And it’s a lot easier to join a club that doesn’t demand too much, a selling-point common to all liberal religions. (“Our only creed is, Just be yourself--only more smug!”). The variety and banality of these A-lister pledges won’t freak some kid out that he’s being asked to pledge celibacy or to serve his country in uniform. “Pledge allegiance to the funk? Yes I can!”
Not that I demean Ashton’s and Demi’s horror at white slavery--(the totally unPC name by which it was once known) as banal. The sex trade is real, and awful. George W. Bush was condemning it, the first U.S. president to do so, as a “humanitarian crisis” and a “special evil”, and all without benefit of Hollywood support. (As far back as 2006, Bush opponent Nicholas Kristof wrote that on this “crucial issue, Mr. Bush is leaving a legacy that he and America can be proud of.”).
But “I Pledge” isn’t really a rallying cry against white slavery--that’s just Ashton’s and Demi’s thing. The video is an invitation to youngsters, who are impressionable when their instincts for idealism and service are just beginning to awaken, to lend those unformed instincts to the service of a particular person, namely one President Barack Hussein Obama. Had an NFL player at a Bible camp given a similar message, it would end with an invitation to give your heart to Jesus.
Most Obama supporters detest that sort of evangelism, but, in fairness, at least Jesus has two-millenium of witnesses testifying that He is God, a good portion of them martyrs and saints. The testimony for Obama’s godhood goes back barely two years, and includes Oprah Winfrey and Chris Matthews.
Maybe critics of Obama’s decision to speak to public school kids, and have pupils inscripturate his wiser sayings, shouldn’t be complaining that it’s an attempt to indoctrinate children. Maybe they should be complaining that it’s an attempt to establish a religion.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
This is from the September 2, 2009 Daily Telegraph:
Sentenced to death on the NHS
Patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives, leading doctors have warned.
By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.
Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.
But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.
As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.
“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.
“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients."
The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS.
The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was designed to reduce patient suffering in their final hours.
Developed by Marie Curie, the cancer charity, in a Liverpool hospice it was initially developed for cancer patients but now includes other life threatening conditions.
It was recommended as a model by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the Government’s health scrutiny body, in 2004.
It has been gradually adopted nationwide and more than 300 hospitals, 130 hospices and 560 care homes in England currently use the system.
Under the guidelines the decision to diagnose that a patient is close to death is made by the entire medical team treating them, including a senior doctor.
They look for signs that a patient is approaching their final hours, which can include if patients have lost consciousness or whether they are having difficulty swallowing medication.
However, doctors warn that these signs can point to other medical problems.
Patients can become semi-conscious and confused as a side effect of pain-killing drugs such as morphine if they are also dehydrated, for instance.
When a decision has been made to place a patient on the pathway doctors are then recommended to consider removing medication or invasive procedures, such as intravenous drips, which are no longer of benefit.
If a patient is judged to still be able to eat or drink food and water will still be offered to them, as this is considered nursing care rather than medical intervention.
Dr Hargreaves said that this depended, however, on constant assessment of a patient’s condition.
He added that some patients were being “wrongly” put on the pathway, which created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that they would die.
He said: “I have been practising palliative medicine for more than 20 years and I am getting more concerned about this “death pathway” that is coming in.
“It is supposed to let people die with dignity but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Patients who are allowed to become dehydrated and then become confused can be wrongly put on this pathway.”
He added: “What they are trying to do is stop people being overtreated as they are dying.
“It is a very laudable idea. But the concern is that it is tick box medicine that stops people thinking.”
He said that he had personally taken patients off the pathway who went on to live for “significant” amounts of time and warned that many doctors were not checking the progress of patients enough to notice improvement in their condition.
Prof Millard said that it was “worrying” that patients were being “terminally” sedated, using syringe drivers, which continually empty their contents into a patient over the course of 24 hours.
In 2007-08 16.5 per cent of deaths in Britain came about after continuous deep sedation, according to researchers at the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, twice as many as in Belgium and the Netherlands.
“If they are sedated it is much harder to see that a patient is getting better,” Prof Millard said.
Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, said: “Even the tiniest things that happen towards the end of a patient’s life can have a huge and lasting affect on patients and their families feelings about their care.
“Guidelines like the LCP can be very helpful but healthcare professionals always need to keep in mind the individual needs of patients.
“There is no one size fits all approach.”
A spokesman for Marie Curie said: “The letter highlights some complex issues related to care of the dying.
“The Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient was developed in response to a societal need to transfer best practice of care of the dying from the hospice to other care settings.
“The LCP is not the answer to all the complex elements of this area of health care but we believe it is a step in the right direction.”
The pathway also includes advice on the spiritual care of the patient and their family both before and after the death.
It has also been used in 800 instances outside care homes, hospices and hospitals, including for people who have died in their own homes.
The letter has also been signed by Dr Anthony Cole, the chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, Dr David Hill, an anaesthetist, Dowager Lady Salisbury, chairman of the Choose Life campaign and Dr Elizabeth Negus a lecturer in English at Barking University.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “People coming to the end of their lives should have a right to high quality, compassionate and dignified care.
"The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is an established and recommended tool that provides clinicians with an evidence-based framework to help delivery of high quality care for people at the end of their lives.
"Many people receive excellent care at the end of their lives. We are investing £286 million over the two years to 2011 to support implementation of the End of Life Care Strategy to help improve end of life care for all adults, regardless of where they live.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has recommended that non-Muslims take the opportunity of the month of Ramadan to fast, along with their Muslim neighbors, in order to promote "understanding between cultures."
Johnson told members of a London mosque that with Muslims so much a part of London life, it would be befitting for non-Muslims to get to know their fellow Londoners' customs and religion better.
"Whether it's in theater, comedy, sports, music or politics, Muslims are challenging the traditional stereotypes and showing that they are, and want to be, a part of the mainstream community," Johnson said. ''That's why I urge people, particularly during Ramadan, to find out more about Islam, increase your understanding and learning, even fast for a day with your Muslim neighbor and break your fast at the local mosque. I would be very surprised if you didn't find that you share more in common than you thought," he said.
'Muslims are at the heart of every aspect of society," he added. "Their contribution is something that all Londoners benefit from. Muslim police officers, doctors, scientists and teachers are an essential part of the fabric of London." There are currently 1.6 million Muslims in Britain, most of whom fast during Ramadan, Muslim community officials told reporters.
Not all Londoners embraced the idea. A local English Democrat leader, Steve Uncles, blasted Johnson's comments, saying that "the indigenous culture of this country is based on Christianity and Paganism. Of course, as an open and tolerant society, if people want to practice other religions, then good luck to them. But the state should not be funding them because otherwise we will lose our culture."
Although perhaps the most original, Johnson's is far from the only effort by Western politicians to honor Ramadan and Muslims. Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama hosted a Ramadan break the fast meal at the White House. "Islam, as we know, is part of America," Obama said during the dinner. "Together we have a responsibility to foster engagement grounded in mutual interest and mutual respect."
A report Saturday said that Egyptian police had arrested 155 people in the southern city of Aswan for not fasting during Ramadan. According to local reports, police have targeted people seen eating or drinking anything during daylight hours. According to one local official, the police campaign is evidence of an increased Muslim fervor among police, while another official said that the local government was trying to appease Islamists, who have increased in popularity in recent months.
There was no word on whether London Mayor Johnson was planning to suggest that Muslims and Christians fast on Yom Kippur in order to better understand their Jewish neighbors.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
According to Moughni, the judge, William Callahan, “is one of the most respected, knowledgeable, and fairest judges,” and “has never shown any discrimination and he has never requested that any Muslim women remove their hijab.”
Further, Moughni described the woman’s, Raneen Albaghdady’s, overall dress as “not the religious hijab” but “more of a fashion statement.”
From the video, it appeared most of Mrs. Albagdady’s hair was exposed. She had a scarf placed on top of her well-styled hairdo. This is not hijab in any way, shape or form. Hijab is the covering of body parts, (including the hair, neck, arms, legs, and private parts) so as not to attract the attention of men.Mrs. Albagdady’s dress is in contradiction to hijab as it attracts attention and is more of a fashion statement as opposed to a religious garb.
Moughini, who describes CAIR as an organization of “high caliber,” (Eek!), thinks this whole thing makes the Muslim community look bad.
Dawud Walid, CAIR-MI’s fearless leader, responded with a letter of his own (“CAIR-MI director rejects label of 'frivolous' in regard to suit over hijab”), saying that Moughini isn’t the “hijab police.”
Besides, writes Dawud, how can you call this lawsuit “frivolous” when “Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner Attorney Nabih Ayad” is the one who filed it? You may remember Ayad as one of the lawyers who sued to keep the government from wiretapping international calls from terrorists.
It doesn’t matter. This lawsuit was DOA as soon as Ayad filed it. Ms. Albagdady willingly removed her headscarf when ordered to by Judge Callahan, stating “OK, it doesn't matter.” Callahan's office quite reasonably claimed he had no idea there was any religious purpose in the headscarf.
Not that this stopped Ms. Albagdady, who came to America from Saddam’s Iraq, from declaring a few weeks later that the whole experience left her “terrified” and “humiliated.”
She told a news conference in August “she was intimidated by Callahan and feared she would be arrested if she refused to remove her hijab. 'I come from a country where you can't say no to a judge in a courtroom,' she said. "
Moughni says Ms. Albagdady didn’t look so intimidated later in the hearing when she was arguing with the judge about the cost of filing her case. (“Dearborn attorney backs judge in woman's suit over hijab”)
Nor is it a sign of intimidation to drop a lawsuit on the circuit court judge you claim to be so scared of.
I don’t know if it’s the leopard print hair wrap or the Mediterranean cougar ‘tude but I know I'd think twice about cutting off this lady’s cart at Wal-Mart.Ayad practically admitted that this whole thing is just for show, anyway, a tactic in a battle to force the Michigan Supreme Court to relent on its ruling that allows judges to order women to remove face veils in court.
Albaghdady appeared before Callahan the day before the state Supreme Court approved the rule. Her lawsuit does not challenge it or address the issue of face veils, said her attorney, Nabih Ayad.
"That's for a later case," he said.
Megan McArdle writes:
If the right ever wants to get back in power, it needs to start policing its lunatic fringe.Er, okay. But the left is in power, and it's got Van Jones the Truther in the White House. Which isn't exactly the "fringe". More of a lunatic mainstream, isn't it? Which may be why The New York Times et al have decided there's no story.
Years ago, Canada's Kathy Shaidle made a very good point about "9/11 Was An Inside Job" types like Czar Jones:
Is Van Jones a real Truther or a faux Truther? The White House position is that he's the latter - hey, he just glanced at it, saw it was some routine impeach-Bush-for-killing-thousands-of-his-fellow-Americans thing, and signed it without reading it; we've all been there, right?
I wonder if the nuts even believe what they are saying. Because if something like 9/11 happened in Canada, and I believed with all my heart that, say, Stephen Harper was involved, I don’t think I could still live here. I’m not sure I could stop myself from running screaming to another country. How can you believe that your President killed 2,000 people, and in between bitching about this, just carry on buying your vente latte and so forth?
Van Jones Trutherism, like Van Jones Communism and Van Jones Eco-Racism Theory, is a kind of decadence: If you really believed 9/11 was an inside job, you'd be in fear of your life. Instead, for a cutting-edge poseur like Jones, it's a marketing niche, one that gives you a certain cachet with the right kind of people - like, apparently, Barack Obama. (Bill Clinton, to his credit, felt differently.)
I think Steyn is right. When I found out Jones’s name was on that Truther site, I figured he didn’t believe a word of it. Just as Steyn guesses, Jones just lent his name because he wanted to be known as a Bush-hater in the right circles, and what the hell, the truth doesn’t matter.
Which is much more despicable than being a Truther. And I think this administration is just full of people like Van Jones.