Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Really Quiet Leadership from the White House

If only Democrats and the press had been so tolerant of Bush-era antiterror policies back then as they are now, we’d be a lot further ahead in the war. The Patriot Act was routinely described during Bush’s term as a “domestic spying program,” and the most glaring example of Bush “shredding the Constitution.” And now that the good angels have taken over what do we see?


Obama Signs Patriot Act Extension: MSM and the Left Silent

by SusanAnne Hiller

President Obama signed the renewal of the Patriot Act in the quiet of a slow-news Saturday–the Act was set to expire Sunday, February 28–as reported by The Hill.

The reauthorization did NOT include any reforms to the current Patriot Act–an odd display of agreement and submission to Bush-era policy–even though the Democrats had the numbers to reform the Act. The continuance of the current Patriot Act signals that Democrats are fearful of further controversary in light of American’s distrust and poor approval ratings of the Democrat-controlled Congress. From the Hill:
The House approved the bill 315-97 on Thursday, a day after the extension passed the Senate. The provisions, including roving wiretaps, records access and tracking terror suspects not affiliated with any group, were set to expire on Sunday.

Democrats opposing the extension were unable to add desired civil-liberties protections.

The Patriot Act was first passed by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as a defense mechanism against terrorists.
The House and the Senate, behind the scenes of the healthcare fervor, quietly passed this bill with little oppostion and outrage. Democrats could have modified the Patriot Act, but didn’t.
Apparently without Bush, the Patriot Act is no longer Orwellian as Michael Moore would have it and the
ACLU is now quietly voicing its differences. Even Obama criticized the Act’s compromise in 2006, but had no issue, as President, signing the identical Act he wanted reforms on. In 2006, Obama stated on the Senate floor:
So, I will be supporting the Patriot Act compromise. But I urge my colleagues to continue working on ways to improve the civil liberties protections in the Patriot Act after it is reauthorized.
The Democrats had the numbers to make changes, but another civil war would have ensued. In addition, it appears that when these controversial legislative pieces are passed by the Democrats, it makes it all better. No more outrage from the MSM and the far-left, because the rules of war and engagement are clearly different because, you know, the Democrats are in charge.

'See No Islam'

It’s not just former U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson who believes that a jihadist like al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be seen strictly as a “common criminal.” Pulaski County, Arkansas prosecutor Larry Jegley, responsible for prosecuting Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad for shooting to death Pvt. William Long and wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula at a Little Rock recruiting center last June, characterizes the attack as nothing more than “a straightforward murder case.” (“'See-No-Islam' Strategy Disgraces Fallen Soldier”).

There’s a pattern here. It took President Obama three days before he had something to say about the Arkansas attack. (By comparison, it only took him a few hours to give a press conference about the Chile earthquake yesterday.) What he did say about the Arkansas attack betrayed no awareness of its Islamist motivation, calling it “a senseless act of violence.”

“Senseless?,” asks Diane West:

This was an act of jihad, and both soldiers, along with the fallen and wounded at Fort Hood, should receive the Purple Hearts they deserve. Muhammad himself has made his jihadist intentions against the U.S. military clear, beginning first with his statement to police, and later in collect phone calls to the Associated Press from Pulaski County jail. On June 9, the AP quoted Muhammad calling the attack "a act, for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military." He wasn't guilty of murder, he said, "because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason." Such a definition jibes with Islamic law, which, for example, permits the killing of "non-Muslims at war with Muslims." Muhammad also told the AP he wanted revenge against the U.S. military for its perceived offenses against Muslims and the Koran.
But in spite of knowing all this, Prosecutor Jegley told the New York Times he:
“considers (the attack) a straightforward murder case and that they intend to try it without delving into Mr. Muhammad’s religious conversion, political beliefs or possible ties to terrorists. ‘When you strip away what he says, self-serving or not, it's just an awful killing,’ said Larry Jegley. . . ‘It's like a lot of other killings we have.’”
“It is?” asks Diane West:

Do “a lot” of middle-class murder defendants in Pulaski County convert to Islam in 2004 and worship at an Ohio mosque frequented by convicted terrorists in 2005 and 2006? Do “a lot” of them travel to Yemen in 2007 where, ABC News reported, “it is believed that Muhammad attended the Damaj Institute, an Islamic institute attended by a number of radicalized U.S. converts (including) John Walker Lindh? Do “a lot” get themselves arrested for overstaying their visa in Yemen, and possessing a fake Somali passport? Do "a lot" finally get deported back to the States in 2008? (Bio highlights courtesy the NEFA Foundation.) Do “a lot” fire on U.S. soldiers at a military recruiting center?

I'm not the only one confounded by the prosecutor's inexplicable and highly disturbing decision to follow a see-no-Islam strategy. Muhammad himself recently wrote to the judge claiming he was encountering legal obstacles to changing his plea to guilty. Avowing affiliation with al-Qaida as a member of "Abu Basir's Army," Muhammad further emphasized the fact that the incident was a “a Jihadi Attack ... justified according to Islamic Laws and the Islamic Religion. Jihad -- To fight those who wage war on Islam and Muslims.”
Daris Long, Pvt. Long’s father, said that both his fallen son and Pvt. Ezeagwula were heroes. “They weren't on the battlefield, but apparently, the battlefield’s here.”

He’s right. It is here. Or else we really have forgotten what happened on September 11.

As Diane West tries to remind the Arkansas prosecutor:
This was an act of war against the United States and should be treated as such. Especially for the sake of the fallen, this is no time for the prosecutor to run off the battlefield.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Is the Man Who Destroyed the World Trade Center a 'Common Criminal'?

Retired U.S. District Judge Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, best known for being the judge who tried to break up Microsoft, called this week for Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s criminal trial to be held in Washington, D.C. (“Bring Sheik Mohammed's trial to D.C.”).

Jackson approved of Attorney General Eric Holder’s original idea to try KSM in Manhattan, but, “[f]or reasons I have some difficulty appreciating,” writes Jackson, the city of New York has rejected the idea.

I submit that’s not all Jackson has some difficulty appreciating. For instance, Jackson simply can’t imagine that KSM is anything more than a “common criminal,” and flatly rejects from consideration that KSM should “be tried by a military commission at Guantanamo Bay or anywhere else.”:
His crimes were civil, not military. Mohammed owed no allegiance to any flag, nor did he wear the uniform of any country. He answered to no code of military honor or of the law of war. His targets and victims were innocent civilians who had never sought to harm him. His weapons were four stolen commercial civilian aircraft. He was not captured on a battlefield; he was hunted down like any common felon, hiding in disguise among civilians in a city far removed from military activity.
Jackson has no appreciation--none--that KSM’s planning and execution of the September 11 attacks were acts of war, in particular, an act of jihad, carried out on behalf of an international terrorist army that numbers in the thousands, and is dedicated to making war on America in the name of Allah.

Nor does he seem aware that Congress and the President had long since determined that America’s response would be a military one. The defeat of al Qaeda has been a military objective for America and her allies for the past 9 ½ years.

In 2001 the United States Congress authorized President George W. Bush to respond to the September 11 attacks using “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.” The authorization is specifically described as a statutory authorizations for purposes of the War Powers Resolution. Military commissions are an essential part of that authorization.

This was an implicit rejection of the pre-9/11 approach to mass terror attacks as a law-enforcement problem--the approach which Jackson seems incapable of looking beyond.

Jackson has the vaguest appreciation that trying KSM as a common criminal in a civilian court runs the risk of something going wrong.

The Justice Department has been rumored to be concerned with an alleged reluctance of D.C. juries to impose the death penalty, but no prosecution should ever be undertaken for the primary purpose of putting the defendant to death. The goal is a fair trial.
Obviously, the goal in the American civil justice system is a fair trial. But what is the goal in America’s war on al Qaeda? (How about victory?).

And there’s more that can go wrong than just that KSM escapes the death penalty. He may be acquitted and freed--unless we aren’t serious about it being a “fair trial.” Jackson, (who writes like someone with that superficial assumption that “everybody’s going to do his best”) has no doubts, based upon what reports of what a “highly competent panel of prosecutors has reportedly told the attorney general,” that “[t]here is virtually no possibility of an acquittal or even a hung jury.”

There’s not? Than how can it be a fair trial? We in the Detroit area just found out, and not for the first time, how fickle a district court criminal jury can be, when a single juror refused to look at barrels of evidence in the Sam Riddle trial because her racial bitterness was more important to her.

Then there’s been the outspokenness of Attorney General Holder, who guaranteed KSM’s fair trial in New York would lead inexorably to conviction and execution, because “failure is not an option.” At the same time, President Obama was promising those offended that KSM was getting the legal rights of Americans “won't find it ‘offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.’”

Only someone self-satisfied enough to believe a conviction is certain because a “highly competent panel of prosecutors” have assured their boss of that would think equally competent attorneys can’t make serious legal hash of the chief law enforcement of the United States and his boss, the President, declaring publicly that your client is guilty in advance of trial. (See the Charlie Manson trial, when Manson flashed the jury a Los Angeles Times headline, “MANSON GUILTY, NIXON DECLARES,” and nearly won a mistrial).

In the inconceivable event that [a terrorist] is acquitted, we’re told not to worry — because he will never be released. The administration has been widely derided for this foolish chest-beating. Clearly, it runs roughshod over the most fundamental of trial rights: the presumption of innocence. The commentary has empowered defense lawyers with a very strong argument that their clients cannot get a fair trial.
The thing is that, on the one hand, fighting for military victory “using all necessary and appropriate force,” and then, on the other hand, civil trials, are two profoundly incompatible tools. In wartime, the statement, “failure is not an option” makes sense. In our civil system, it makes no sense. Failure is always an option, even when a defendant is guilty as sin.

But a different Jackson, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who presided at Nuremburg, said this in 1945:

The ultimate principle is that you must put no man on trial under the forms of judicial proceedings if you are not willing to see him freed if not proven guilty. If you are determined to execute a man in any case, there is no occasion for a trial; the world yields no respect to courts that are merely organized to convict.
No show trials. No trials just to prove a point (terrorists, don’t hate us!).

But Penfield Jackson believes in the system in which he labored for years. He believes in his silly way that the prosecutors are top-notch, that the D.C. jurors he’s encountered were “attentive, carefully followed my instructions on the law and returned verdicts in numerous cases consistent with voluminous and complicated evidence,” and that the D.C. trial judges -- his “former colleagues on the court, . . . have distinguished themselves and their court and are a credit to the image of American justice.”:

A public trial in a civilian federal criminal court would demonstrate to the world, once again, that the United States, applying its well-respected standards for fairness, can convict terrorists as the common criminals they are. There is no more appropriate forum than the D.C. federal district court.
This makes a great Rotary Club speech, but as policy advice on the war against Islamic jihadism, it stinks. Jackson simply has no conception that the country is in a war. KSM isn’t a common criminal. Not because he deserves the honors of a soldier (he doesn’t), but because the threat he represents requires a military response. And all the laws and privileges of war that go with it.

Ft. Hood Report: Diversity Outranks Defense

It was General George Casey who responded to the self-evidently Islam-motivated murder of the Ft. Hood soldiers by saying, “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

It’s turning out that, as horrific as the massacre of the 13 soldiers was, it was the result of the pre-Ft. Hood Army living up to the Casey standard. The Army risked making casualties of American soldiers precisely in favor of protecting diversity from becoming a casualty.

Reports recently disclosed reveal how Hasan’s superiors overlooked his extremism because they were afraid getting rid of him would cost them the “diversity” of their only Muslim psychiatrist. (“Ft. Hood suspect was Army dilemma”) .

In spite of numerous specific warnings over years that Major Nidal Malik Hasan was a Muslim extremist, including statements defending suicide bombings, advocating the precedence of Shariah law over the U.S. Constitution, and public declarations that Muslim G.I.s can’t make war on Muslims from other nations, superior officers refused to take action.
In searching for explanations for why superiors did not move to revoke Hasan’s security clearances or expel him from the Army, the report portrays colleagues and superiors as possibly reluctant to lose one of the Army’s few Muslim mental health specialists.

The report concludes that because the Army had attracted only one Muslim psychiatrist in addition to Hasan since 2001, “it is possible some were afraid’’ of losing such diversity “and thus were willing to overlook Hasan’s deficiencies as an officer.’’

“Several of his supervisors explicitly mentioned Hasan’s potential to inform our understanding of Islamic culture and how it relates to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan,’’ the investigators found.
I wonder if the Army has figured out there are easier, and safer, ways of getting informed about Islamic culture.

Baghdad Jim Rides Again

This might be categorized as one more example that there is indeed a difference between the two parties.

Do you remember “Baghdad Jim McDermott”? He was the Democratic Congressman who, along with fellow Democrat Reps Jim Thompson and David Bonior, took a trip to Baghdad on the eve of the Iraq War to do a public-service ad for Saddam’s regime on international TV.
Said McDermott on ABC’s “This Week” from Baghdad: "The president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war." Moments later, despite 12 years of evidence that the Iraqi regime had lied about its weapons program, McDermott said, "I think you have to take the Iraqis on their face value."
A month later McDermott accepted a $5,000 payment from an Iraqi businessman tied to Saddam.

McDermott is still doing his best to make sure America loses in the struggle against Islamic terrorism. This past Thursday House Republicans, led by Michigan’s Rep. Pete Hoekstra, forced House Democrats to withdraw an amendment drafted by McDermott, and slipped into an intelligence budget measure at the last second while everyone was focused on the President’s health-care summit.

The bill was withdrawn by House Democrats in the face of Republican opposition, and when it became apparent “some moderate Democrats indicated they would not vote for the bill.”

The McDermott amendment is called the Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Interrogation Prohibition Act of 2010. (Here.)

According to Andy McCarthy:
The provision is impossibly vague — who knows what “degrading” means?. . . . any interrogation tactic that a prosecutor subjectively believes is “degrading” (e.g., subjecting a Muslim detainee to interrogation by a female CIA officer) could be the basis for indicting a CIA interrogator. (While You Are Distracted by the Summit, Obama Democrats Are Targeting the CIA”).
Hoekstra told Democrat supporters of the amendment:
"In the intelligence community today, these folks already believe they are under attack by this administration, and this just reinforces this," Mr. Hoekstra said. "This is outrageous. There has not been one minute of hearings or debates on this amendment, and you are putting something in an [intelligence] bill that could put officers in jail for life. What are you thinking?"
Of course, the act specifies waterboarding, the gravest mortal sin recognized by the Left, (now that we’ve all stopped smoking) as a prohibited technique. One would expect those on that side of the argument to regard the law, (had it survived passage) as a moral triumph, accompanied by blaring trumpets and huzzahs, for the way reduces to statute years of enlightened Democratic indignation about the alleged lawless conduct of the Bush-era torture regime.

Then why sneak it in, as McCarthy points out, while America was distracted by the summit? Why? Because the fact of the amendment itself proves the opposite, that the Bush era wasn’t lawless at all in the way it conducted interrogations:

Waterboarding, as it was practiced by the CIA, is not torture and was never illegal under U.S. law. The reason the Democrats are reduced to doing this is: what they’ve been saying is not true — waterboarding was not a crime and it was fully supported by congressional leaders of both parties, who were told about it while it was being done. On that score, it is interesting to note that while Democrats secretly tucked this provision into an important bill, hoping no one would notice until it was too late, they failed to include in the bill a proposed Republican amendment that would have required full and complete disclosure of records describing the briefings members of Congress received about the Bush CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. Those briefings, of course, would establish that Speaker Pelosi and others knew all about the program and lodged no objections. Naturally, members of Congress are not targeted by this criminal statute — only the CIA.
McCarthy writes in addition that the amendment:

shows how politicized law-enforcement has become under the Obama Democrats. They could have criminalized waterboarding at any time since Jan. 20, 2009. But they waited until now. Why? Because if they had tried to do it before now, it would have been a tacit admission that waterboarding was not illegal when the Bush CIA was using it. That would have harmed the politicized witch-hunt against John Yoo and Jay Bybee, a key component of which was the assumption that waterboarding and the other tactics they authorized were illegal. Only now, when that witch-hunt has collapsed, have the Democrats moved to criminalize these tactics. It is transparently partisan.
Baghdad Jim had help on this one. According to Politico, it was “House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter [who] attached the provision to the bill Wednesday over the objections of other House leaders.”

Rep. Slaughter attracted notice for something else on Wednesday while attending the health summit, when she told the story about her poor constituent clacketing around the district wearing her dead sister’s dentures. (“And, of course, it's uncomfortable, they don't fit.”)

DU has been unable to confirm a later statement related to this attributed to Rep. Slaughter. We're told she said that, had she heard this unbelievable story sooner, she would have added to the McDermott amendment a prohibition against forcing any unlawful combatant to wear anyone’s false teeth but his own.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bush Lawyers Vindicated, Very Quietly

It’s receiving very little coverage on cable news, but the two Bush administration lawyers who’ve been persecuted for years for providing legal analysis on interrogation methods permissible to the CIA finally have been vindicated. More specifically, John Yoo and Jay Bybee were the authors of two legal memoranda (routinely slandered by the self-righteous left as the “torture memos”), requested by top intelligence officials and the White House to clarify the state of the law regarding interrogation of unlawful combatants (e.g., Khalid Sheikh Mohammed). The memos were expressly intended to clarify for interrogators of captured al Qaeda killers what techniques complied with any applicable statutes forbidding torture, while still enabling them to compel cooperation from some tough, knowledgeable, and uncooperative sons of bitches. Marc Thiessen has done some noble work in his book, Courting Disaster, detailing the success of these techniques, including examples of thwarted al Qaeda plots and saved American lives.

Because Yoo included waterboarding as a technique that was allowable under American law, he has earned the undying enmity of the Left, who rank him with such bloodthirsty villains as Hitler, Torquemada, and Sarah Palin.

Characteristically, the Holder Justice Department released the report absolving the two lawyers of any professional misconduct just before the weekend, where it would receive as little media notice as possible.

The Wall Street Journal took notice anyway:

So after five years of investigation, partisan accusations and unethical media leaks, the Justice Department's senior ethicist has concluded that Bush Administration lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee committed no professional misconduct. The issue now is whether the protégés of Attorney General Eric Holder who led this exercise at Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) should themselves be in the dock.

That's our reading of the analysis by Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, a career official who reviewed both the Bush-era legal memos on interrogating terror suspects and their review by the lawyers at OPR. Remarkably, his report is far more scathing about OPR than it is about Messrs. Yoo and Bybee, who he says made legal errors but did so in good faith, out of honest legal analysis, and in the ethical service of their clients in the executive branch at a time of war.

Mr. Margolis's review overrules both a draft OPR report whose contents were leaked to the media last year and a final OPR report that was released along with the Margolis review late Friday. Those OPR reports recommended disciplinary action and potential disbarment for Messrs. Bybee and Yoo for their advice while working in the Office of Legal Counsel in the frantic months after September 11. The leaks were themselves an unethical attempt to smear the reputations of the lawyers while they were under a gag order and unable to reply.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers nonetheless leapt to praise Friday's release of earlier drafts, touting them as evidence that the OLC memos were "legally flawed and fundamentally unsound." Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy promptly called for Judge Bybee to resign from the federal bench. Both Democrats have scheduled more grandstanding, er, hearings, for the coming days.

Justice is defending its pre-weekend document dump by saying that it had to release the entire record. But notably, Justice failed to release a 14-page January 19, 2009 letter from then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Deputy AG Mark Filip that eviscerated the first OPR draft. The Mukasey-Filip memo has since appeared on media Web sites, and its withering analysis clearly made an impression on Mr. Margolis. The selective disclosure by Mr. Holder suggests the political nature of this entire exercise.
(“Vindicating John Yoo”).

Also, Hans A. von Spakovsky, himself former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, describes the OPR investigation as a “malicious, partisan witch hunt.” (“SPAKOVSKY: A vindication of interrogation”).
According to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), Mr. Yoo and Mr. Bybee were guilty of "professional misconduct" for supposedly not providing "thorough, candid, and objective" advice. David Margolis, the department's most senior career official, flatly overruled the OPR.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip blasted OPR in a devastating letter not released by the department for attempting to deny basic due process to the targets of the investigation by denying them the opportunity to review the report. This injustice was corrected only after Mr. Mukasey and Mr. Filip personally intervened to demand that OPR follow its own well-established procedures. OPR successfully used the same ambush tactic in its investigations of the U.S. attorney firings and the faux "politicized" hiring probe of the Civil Rights Division.
John Yoo marked his victory by calling it his “gift” to the Obama presidency:

Barack Obama may not realize it, but I may have just helped save his presidency. How? By winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe.

He sure didn't make it easy. When Mr. Obama took office a year ago, receiving help from one of the lawyers involved in the development of George W. Bush's counterterrorism policies was the furthest thing from his mind. Having won a great electoral victory, the new president promised a quick about-face. He rejected "as false the choice between our safety and our ideals" and moved to restore the law-enforcement system as the first line of defense against a hardened enemy devoted to killing Americans.

In office only one day, Mr. Obama ordered the shuttering of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, followed later by the announcement that he would bring terrorists to an Illinois prison. He terminated the Central Intelligence Agency's ability to use "enhanced interrogations techniques" to question al Qaeda operatives. He stayed the military trial, approved by Congress, of al Qaeda leaders. He ultimately decided to transfer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks, to a civilian court in New York City, and automatically treated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, as a criminal suspect (not an illegal enemy combatant). Nothing better could have symbolized the new president's determination to take us back to a Sept. 10, 2001, approach to terrorism.
(“My Gift to the Obama Presidency”).


Abdullah Shot K-9 with a 'Stolen Handgun'

A WDIV News report earlier this week should put an end to one the fables about the Imam Abdullah shootout being spread around by CAIR’s Dawud Walid. Walid has been demanding autopsy reports for the dog Freddy, the K-9 killed that day, in support of an unsupported theory that the animal, instead of being shot by Abdullah, was actually shot by the FBI.

Now, according to a Local 4 Defenders report on the bullet that killed Freddy, sources have confirmed the fatal “bullet coming from a stolen handgun fired by the Muslim cleric, Luqman Ameen Abdullah.”

This is the second time in a couple weeks that Walid, and his co-rabblerousers, Ron Scott and Abayomi Azikiwe, have been rolled in the dirt by details about the Abdullah shooting coming to light. On February 15th, a veteran SWAT member said that his review of the available reports and evidence led him to conclude the FBI agents had done the right thing. Retired FBI agent Gregory Stejskal explained why the task force used the dog, why they used overwhelmimg force when they were fired upon, and why Abdullah’s corpse was found handcuffed.

In response, Walid backpedaled by saying, “The reality is that none of us were at the scene. We re­ally don’t know what happened.”

Monday, February 15, 2010

Endangered Species

From the Associated Press:

Controversial Ga. billboards link abortion, race

By ERRIN HAINES, Associated Press ATLANTA – The message on dozens of billboards across the city is provocative: Black children are an "endangered species."

The eyebrow-raising ads featuring a young black child are an effort by the anti-abortion movement to use race to rally support within the black community.

The reaction from black leaders has been mixed, but the "Too Many Aborted" campaign, which so far is unique to only Georgia, is drawing support from other anti-abortion groups across the country.

"It's ingenious," said the Rev. Johnny Hunter, national director of the Life Education and Resource Network, a North Carolina-based anti-abortion group aimed at African-Americans that operates in 27 states. "This campaign is in your face, and nobody can ignore it."

The billboards went up last week in Atlanta and urge black women to "get outraged."

The effort is sponsored by Georgia Right to Life, which also is pushing legislation that aims to ban abortions based on race.

Black women accounted for the majority of abortions in Georgia in 2006, even though blacks make up just a third of state population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationally, black women were more than three times as likely to get an abortion in 2006 compared with white women, according to the CDC.

"I think it's necessary," Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue, said of the billboard campaign. "Abortion in the black community is at epidemic proportions. They're not really aware of what's actually going on. If it shocks people ... it should be shocking."

Anti-abortion advocates say the procedure has always been linked to race. They claim Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger wanted to eradicate minorities by putting birth control clinics in their neighborhoods, a charge Planned Parenthood denies.

"The language in the billboard is using messages of fear and shame to target women of color," said Leola Reis, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Georgia. "If we want to reduce the number of abortions and unintended pregnancies, we need to work as a community to make sure we get quality affordable health care services to as many women and men as possible."

In 2008, Issues4Life, a California-based group working to end abortion in the black community, lobbied Congress to stop funding Planned Parenthood, calling black abortions "the Darfur of America."

Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler said a race-based strategy for anti-abortion activists has gotten a fresh zeal, especially in the wake of the historic election of the country's first black president, Barack Obama, who supports abortion rights.

"He's really out of step with the rest of black America," Scheidler said. "That might be part of what may be shifting here and why a campaign like this is appropriate, to kind of wake up that disconnect."

Abortion rights advocates are disturbed. Spelman College professor Beverly Guy-Sheftall called the strategy a gimmick.

"To use racist arguments to try to bait black people to get them to be anti-abortion is just disgusting," said Guy-Sheftall, who teaches women's history and feminist thought at the historically black women's college.

"These one-issue approaches that are not about saving the black family or black children, it's just a big distraction," she said. "Many black people don't know who Margaret Sanger is and could care less."
I notice that Guy-Sheftall didn’t identify in the billboard message exactly what “racist arguments” she believes she sees. Her admission that “Many black people don't know who Margaret Sanger is and could care less,” makes the case for the billboard campaign perfectly. Can you imagine her saying “Many black people don't know about high blood pressure and could care less,” as an argument against bringing it to their attention?

Veteran SWAT Members Says FBI Did Abdullah Takedown Right

At least one well qualified expert believes local agents did the right thing in the operation in which Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was shot, according to an article in today’s Detroit News. (“FBI correct in shooting, ex-agent says”).

The retired FBI agent, Gregory Stejskal, isn’t part of an official investigation, and his opinion is just that--only an opinion. But he provides an expert point of view that’s been needed to balance the irresponsible accusations being made by CAIR’s Dawud Walid, and professional rabble-rousers like Abayomi Azikiwe of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice--accusations being lent faux legitimacy by the likes of John Conyers.

Stejskal’s opinion that “the bureau acted properly and that its agents will be exonerated,” is based on his own review of the available reports and talking with FBI agents about what happened, in addition to his own long years of experience as a team leader on the SWAT team.
It is FBI policy to use over­whelming force when arresting a suspect believed to be armed and dangerous, Stejskal said. A dog is sometimes used to help subdue a suspect who has refused to sur­render, he said. Agents would have been justi­fied in firing if Abdullah had reac­hed for a weapon, let alone hav­ing brandished a weapon and fired three shots, as Stejskal said he understands Abdullah did and as a person familiar with the in­vestigation told The Detroit News.

In a space of three to four sec­onds, four agents fired an average of five shots each, striking Abdul­lah 20 times, with one shot creat­ing two wounds for a total of 21 entry wounds, according to the medical examiner’s report and a person familiar with the investi­gation.“Once you’ve made the deci­sion to use deadly force, you fire until the threat is eliminated,” Stejskal said.
It sounds reasonable. Walid and his pals have been figuratively waving Abdullah’s bloody shirt as proof that the task force used excessive force in taking him down. Otherwise, their rhetorical argument goes, why was he shot so many times? Walid and his cohort have never denied that Abdullah opened fire after being commanded to surrender by task force agents. Their hugely unreasonable assumption has been that a shootout, once it’s begun, ought to be a highly controlled event carefully choreographed by lawmen to achieve minimum damage to the bad guy.

Stejskal also explains why Abdullah’s corpse was wearing handcuffs.
FBI procedures called for Ab­dullah to be immediately hand­cuffed when the agents ap­proached, he said. Agents would have then checked for vital signs, found that he was already dead, and would have not disturbed the shooting scene by removing the handcuffs, he said.
Now that he’s running out of theories, Walid is saying “The reality is that none of us were at the scene. We re­ally don’t know what happened.”

Now he says he doesn’t know what happened. Not really knowing what happened hasn't kept him and his Black Panther buddies for 3½ months from telling the black and Muslim communities that Abdullah’s death was an assassination, and the subsequent investigations a cover-up.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shit. Shinola. Notice Any Difference?

Something I noticed in The Detroit News over the weekend:

An unenthralled Steve Chapman decides that, "if (Palin's) speech made anything clear, it's that the shallow, ill-informed, truth-twisting demagogue seen in the 2008 presidential campaign is all she is and all she wants to be.

"When it comes to economic affairs," the Chicago Tribune columnist writes, "the tea partiers agree that -- as Palin put it -- 'the government that governs least, governs best.' When it comes to war and national security, however, her audience apparently thinks there is no such thing as too much government."
(“Palin's quips keep pundits polarized”).
I believe actually it was Thoreau who said something about “that government is best which governs least,” though it’s also attributed to Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine.

But I don’t see where Chapman gets off saying the tea partiers “apparently” think there’s no such thing as too much government in any area.

I’ve never heard Sarah Palin, (or her hero, Ronlad Reagan), calling for an unlimited increase in war and national security-related government. Just because she supports the military, doesn’t mean she believes there should be an unlimited increase in defense-related government. When has she ever said that? And just because she believes that, when we’re at war, the government should conduct that war like a war and not a like a 911 call, isn’t the same as saying that, when it comes to national security, there can’t be too much government.

Besides, when it comes to the touchstone of Palin’s speech, which is adherence to the Constitution, war and national security are prominently enumerated responsibilities for the national government. “Economic affairs,” strictly speaking, are not.

Like most liberals, Chapman merely resents funds going to national security that, (apparently), he would rather see diverted to social programs and growing the government. Scoffing as he does at Palin’s “governs least” ideal may be his way of saying, implicitly, that he thinks government governs best where it govern most, a presumption he shares with the White House and the majority of Congress.

Now Chapman, after calling Palin “a shallow, ill-informed, truth-twisting demagogue,” thinks he spies in her speech an obvious contradiction, which naturally he intends to exploit. But there is no contradiction. National security and government blundering around with “economic affairs” are two completely different things. This is why it’s perfectly legitimate to support a good, strong defense, while at the same time calling for limited government.

By the way, it doesn't show up in The Jerk clip, but a moment later Steve Martin proves what he's learned by promptly walking oblivious right through the pile of shit.

It's Not 'Hate-Hate' When Liberals Do It

“...the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred — without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.”

--Keith Olbermann, who later revised his meltdown against Scott Brown to include “sexist.”

“She came across to me as a merchant of hate with an oh gosh smile...”

--Democratic operative Bob Shrum, responding to Sarah Palin’s address to the Tea Party convention

From The American Thinker:

Liberal Hate Speech

By John Dietrich

When Sarah Palin made Rahm Emanuel's expletive-enhanced use of the word "retarded" an embarrassment for him and the president, she forced the left to live up to its own P.C. standards. Saul Alinsky would be proud.

according to the media elites' rulebook, when liberals rant, it's called free speech; when conservatives rant, it is hate speech.

Members of the media elite appear to sincerely believe that liberals are less vitriolic than conservatives, and through repetition they have convinced a large part of the public that this is true. The reason liberals can "rant" without fear of being labeled terrorists is that their "rants" are justified in the eyes of the media elite. Liberals believe that their beliefs are based on the rational analysis of scientific data. Their opponents' beliefs are based on superstition and prejudice.

This perspective was exemplified by comedian Bill Maher, who explained that "half this country wants to guide our ship of state by a compass. A compass, something that works by science and rationality, and empirical wisdom. And half this country wants to kill a chicken and read the entrails like they used to do in the old Roman Empire." Opponents of the liberal agenda are frequently described as "racist," "unpatriotic," and "ignorant." Conservative "rants" are not only incorrect; they are evil. It is therefore not "hateful" to describe opponents for what they are: "ignorant, unpatriotic racists."

Criticism of liberal administrations is seen as destroying public faith in our institutions, and in some cases, it is called dangerous. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Washington Post columnist David Broder opined, "The bombing shows how dangerous it really is to inflame twisted minds with statements that suggest political opponents are enemies." During the Clinton administration, columnist Anthony Lewis criticized Rush Limbaugh, saying Limbaugh's "game" was "to throw dirt on government and anyone who believes that society needs government. In his hateful talk about President and Mrs. Clinton and others in office, he is really trying to destroy public faith in our institutions."

Recent criticisms of President Obama and his policies have been characterized as un-American. Suggestions that his policies should fail are equated with a suggestion that America should fail. This concern for American institutions may be something new, because it apparently was not a factor in the past. In 1986, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry commented on his view of the Reagan administration: "Ronald Reagan is in trouble, and [we might as well own up that] some of us are tempted to take a certain fiendish pleasure in the fact." Later, Michael Kinsley of the New Republic wrote in the Washington Post, "The fall of Reagan is a laughable matter. The only irritating aspect of the otherwise delightful collapse of the Reagan administration is the widespread insistence that we must all be poker-faced about it."

Liberals can demonize entire classes of people. One of the favorite targets of the liberal elite is the Christian right. According to Michael Weisskopf of the Washington Post, the followers of people like the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson "are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command." These people are not only ignorant, but they are also a definite threat. Chris Matthews has declared, "The group in this country that most resembles the Taliban, ironically, is the religious right." Rosie O'Donnell asserted, "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." This demonization makes it permissible to say some pretty outlandish things. NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu on his "All Things Considered" segment stated, "The evaporation of four million [people] who believe in this [Christian] crap would leave this world a better place." Actress Megan Fox, admittedly not a representative of the elite intelligentsia, said that if given the chance, she'd urge the fictional character Megatron to murder only the "white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super Bible-beating people in Middle America."

Of course, Republicans and conservatives are the prime target of liberal spleen. Sen. Ted Kennedy gave this description of Republicans: "The Republican Party is basically anti-civil rights, anti-immigration, anti-women, and anti-worker." Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, stated, "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for." Jesse Jackson after the 1994 GOP victory claimed that "[h]ate and hurt are on a roll in America. If what was happening here was happening in South Africa, it'd be called racist apartheid. If it was happening in Germany, we'd call it Nazism. And in Italy, we'd call it fascism. Here we call it conservatism."

Liberals appear to get a pass when they attack conservative individuals. USA Today columnist and Pacifica Radio talk show host Julianne Malveaux expressed her opinion of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on PBS: "The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that's how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person." Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio and ABC News reporter, commenting on Senator Jesse Helms, said, "I think he ought to be worried about what's going on in the Good Lord's mind, because if there is retributive justice, he'll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it." Former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill had a less than flattering opinion of Ronald Reagan: "The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and future generations of America and who likes to ride a horse. He's cold. He's mean. He's got icewater for blood." New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis claimed that President Reagan "spews out rage and hate, fear and falsehood." It would take volumes to chronicle the outrageous attacks on George Bush or Sarah Palin.

On "Late Night with David Letterman," Sam Donaldson said, "I think he's [Reagan] going to have to pass three tests. The first is, will he get there, stand in front of the podium, and not drool?" After the audience showed its disapproval, Donaldson responded, "Wait a minute, I don't mean that disrespectfully." Letterman replied, "Well, I think we all took that as flattery, Sam, we did." When Whoopi Goldberg drew a distinction between "rape" and "rape-rape," she possible provided an explanation for liberal "rants." They are not "hate-hate" -- simply "hate."


The Hypocrisy of John Conyers

A Washington Times editorial on Tuesday reports how Michigan Congressman John Conyers led his House Judiciary Committee’s Democrats to a 15-14 party-line vote against a resolution to demand answers from the Justice Department about the highly politicized decision to unplug their own successful legal action against the New Black Panther Party for flagrant voter intimidation in 2008. (“Caged Panther Investigation”).

The DOJ has been claiming its decision-making process on that one is “privileged,” even from Congress. Mind you, they aren’t even claiming executive privilege, just “privilege.” (The privilege, you can bet, is grounded on a majority of co-Democrats in Congress being too debased to do the right thing. The Times says seven committee Democrats didn’t even have the courage to vote on the resolution at all.)

As the Times editorial points out, there’s a special quality of hypocrisy in what Conyers is doing to protect Eric Holder’s partisan Civil Rights Division:
In assessing claims of legal privileges from the Justice Department and its White House overseers, Mr. Conyers should heed the wisdom of a contrary authority on the subject: himself.

"The Committee clearly has authority under the Constitution to investigate and expose possible violations of law and abuses of executive power," Mr. Conyers wrote in a 22-page memorandum less than two years ago.
Not only did Conyers make that argument in a memo less than two years ago,
he made it even more forcefully just last January when his committee released its majority report on Bush-era policies, “Reining In the Imperial Presidency.”

Conyers’s 487-page report was prepared as the foundation for Conyers’s sole remaining career goal, which is to prove President Bush and Vice President Cheney “are among the most impeachable officials in our Nation’s history.”

Whatever. But for present purposes what’s notable is that two of the alleged Bush-Cheney high crimes Conyers fulminated against were the “politicization of the Department of Justice,” and the misuse of executive privilege.

Conyers (and his obstreperous counterpart in the Senate, Patrick Leahy) hoped to prove the manifestly lawful firings of 8 U.S. Attorneys by Bush’s Attorney General, (their boss), were actually illegal because motivated by political considerations.

Conyers and the Democrats were also scandalized by the DOJ stooping to “selective prosecution.” By way of example, Democrats blamed the decision to indict former Alabama governor Don Siegelman for corruption and obstruction of justice on the improper influence of Karl Rove. (There must have been other reasons as well to indict Siegelman, as a jury was persuaded to convict him on 7 counts).

Conyers rejected Rove’s offer to answer questions less formally, and without going under oath, as the White House was perfectly well aware Conyers was on a fishing expedition. So both Conyers and Leahy subpoenaed Rove. The White House asserted executive privilege, and Rove never appeared. Even without Rove, Conyers and Leahy spent hundreds of hours in televised public hearings with other witnesses trying to use the U.S. Attorney firings to get Bush, Cheney, and Rove. Conyers was equally frustrated when he tried, unsuccessfully, to get Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in his hearing room stocks.

Decrying this defiance in his January 2009 report Conyers writes:
If Congress wants to maintain its Constitutional role, it needs to stand up for itself. A good place to start is by making clear that its legitimate investigative authority cannot be defied, and any who chooses to do so will pay a heavy price. (Report, 240).
As seen in the Washington Times, Conyers believes valid claims of executive privilege must be personally asserted by the President, in writing. He reiterates this in his majority report where he documents how his committee passed a resolution to hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt for not obeying his subpoena. The grounds for his committee rejecting their claims included that, “despite requests from Chairman Conyers, there was never a directive personally signed by the President asserting executive privilege.” (Report, 239).

Needless to say, Conyers is nowhere near this jealous over Congress’s investigative authority when it’s Obama’s Justice Department that’s telling inquiring lawmakers to “talk to the hand.” As I said, the Justice Department isn’t even claiming executive privilege; rather, they’re instead only “asserting legal privileges that have never been recognized in U.S. history.”

And as for written directives from President Obama asserting executive privilege? : oh, hardy-har-har.

We’ve now seen in this Black Panther case, and in the underwear bomber case, and until recently in the matter of the location for the KSM trial, that Obama imagines he can treat the Justice Department as a fourth branch of government over which he has no control, and better still, one for whose decisions he bears no accountability. Lately, this has become harder for him to maintain.

At the very same time he maintained the reverse policy of delegating to his Attorney General total strategic control over the nation’s counterterrorism policy, while the CIA, Homeland Security, and the National Intelligence Director must settle for being “advised” about critical counterterror decisions already made by the man who put together the Marc Rich pardon.

One of the remedies that Conyers proposed for Bush-era abuses of executive privilege and “selective prosecution,” (which by definition has to include selective failure to prosecute), was to expand the Justice Department Inspector General’s limited jurisdiction. (Report, 273). As it stands now, and has for some time, “charges of political interference with prosecution decisions fall within the jurisdiction of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and may not be investigated by the Department’s Inspector General.”

Conyers even got an amendment passed in the last Congress that “provides that the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General is not required to refer to the Counsel of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of DOJ, allegations of misconduct involving DOJ attorneys and related personnel where the allegations relate to the exercise of the authority of an attorney to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice.”

Keep in mind that Conyers’s stated concern all this time has been the protection of Congress’s “Constitutional role,” and to curb defiance of “its legitimate investigative authority.”

It so happens right now that the current IG, Glenn Fine, is suffering from the very lack of power that Conyers was trying to fix with his amendment. (The amendment never became law). Fine, (no friend of the Bush administration), just sent a letter to Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, who’s been nagging him to open an investigation into Holder's Civil Rights Division. In his letter, Fine complains that he has no jurisdiction to force the DOJ to cooperate with Congressional inquiries:
The letter from Mr. Fine explained why the IG says he is prohibited by law from reviewing whether the Justice Department or the White House allowed or instigated political interference in a decision to drop or reduce voter-intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party. This means nearly a dozen separate requests from Mr. Wolf, Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, and other legislators for Black Panther-related information can be stonewalled by the Justice Department, as can inquiries and even subpoenas from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In short, the department is saying that it can ignore Congress with impunity.
If Conyers were really making a principled defense of Congressional oversight when he released his sweeping anti-Bush jeremiad last January, then this recent resolution was a golden opportunity to champion those same principles, even while displaying he was capable of rising above partisan loyalties. Hah! Conyers only shrugged his shoulders and went over to stand with the other team.

I’m no expert on executive privilege, and I wouldn’t risk a guess that there’s no possible justification for why the Justice Department Inspector General has less jurisdiction than the IGs in other departments. Those questions deserve discussion, but they aren’t the point.

The point is that, so long as the political loser was meant to be George W. Bush, Conyers spared none of his considerable self-righteousness denouncing executive branch resistance to Congressional inquiries. And we can see that now, when it’s President Obama who’s politicizing the Justice Department, and it’s Eric Holder engaging in selective prosecution, Conyers will go 180 out from his convictions to block Congressional oversight and protect the DOJ.

Hypocrisy that stinks this bad needs an uglier name.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Detroit's No-Account Congressman

Congressman John Conyers, who has held the same seat in the House of Representatives since the year The Supremes recorded “Where Did Our Love Go,” loves to pose as the dogged prosecutor of Bush administration crimes.

Because his is what’s known as a “safe seat,” he can stay in Congress until he either decides to retire, or dies. Like a tenured professor who no longer even has to be bothered teaching classes, Conyers is free to utter nonsense and publish outlandish reports without worrying about accountability.

And, as far as I can remember, the press has never been interested in holding him accountable.

Had any other non-safe member of Congress had a spouse as notorious for her loud mouth and her nationally-reported bad behavior as Monica Conyers, not to mention facing a prison sentence for her serious public corruption and public testimony describing her remarkably unserious venality, the media would be regularly parked on Conyers’s doorstep. Had that Congressman been a conservative, it would have become the subject of two Michael Moore documentaries, two dozen Keith Olbermann commentaries, and a George Clooney film.

But last week Conyers took part in a press conference a couple of blocks from the federal courthouse where his wife’s former chief of staff, Sam Riddle, was on trial for Monica-related bribery. The press conference was about something else, but Conyers was absolutely surprised when someone in the press asked him about his wife.

Detroit News editor Nolan Finley is challenging Conyers’s right to evade questions by simply saying, "I'm not talking about that."
That would be OK if Conyers were a private guy drawing a private paycheck. But he's an elected public official, a Democratic congressman from Detroit, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He shouldn't get to decide what he isn't going to talk about when the issue is public corruption.

Rep. Conyers got splashed with his wife's taint this week during the federal bribery trial of her former sidekick, political consultant Sam Riddle. Greektown developer Jim Papas, frequently on the fringes of City Hall muck, testified that he gave Riddle $10,000 to share with Monica Conyers. Papas was looking for help in securing a letter from the congressman in support of his Romulus waste disposal well.

Monica Conyers called her husband's office, and Papas got the letter.

So what did John Conyers know about the $10,000 pay-out? Was he told about the letter? And if he did know, could this be considered influence peddling by proxy?
(“Commentary: What did John Conyers know?”).

Sounds Nothing Like Dearborn

And speaking of reporting on bigoted attacks that actually happen, instead of “bracing” for attacks that never happen, I have some timely examples of what proper reporting looks like. I have Mark Steyn to thank for collecting some recent samples.

From Sweden:

( Violent anti-Semitism has become increasingly commonplace in Sweden’s southern city of Malmö, leading many Jewish residents to leave out of fear for their safety. “Threats against Jews have increased steadily in Malmö in recent years and many young Jewish families are choosing to leave the city,” said Fredrik Sieradzki of the Jewish Community of Malmö.

Last year, 79 crimes against Jewish residents were reported to the Malmö police, roughly double the number reported in 2008. In addition, Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have been repeatedly defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, and a chapel at another Jewish burial site in Malmö was firebombed last January during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Many Jewish residents of Malmö feel that local anti-Jewish sentiment is linked with negative attitudes towards Israel.In addition to its small community of roughly 700 Jews, Malmö is home to a growing Muslim population. However, local Jews insist that the majority of anti-Jewish sentiment, although certainly existent in the Muslim community, is coming from local Swedes. (“Jews Flee Swedish Town in Wake of Anti-Semitism”).

From the United Kingdom:
More than 924 reports of bigoted violence and abuse were received last year by the Jewish Community Security Trust (CST).

The charity, which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain, said the figures marked the worst year since records began in 1984.

Gordon Brown said the findings were ''deeply troubling.''

The incidents included violent street attacks, arson, egg-throwing, racist graffiti, website hacking and hate mail.
(“Record number of anti-Semitic attacks in Britain”).

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Backlash Fever

I’m always harping about how the media runs articles about hypothetical anti-Muslim “backlashes”--stories that are always short on facts, and project attacks against innocent people erupting some time in the near future. Months and years later, the sheer volume of stories form the basis for an unhistorical myth that a brutal anti-Muslim backlash actually took place.

It’s now treated as a documented fact, like the French Revolution or the Trail of Tears, that there was an anti-Muslim pogrom in Dearborn after 9/11. Years from now, people will recall the anti-Yemeni backlash that terrorized south Dearborn in the wake of the Christmas bomb attempt. Except there is none. It is now 6 weeks after Christmas and nothing like that has happened. No one waits six weeks to unleash a backlash. Backlashers haven’t got that much self-control.

like that
has happened.

And yet, in Friday’s Detroit News is a full-page article under the headline, “Yemenis in Metro Detroit fear backlash from failed bomb plot.”

Surpise! it turns out the article actually has nothing whatever to report about any backlash against Yemenis. I blame the copy editor who wrote the headline in this case, not the reporter. The article is really just about Yemenis in the metro area, their history in the area, and how they feel about the bad things happening in Yemen. Yemenis have concerns that their native land is the new base for al Qaeda, and they have understandable anxiety that the hatching of the Christmas bomb plot in Yemen might make people look at them funny. But vague fears about possible events in the future that may never happen aren’t facts, you know.

In the News’s 1100-word story the sum total of substance regarding any backlash is the following:
While many in the local Yemeni communities in Dearborn's south end, Hamtramck and Coldwater are second- and third-generation Americans, they fear they'll be looked at suspiciously in light of news about terrorist activities in Yemen.

[TRC: They will be looked at suspiciously? Then report it when it happens.]

The fear is warranted, said Alexander Knysh, a Middle East expert and professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan. "They will be guilty by association," Knysh said. "They will be subject to more scrutiny.

[They will be guilty by association? Then report that when it happens. I’ve consumed thousands of words a day since Christmas about Abdulmutallab and the mishandling of his case by the Obama administration. The concern is focused on al Qaeda, not on Yemenis, and not even on Nigerians, though Abdulmutallab was a Nigerian. I have not read or heard one syllable suggesting Detroit’s Yemeni community bears any guilt for the al Qaeda Christmas attack, or had anything to do with planning it.]

"Prior to (the attempted bombing) no one paid attention to Yemen. Now the media hysteria will reflect very negatively in the community," Knysh said.

[Is there media hysteria about Yemen and the Yemeni community in America? I’ll bet Eric Holder would just love some hysteria about Yemen right now, to get the hysteria off his fouled-up management of national security.]
These articles aren’t just bad reporting. They actively cause damage by reinforcing in the Muslim community what Thomas Friedman powerfully describes as “the Narrative”:
The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down.
And, writes Friedman, this narrative is “now omnipresent in Arab and Muslim communities in the region and in migrant communities around the world.”

CAIR is spreading that narrative, and the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, and many of Dearborn’s mosques are spreading it. Do we really need the Detroit News spreading it, too?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Find a Happy Place This Sunday

In response to CBS’s irrevocable decision to air a commercial about Pam Tebow’s decision to give birth to her baby, a pair of old-school abortion opponents have crafted a response. Frances Kissling, the anti-Catholic former president of Catholics for Choice, and Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, have an article today in The Washington Post, “What Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement”:

So here's our Super Bowl strategy for the choice movement. We'd go with a 30-second spot, too. The camera focuses on one woman after another, posed in the situations of daily life: rushing out the door in the morning for work, flipping through a magazine, washing dishes, teaching a class of sixth-graders, wheeling a baby stroller. Each woman looks calmly into the camera and describes her different and successful choice: having a baby and giving it up for adoption, having an abortion, having a baby and raising it lovingly. Each one being clear that making choices isn't easy, but that life without tough choices doesn't exist.
Hypothetcial viewers may notice that only one of the three “successful” choices requires a homicide for its success.

I don’t watch the Super Bowl, and I don’t follow football, and if it weren’t for this controversy I wouldn’t have any idea who Tim Tebow was. But I do know who James Dobson is, and Focus on the Family. And though I’ve never been a big fan of Dr. Dobson, I take my hat off for what Focus on the Family and Tebow and his mother are trying to do.

It seems as if it’s helped already by drawing a lot of attention to the hypocrisy of the spokesmen for the so-called “pro-choice” movement.

Sports writer Sally Jenkins, who describes herself as “pro-choice,” and says she “couldn't disagree with Tebow more” on the subject of abortion, still harshly exposes the National Organization for Women as not being in favor of choice at all: “They aren't actually ‘pro-choice’ so much as they are pro-abortion.”

Of course, this isn’t news to pro-lifers. But it’s always welcome to see people on the other side figuring it out. The latest alternative title for pro-life people is “anti-choice.” (E.g., this article in The Nation,Countering Anti-choice terrorism.”: “While the murderous rage of Tiller's assassin is not representative of the broader anti-choice movement, I believe that the anti-choice community operates with a totalitarian impulse that generates a culture of terror rather than a culture of life.”).

Accusing the pro-life movement of being against choice, merely because we believe that the gravely evil choice of abortion should be off limits, is all the more untenable now, when even pro-abortion observers are catching on that NOW and its sister groups, like NARAL, are the real champions of forbidding choice. Even the New York Times has some critical words for the nation’s loudest abortion proponents:
NOW and NARAL purportedly protect women from those who would tell them what they can and cannot do with their bodies—and all along, these organizations tell those women what thoughts they can and cannot consider (“Super Bowl Censorship”).
Now who’s “totalitarian”? No pun intended.

Jenkins is even more pointed in her piece, variously renaming NOW with titles like, “the ‘Dwindling Organizations of Ladies in Lockstep,’ otherwise known as DOLL,” or “The National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like Us,” or “the National Organization of Fewer and Fewer Women All The Time’.”

Kissling’s and Michelman’s selling point is that the choice to abort one’s baby can inspire people, too. As they see it, an abortion “is as tough and courageous a decision as is the decision to continue a pregnancy.”

I wouldn’t want to have to defend the proposition that a woman placing her perceived self-interest above the bodily existence of her own child qualifies as “courageous.”

When people like Jehmu Greene, director of the Women's Media Center, attack Focus on the Family over the ad as “extremely intolerant and divisive and pushing an un-American agenda,” I don’t hear courage—I hear fear. Nancy Keenan, NARAL’s current president, reacting to CBS’s decision to run the ad, says “Anti-choice politics have no place in the Super Bowl, so when the ad runs, focus on something else - anything else - besides Focus on the Family.”

Focus on something else--anything else. Just look away!

These are the same people who have fought tooth-and-nail against mandatory ultrasounds in abortion clinics so that aborting mothers don’t get a glimpse at the little entities before termination.

Avert your eyes! Think about something pleasant!

Isn’t that what people do when they’re facing their worst fears, like when Lloyd, corned by Sea Bass in Dumb & Dumber, intoned “Find a happy place! Find a happy place!”

Quite a reaction, don't you think, when, by every account, the Tebow spot isn’t even going to show gruesome pictures of aborted fetuses or broken-hearted women who regret their choices, nor even the jumping little fetuses you might see in an ultrasound or a Volvo ad, nor even James Dobson busting in a bedroom door with an axe. It’s going to show a mom with her son, and both of them glad he’s still here.

Who should be frightened of that, and why? Why the advice to not focus on this family?

Viewer discretion advised.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

FBI Dropping Attack Dogs for Attack Goats

Like a Zippo lighter out of fluid, the Imam Abdullah story sparks and sparks, but never catches a flame.

Fourteen people showed up Monday outside the Dearborn Police Department to mark the release of Abdullah’s autopsy report by the Wayne County Medical Examiner. Considering the high Muslim population, and the high black population, and that self-appointed spokesmen like Dawud Walid and Ron Scott are hoping to paint his shooting as an attack on both communities, this is hardly a groundswell of support.

At this point, the strategy remains to float as many alternative explanations for how Abdullah got dead as they can think up, no matter how far-fetched. Anything but acknowledge the most obvious one--that after refusing to surrender to a force of armed lawmen, Abdullah opened fire.

On another tack, John Conyers has allowed himself to be recruited for a cameo at the press conference. This story has so little oomph the reporters were more interested in asking him about his troubled wife.

Conyers explained at the press conference that he got involved because the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, has “jurisdiction over,” among other things, “the Constitution.” I think that might mean that Conyers has jurisdiction over the Constitution. And I thought that was Eric Holder.

Says Conyers: “On the surface, someone being shot 21 times raises quite a few questions in the criminal justice system.” A valid point, in those cases where the victim is unarmed, and isn’t involved in any criminal activity at the time of the shooting, as happened, say, in New York with Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo . Even in those cases, juries acquitted the officers for having no criminal intent.

Not so with Abdullah. He was on the business end of a federal criminal complaint, armed in the midst of a felony, and resisting arrest. His criminal cohort had all been arrested unharmed when commanded to surrender. The FBI sent in a trained K-9 to subdue Abdullah non-lethally when he refused to show them his hands. Instead, Abdullah shot the dog.

In civil-rights utopia, that would have been the point at which the task force agents laid down their weapons to re-assure Abdullah they meant him no harm and just want to talk things over. In real life, agents returned fire.

Walid is now demanding a copy of the dog’s autopsy, “to confirm it was killed by bullets from a nonpolice weapon.” And why exactly? Because Walid has a hunch that the FBI first assassinated Abdullah, handcuffed his corpse to violate his civil rights, and then shot their own dog because he was an eyewitness.

Speaking of dogs, Abayomi Azikiwe, of the Michigan Emergency Committee against War and Injustice, (their motto: “Because Every Demonstration Needs a Commie!”), thinks the FBI agents should be prosecuted because, after they shot Abdullah, “they dumped him in a trailer like a dog.”

Walid, on the other hand, has been complaining since last October that Abdullah’s civil rights were violated because the FBI didn’t treat him like a dog, or at least like their dog, who was medivaced to surgery after Abdullah shot it. The dog died anyway.

To top off all this anti-dog rhetoric (betternot have any dog-lovers on the jury!):

Nabih Ayad, who represents Abdullah's wife, Amina, as well as a defendant in the federal indictment handed down in the Abdullah case, said using a dog to confront a Muslim creates an environment for hostility because dogs are seen as unclean.
Leave it to Ayad to complain about a hostile environment during an FBI takedown.

This whole thing can go one of two ways. Either it all blows over, the agents are cleared, and Nabih Ayad and a six-pack of attorneys are denied a gigantic damage award from a wrongful-death claim against the federal government.

Or local and federal law enforcements disband their K-9 units out of deference to Muslim sensibilities, and start taking attack goats on their Dearborn raids.

[CORRECTION: This post was amended to correct my erroneous reference to Imam Abdullah being on the business end of a “grand-jury indictment,” when in fact the FBI was acting on a federal criminal complaint known as an “information.” ]